Active Self-Regulation in the Food Supply Chain Benefits the Entire Chain

Finland Chamber of Commerce has established a self-regulatory body called the Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain to enhance trading practices in the food supply chain. A responsibly operating supply chain from agriculture through industry to the grocery store is of a great benefit both for the consumers and business. A mandate of the independent and impartial Board includes matters related to trading practices in vertical trading relationships.

The Board begins to orient itself by focusing on studying the contractual relationships in practice. Later, the Board actively promotes fair business practices by for example interpreting the principles of good practice. In addition, the Board may issue recommendations regarding matters related to trading relations. It also arranges discussion and training sessions in the field. However, the board may not give statements whether the trading practice is against the law. The initiative to establish the Board was taken by the Finnish Food and Drink Industries’ Federation and the Finnish Grocery Trade Association. The self-regulation system is available to all entrepreneurs, including farmers.

The members of the Board are nominated by the Finland Chamber of Commerce. They  represent different interest groups in the food supply chain and they have in-depth legal, commercial and food supply chain expertise. A chairman of the Board is professor Kari Hoppu with Aalto University in Helsinki.

An entrepreneur who considers that a trading partner has violated the principles of good practice may ask the Board for a statement. In 2017, the complaint will be reviewed by the board free of charge. In addition, no special registration procedure or membership is required. If the practice in question is found to violate the principles of good practice the board may recommend the company to revise its practice. At request, the board may also grant the complainant a permission to publish the the statement given.

The matters in the board are handled confidentially. If an entrepreneur draws Board´s attention to a certain matter in the vertical food supply chain it can be done easily, and if wanted anonymously, by sending an email to ekka(a)chamber.fi.

Self-regulation is preferable method of dispute resolution among companies because of its speed, flexibility and cost-effectiveness. The Finland Chamber of Commerce has over 100 years of tradition in promoting and enacting self-regulation. As regards players of the food chain they consider that it is possible to develop contractual relationships by voluntary measures.

“Thanks to its flexibility, self-regulation is a faster way to solve disputes than legislation. For the first year, entrepreneurs operating in the food chain or their representative organizations may apply for a statement free of charge. The Board has already received its first request for a statement,” says Paula Paloranta, Secretary General of the Board.

For more information, please visit the website of the Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain: http://kauppakamari.fi/en/boards/board-trading-practices-food-supply-chain/
or contact Ms. Paula Paloranta, Secretary General of the Board

tel. +358 (0)9 4242 6200, paula.paloranta(a)chamber.fi