Sainsbury's chief executive Justin King announced a plan to give computers to 500 technophobic beef farmers this week. Sure, he's hoping to raise their efficiency and cut the cost of meat, but it's a nice gesture and the latest sign of a new parternship approach. It follows hot on the heels of the retailer's switch to 100% Fairtrade bananas in December, which proved so inspirational that Waitrose announced similar plans the following day. And take another Sainsbury's scheme that gives suppliers the option to claim early payment - albeit at a cost. 

So who is Sainsbury's trying to impress? The high profile of these moves suggest it is laying down serious credentials as an ethical retailer. While competitors are pilloried as bully-boys, Sainsbury's has once again shown imagination and PR flair to partner innovatively with suppliers.