Once a company has zeroed in on which sustainability challenges and risk factors they need to address in their supply chain, it’s critical to move quickly to mitigate these threats to supply and cost stability. To do that, companies should create an action plan and make a public, time-bound commitment to improve the sustainability and responsibility of the fisheries and farms from which they source. A strong action plan/public commitment will help you achieve these goals, as well as demonstrate to your stakeholders and customers how you are moving your business toward the most responsible best practices—where a company has minimized risk and is sourcing responsibly throughout their supply chain.
Depending on the environmental and social challenges discovered in your assessment, there are several different approaches you can take to make progress toward improving your sourcing.
WWF recommends companies commit to a comprehensive, multi-faceted approach to source more sustainable, responsible, and traceable seafood. This involves eliminating high-risk areas and sourcing from certified fisheries and farms, and ensuring that your products have traceability as they move through the supply chain. WWF also recommends companies engage in transitioning fisheries and farms to improve their management and production practices to increase the market availability of certified product.
ABOLISH LABOR ABUSES
Another growing legal and reputational risk to brands happens when it is uncovered that a seafood business’s operations are contributing to the destruction of important wildlife life habitats, such as mangroves. You can avoid running into this problem in your supply chain by using conservation standards such as those found in the Accountability Framework Initiative and advanced geolocation technologies and traceability apps. These offer tested, science based guidance on how to source from habitat-conversion-free farms and how to ensure that the feed being used in your supply chain is responsibly produced and conversion-free. The standards also offer guidance to help suppliers transition to more responsible production practices and become conversion-free.
Companies face significant legal, business, and reputational risk from sourcing or selling endangered species as seafood. You can effectively respond to this concern by using WWF’s Endangered Seafood Guide, which provides recommendations regarding at-risk species as identified in the IUCN Red List as Endangered or Critically Endangered as well as those listed in CITES Appendix I or II. This easy, user-friendly tool helps buyers stay on top of which species are currently at risk and offers guidance on how to make the most responsible purchasing choices for each. It also provides solutions ranging from how to source from certified farms and fisheries to advice on what can’t be safely procured.
TRANSITION YOUR SOURCE FISHERIES AND FARMS
The third-party certification provided by the MSC and ASC helps your company ensure that the fisheries and farms that you’re sourcing from are meeting globally recognized benchmarks for environmental performance. Companies should prioritize sourcing from fisheries and farms that are certified to the MSC or ASC standards and should encourage other source fisheries that are already performing at the required level to get certified.
To provide your consumers
and stakeholders additional assurance of
responsible practices, your company can apply for certification to the MSC or ASC Chain of Custody (CoC) standards. CoC certification helps ensure there is accountability throughout the supply chain and that certified seafood products are separated from non-certified products and securely transferred from each step in the value chain to the next, from fishery to final sale. Companies that secure CoC certification with a formal partnership with MSC and/or ASC are eligible for product ecolabeling that enables them to make product-specific claims.
A nature-positive approach provides a pathway for businesses to address continuously changing
environmental and social challenges, first by eliminating practices that destroy marine
environments and then by taking steps to mitigate the remaining effects of best-choice practices. Ultimately this pathway toward improvement helps companies support restoring nature, which provides benefits to communities in places where they operate. For nature-positive business, indicators are targeted to reach net-positive impacts on biodiversity, people, and climate. This approach holds promise as a framework for scaling certification efforts to generate better, lasting outcomes for people and nature.
There are significant benefits to shifting operational practices and investing in sustainable business models, including cost savings and increases in operational efficiency; revenue streams from new business models and access to new markets, products, and services; and better stakeholder relationships and company image.