Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Publication: Monitoring of the implementation of principles of good practice in vertical relationships in the food supply chain

Publication: Monitoring of the implementation of principles of good practice in vertical relationships in the food supply chain
Published on: 02/02/2016
In 2014 the Commission commissioned a study to a consortium of consultants to assess the effectiveness of voluntary initiatives aimed at tackling the so-called unfair trading practices (UTPs). The research work was conducted until January 2016. The final version of the study, including more information on its scope, can be found below.

Imbalances in bargaining power between actors can lead to the application of so-called unfair trading practices (UTPs) by stronger actors on weaker ones. UTPs can be defined as "practices that grossly deviate from good commercial conduct and are contrary to good faith and fair dealing". UTPs can have negative implications for the competiveness of the EU food supply chain. In this context, voluntary initiatives, involving economic operators and other stakeholders, have been implemented both at EU and Member State level in order to tackle UTPs. Such initiatives constitute the object of this study, carried out between January 2015 and January 2016.

The study assessed the effectiveness of the following voluntary initiatives:

  • The EU-level Supply Chain Initiative (SCI), established in September 2013 by seven associations representing food producers, traders of agricultural products, wholesalers and retailers. In this respects, the study identifies areas for possible improvements, especially in the area of enforcement mechanisms, confidentiality, and awareness of the SCI among operators.
  • The Belgian code of conduct for fair relations between suppliers and purchasers in the food supply chain, established in May 2010 and supported by all the levels of the supply chain, including farmers.
  • The Finnish Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain, established in January 2014 with the support of retailers, food producers and farmers.
  • The Dutch pilot initiative in the agro-food sector, established in September 2013 with the support of all the levels of the supply chain and the participation of the Ministry of Economic Affairs.
  • The German national dialogue platform, which is still in its inception phase, and for which only a preliminary assessment was performed.

In relation to the national initiatives, the influence of the Principles of Good Practice (PGP) adopted in November 2011 as a result of the multi-stakeholder dialogue within the High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain, as well as the influence of the Supply Chain Initiative, were assessed. The study also featured an investigation on perceived exposure to UTPs in the 28 EU Member States.

More information

  • Download the complete study: a href="http://ec.europa.eu/DocsRoom/documents/15242/attachments/1/translations/en/renditions/native">"Monitoring of the implementation of principles of good practice in vertical relationships in the food supply chain" (PDF, 4MB)
  • Read more on competitiveness in the European food industry

Contact

Biotechnology and Food Supply Chain: GROW-D3@ec.europa.eu