Breaches of process commitments

A breach of process commitments occurs when a registered company is alleged not to meet its obligations provided in the framework for implementation and enforcement of the principles of good practice in vertical relations in the food supply chain.

A registered company must comply with a set of commitments called the “process commitments”, i.e. ensure that it:

  • complies with the Principles of Good Practice;
  •  has undertaken a self-assessment;
  • has set up or adapted training of senior executives and relevant staff to ensure compliance with the Principles of Good Practice;
  • prepared to engage in the dispute resolution options provided under the SCI;
  • communicates its registration to business partners;
  • has appointed contact persons for internal dispute resolution and for process-related issues; these can be the same or different persons;
  • shall not take retaliatory action;
  • in the context of an aggregated complaint, shall respond to a request by the Chair to comply or explain;
  • shall respect and follow up on any decision of the Chair concerning a complaint in which it is involved.

What is the procedure?

If a company comes across an anomaly (e.g. the contact person for internal dispute resolution, whose name is mentioned on the website, has left the company and has not been replaced), it can:

  1. raise the matter with the company concerned;
  2. directly inform the Chair of the SCI (by sending an e-mail to the (, who will ensure anonymity and confidentiality.

Upon receipt of a complaint or if he/she becomes aware of an alleged breach of a process commitment, the Chair will assess the alleged breach in a proportionate and gradual manner:

a)  for minor breaches, the Chair asks the company to remedy the situation. No publication of the company name is foreseen;

b)  for major breaches:

  • suspension: if a breach is confirmed, the Chair asks the company to remedy the situation. If after 30 calendar days, no action is communicated, the Chair may issue a warning letter. If after a further 30 calendar days the company continues to breach its process commitments, it could be temporarily suspended pending rectification of the breach. This suspension means that the company cannot benefit from the SCI but continues to be bound by its obligations. Information about the suspension will be given on the website;
  • exclusion: for persistent, intentional and unexplained breaches, having first followed the gradual procedure mentioned above, the Chair may ultimately decide to exclude the company from the SCI. This decision would be published on the website and in the annual report. The duration of the exclusion will be for a minimum of six months and for as long as it will take for the Chair to obtain sufficient guarantees that the concerns will be sustainably remedied. The excluded party will need to reapply should it wish to join the SCI again. The Governance Group may agree to reconsider the decision, provided that new evidence or arguments are introduced.

The Chair focuses on ensuring that non-compliant behaviour is corrected as quickly as possible. He/she ensures that any sanction is both proportionate to the nature of the breach and effective. At all times the parties concerned will be given an opportunity to explain.

For any questions on the Principles of Good Practice or past activities of the SCI, please contact the organisations.