(24 January 2017) The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) marked further progress in promoting good trading practices in its third annual report presented at an event today sponsored by MEPs Dita Charanzová and Ivan Štefanec.
The report shows that a large majority of companies are satisfied with how the initiative has helped them in their relationships with others in the supply chain. 71% respondents say that they are either satisfied or very satisfied. The figures for SMEs show a similar result, with two-thirds reporting satisfaction with the initiative. There is real progress also in training: 93% of companies report having trained their staff (up from 87% last year) – some 37,000 (compared to 20,000 in 2015). 86% have told their business partners that they are registered under the SCI and explained the commitments that they have made.
The number of complaints reported remains low: 43 companies report facing an alleged breach of the SCI principles in 2016. 70% of these were resolved informally. 9 companies report having received 44 complaints (49 in 2015 and 39 in 2014), the vast majority of which were resolved internally (52%) or through mediation (44%). 3 companies report receiving complaints from another country.
The report also looks at the reasons why companies are less satisfied with what the initiative delivered: the key reason for disappointment is that their business partners are not registered with the SCI.
Two additional national platforms were established in 2016, in Germany and Portugal, involving farmers, processors and retailers associations.
At the meeting of the High Level Forum for a better functioning food supply chain in December 2016, the SCI presented its proposals for transforming the SCI, and making it stronger and more independent. These include the introduction of an independent chair, who will ensure that rules and procedures are respected; act as a recipient for confidential complaints, issue guidance and recommendations of general interest and promote good practice. The SCI will also focus more on reinforcing the network of national platforms and will strengthen its efforts to raise awareness and reach out to SMEs.
The Governance Group urges policymakers to act in a way which supports continued progress achieved through the SCI, and allows constructive dialogue as a means for improving relationships in the supply chain. They value the participation of all sectors in the SCI and will urge farmers’ organisations to demonstrate their support in improving relations in the supply chain and join the SCI.