Presentation of the Supply Chain Initiative
The Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) is a joint initiative launched by 7 EU level associations with the aim to increase fairness in commercial relations along the food supply chain.
The SCI is open to companies of all sizes in the EU food & drink supply chain, including farmers, wholesalers, processors and retailers (including purchasing companies). The SCI does not apply to companies in support services (eg. logistics, packaging, etc.).
Registration and participation to the SCI is totally free of charge.
Large companies have to register according to what is called the standard procedure which requires that when they register, they comply with a series of Principles of Good Practice and 6 process commitments.
Medium or Small size firms can register according to a simplified (for medium size companies) or a light (for micro and small companies) procedure, which means that you can benefit from the SCI without any commitments that would be too cumbersome for your company. These procedures are explained further below.
So what do large firms commit to?
At the time of registration, large companies confirm that:
- They comply with the 10 Principles of Good Practice.
- They comply with 6 Process Commitments:
- They have undertaken a self-assessment.
- They have organized training or are in the process of doing so*
- They are prepared to engage in the dispute resolution options proposed in the framework.
- They agree that commercial retaliation is a breach of the Principles and the process commitments.
- They communicate their registration to business partners.
- They have appointed contact person(s) for internal dispute resolution and for process-related issues. (These can be the same or different persons.)
* Companies have the possibility to use an online learning tool to train their staff, developed by SAI, an external company. Fees depend on the company’s size. The tool is available in Czech, Dutch, German, English and French.
The SCI has a positive impact to all companies in vertical commercial relations, including non-registered companies as your large business partners which are registered have committed to comply with the Principles of Good Practice in ALL their business relations. By signing up they also agree that commercial retaliation is a breach of the Principles of Good Practice and of their process commitments and can therefore be the object of sanctions. This means that you need not fear that your trading partner will not undertake any measures against you if you have a complaint about your contract and you follow the dispute resolution procedures.
However, to fully benefit from the SCI, you should also register because, only when you are registered can you access the full dispute resolution system (see infographics below) and can you participate in the annual survey on the SCI to ensure its effectiveness.
How does the dispute mechanism work?
The SCI enables you to solve a dispute directly with your trading partner or a mediator (individual dispute) or, in case several companies have a problem with one and the same partner, to jointly submit an anonymous complaint (aggregated dispute).
How can SMEs register?
Registration is done online via the dedicated form. Have a look first at the table below and check if your company falls under the EU definition of a micro, small or medium-sized enterprise.
|Company category||Employees||Turnover OR||Balance sheet total|
|Medium-sized||< 250||≤ € 50 m||≤ € 43 m|
|Small||< 50||≤ € 10 m||≤ € 10 m|
|Micro||< 10||≤ € 2 m||≤ € 2 m|
NB: These ceilings apply to the figures for individual firms only. A firm which is part of larger grouping may need to include employee/turnover/balance sheet data from that grouping too.
You are a Micro or Small Enterprise
You benefit from a light procedure. You only need to register to show your commitment to the SCI and the Principles. You will be invited to take part in the survey but this will not be compulsory. Taking part may help improving the SCI.
You are a Medium-sized Enterprise
You benefit from a simplified procedure, including a commitment to apply the Principles, a basic self-assessment tool, basic training obligations and a special rate for the on-line training tool. No independent contact person is necessary where resources justify this, but there is an obligation to take part in the annual survey.
You are a large firm
You may register online using the standard procedure.
If you are in the process of complying with the obligations to implement the Principles, but are not fully ready, you are encouraged to signal your intent to sign up to the SCI. You may download the letter of intent here and send it to the Secretariat.