The Guest Blog

Guest blog post by Edd Colbert, Campaign & Research Manager, Feedback.

The European Parliament is currently drafting amendments to a report that could determine whether or not Europe will implement legislation to prevent unfair trading practices (UTPs).

Previous drafts of the report have highlighted the clear correlation between unfair trading practices and the overproduction and food waste they cause. Furthermore, the previous iteration of the report called for a European framework and effective legislation to prevent UTPs across Europe, acknowledging the inadequacy of voluntary frameworks like the Pan-European Supply Chain Initiative (SCI) in effectively preventing these issues.

Over a million people have signed Feedback’s petition calling on national leaders to establish authorities to investigate supermarkets’ unfair treatment of suppliers to prevent good food from going to waste because of UTPs. However, despite widespread support for such legislation, the European People’s Party (EPP) is actively working to block such proposals in the final round of amendments. This move by the EPP is being led by Swedish MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bidlt who instead had showed preference for the industry led SCI as a means for preventing UTPs

Corazza Bidlt is widely known for her extensive work against food waste in Europe having led a personal campaign against food waste. The MEP was also a key contributor to a previous European report focused on developing strategies for a more efficient food chain in the EU in order to avoid food waste. Given this track record, it is a department from the MEP’s previous commitments to block recommendations for crucial legislation that would contribute significantly to reducing food waste in Europe’s food chain.

Feedback’s research in countries as diverse as Kenya, Guatemala and the UK has demonstrated how large amounts of food is wasted as a result of UTPs practiced by European retailers. In particular, last minute order cancellations and retrospective amendments to supply agreements often leave farmers with no secondary market unable to sell their produce. When this happens the farmers receive no compensation and are forced to dump their produce.

Preventative legislation against UTPs would protect suppliers, in particular farmers, who currently face uncertain and risky trading conditions in order to supply products to Europe’s major retailers. Such legislation would mean that European retailers risk being penalised with fines for malpractice towards their suppliers, much like the powers held by the UK’s Groceries Code Adjudicator (GCA). Crucially however it would create a level playing field across the single market to ensure that effective regulation was in place across European borders to protect suppliers and ultimately consumers as well.

Feedback are calling on Anna Maria Corazza Bidlt to lead the European People’s Party in supporting legislative measures to prevent unfair trading practices in Europe. Preventing UTPs in Europe’s food supply chain is one of the most effective ways to curtail overproduction and the wastage of good food and finite agricultural resources.

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