Joint Press Release - The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) today marked its five years of existence with an event featuring high-level speakers and the launch of its annual report. The results of the annual survey of registered companies showcase the continuing progress made in promoting good trading practices.
The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) presented its annual report at an event today supported by Anneleen Van Bossuyt MEP, Chair of the IMCO Committee and Czesław Adam Siekierski MEP, Chair of the AGRI Committee. The event welcomed a wide range of participants from the EU institutions, associations, industry and retail companies from across the supply chain, as well as national stakeholders from across the EU. The programme of the event can be viewed here.
The annual report, which was presented by Michael Hutchings, Chair of the SCI, shows that satisfaction with the SCI remains high among registered companies. 7 out of 10 respondents reported a good level of satisfaction and 9 out of 10 companies trained all or part of their staff members on the Principles of Good Practice. Companies considered the SCI to have helped them to improve internal company processes (32%), to improve their daily communication (28%) and to deal with disputes (10%), thanks to the signatories committed to the Principles.
40 companies reported having been faced with an alleged breach of at least one of the Principles of Good Practice since 1st September 2016. 32 companies resolved the issue informally within less than 4 months. In 8 cases, the companies were not able to solve the issue informally, and 2 companies subsequently lodged a complaint.
“The number of complaints reported remains low. On the one hand, this shows that the Principles of Good Practice are improving current practices and provide a standard for resolving disputes informally. On the other, we hope that our strengthened dispute resolution mechanism will provide reassurance that the system can help address disputes in a fair and transparent manner whilst reassuring the complainant that they will not be subject to retaliation“ says Michael Hutchings, SCI Chair.
Olli Wikberg, Vice-Chair of the Finnish Board of the Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain showcased the impact of the SCI at the national level and presented two recommendations relative to contract terms for shelf life in contracts for grocery trade and to written contracts and unilateral changes.
Carsten Bermig, member of the Cabinet of Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs highlighted the important role the SCI plays in offering a dispute resolution option and at the same time pointed to the challenges of rolling this out on a larger scale.
“Market stabilisation is always the most important issue, both in case of inputs and processed goods, together with ensuring an adequate level of income for individual participants of the chain, as well as sound cooperation. There is nothing worse than severe price volatility on inputs and products between various players in the chain. That is why partnership, lasting relations and systematic dialog between the participants in the chain is needed. A retailer must understand the interests of farmers and processors and the farmer must understand the retailer and processor as well” says Czesław Adam Siekierski MEP, Chair of AGRI.
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Note to the Editors:
The Supply Chain Initiative was launched in September 2013 by a group of EU-level associations representing today the food and drink industry (FoodDrinkEurope), the branded goods manufacturers (AIM- European Brands Association), the retail sector (EuroCommerce, the European Retail Round Table-ERRT, and Independent Retail Europe), and agricultural traders (CELCAA).
The SCI aims to implement and enforce a set of good practice principles agreed by 11 EU-level organisations, including Copa-Cogeca. Companies subscribe on a voluntary basis to the principle of good practice and a set of commitments to ensure fair treatment of all partners in the food supply chain. The SCI is designed to ensure that registered companies respect their commitments towards other market operators and benefit from a set of dispute resolutions options.