A continuous dialog is essential for a well functioning Business-to-Business food supply chain. Therefore, the Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain was established in Finland in spring 2017. The Board is a self-regulatory body and it is operating in connection with the Finland Chamber of Commerce.
An independent and impartial Board actively promotes fair business practices by for example interpreting the principles of good practice once a complaint has been filed. The principles were adopted at the EU level in 2011. The principles have slightly been adopted to suit the Finnish legal environment. They provide a framework for conducting business that respects contractual freedom and ensures competitiveness. The document also contains a list of examples of fair and unfair trading practices in vertical trading relationships.
In addition to handling the complaints, the Board may issue recommendations, arrange discussion and training events as well as develop ethical principles in the food supply chain.
The chairman of the Board is professor Kari Hoppu and the vice-chair is market court judge Olli Wikberg. The members of the Board represent different interest groups in the food supply chain and they also have in-depth legal, commercial and food supply chain expertise.
Examples of unfair trading practices
Unfair trading practices are typically imposed in a situation of imbalance by a stronger party on a weaker one, and can exist from any side of the B2B relationship. This kind of practices can occur at any stage of the contractual relationship.
Examples of unfair trade practices include:
- contact-related changes: lack of written contracts, ambiguous contract terms;
- unfair use of information: a trading partner´s use of confidential information;
- misuse of private labels;
- price-related measures: forced discounts;
- transfer of commercial risk.
Self-regulation is better and faster regulation
The system is available to all entrepreneurs, including farmers. No registration is required. For example any farmer or food industry company may complain quickly and at no cost. If an entrepreneur only wishes to inform the Board of any kind of matter in the vertical food supply chain it can be done easily and anonymously by sending an email to ekka(a)chamber.fi. The matters are handled confidentially and without further delay.
In case the trading practice in question is found in breach of the principles, the Board may grant a permission to publish the outcome of the case.
The Board of Trading Practices in the Food Supply Chain
Finland Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 1000
FI-00101 Helsinki, Finland
Secretary General Paula Paloranta
tel. +358 (0)9 4242 6200, firstname.surname(a)chamber.fi