EU Directive on Unfair Trading Practices

BACKGROUND

Present day supply chains are characterised by massive concentrations of (buying) power on the level of retailers and large traders. This leads to the diminishment of bargaining power for the small suppliers, and subsequently to the ability of supermarkets and large traders to effectively dictate the terms of business. Producers and other suppliers are often left with a painful choice: to sell on poor and unpredictable terms, or not to sell at all. Although they may not be able to make a profit or may face long hours working in unsafe conditions, there are few alternative ways to earn a living for communities with no safety net to fall back on in hard times.

Those marginalised and powerless at the end of the supply chain hence suffer most from unequal power in supply chains – and this is why the Fair Trade movement and allies are taking action. After years of advocacy and campaigning by farmer and civil society organisations, the European Union adopted a piece of legislation to provide a minimum level of protection against Unfair Trading Practices in food supply chains (Unfair Trading Practices Directive) in February 2019.

WHAT ARE OUR VIEWS?

We welcome the recent adoption of the EU’s Directive on Unfair Trading Practices in the Agricultural and Food Supply Chain. It is now essential that the EU Member States implement (transpose) this new EU minimum level of protection into their national legislation.

In this framework, Traidcraft Exchange, IFOAM-EU, Oxfam, SOMO and FTAO have put together a “Transposition and Implementation Guide” to explain key features of the Directive and give guidance on how to ensure that the transposition process results in a piece of legislation at national level that improves the minimum standard laid down by the Directive.

The guide is for the use of civil society organisations, businesses and members of the public based in EU Member States that are working for greater fairness in agricultural supply chains. It includes:

• An introduction to the Unfair Trading Practices Directive
• Guidance on monitoring the transposition and implementation of the Directive to ensure maximum effectiveness
• Guidance for where national law can improve on the minimum standards of the Directive
• Suggestions for how to engage with the legislative process at Member State-level
• How to use the Directive to stop unfair trading practices
• Other relevant policy areas to be aware of

(Note: If you are interested in translating this guide into another language, contact Tom.Wills@traidcraft.org for the source file.)

FURTHER READING

Reports

Who’s Got the Power? – Tackling Imbalances in Agricultural Supply Chains (Executive Summary)  (FTAO)
Who’s got the power? – Tackling Imbalances in Agricultural Supply Chains (FTAO)
Ripe for change – Ending Human Suffering in Supermarket Supply Chains (Oxfam)
Food Waste in Kenya – Uncovering Food Waste in the Horticultural Export Supply Chain (Feedback)

Case Studies

Banana Value Chains in Europe and the Consequences of Unfair Trading Practices (Le Basic)
Cashew Case Study (Traidcraft)
Mango Case Study (Oxfam Deutschland)
The Story Behind the Pineapples Sold on our Supermarket Shelves: A Case Study of Costa Rica, 2010 (Consumers International and Banana Link)
Green Beans Case Study (SOMO)
Orange Case Study (CIR)

Other

Blog Post – ‘What is the EU’s new Unfair Trading Practices Directive?’ (Tom Wills, Traidcraft Exchange)
Legal Research –‘How to Set Up a Coordinated Effective ‘Enforce Mechanism to Stop UTPs in EU’ (British Institute of International and Comparative Law)