5 years Supply Chain Initiative and future prospects. The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) presented its annual report at an event supported by Anneleen Van Bossuyt MEP, Chair of the IMCO Committee and Czes³aw 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 El¿bieta Bieñkowska, 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 Czesaw Adam Siekierski MEP, Chair of AGRI.