Next-Generation Sustainability Guidance Released for Seafood Industry

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: March 7, 2016
 
Boston – The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions Saturday released the first update since 2008 to a resource used by 80 per cent of the North American grocery and institutional food service markets. The updated Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood is the first to address the next generation of issues affecting sustainable seafood including social issues like human rights violations and labour exploitation and verifying sustainability by tracing products back through the supply chain.
 
“A decade ago, responsible business leaders wanted guidance on environmental sustainability,” said Susanna Fuller, Marine Conservation Coordinator for the Ecology Action Centre and a member of the SeaChoice science team. “Today, they’re looking at how to deepen those conservation commitments, address social issues, and increase traceability.”
 
The Conservation Alliance also released a bank of online resources to complement the Common Vision and support businesses implementing sustainable seafood commitments. The initial set includes resources on social issues and traceability, as well as real-world examples of sustainable seafood commitments. The Conservation Alliance expects to expand this resource bank over time.
 
The release culminates a yearlong effort to modernize the Common Vision. Updates were informed by input from Conservation Alliance member and partner organizations, advice and information from experts on social issues, and feedback from industry. The Common Vision represents agreement between all Conservation Alliance member organizations. Industry leaders were among the first to endorse the modernized Common Vision.
 
“What businesses want is clear and consistent guidance from authoritative non-profits on making and implementing sustainability commitments,” said Lisa Sparrow-Moellenbeck, Food Safety Manager at Federated Co-operatives Limited. “That’s what the Common Vision delivers.”
 
Unchanged from the original Common Vision is its straightforward six-step framework defining the actions businesses that buy and sell seafood can take to demonstrate leadership and ensure a sustainable seafood supply. Each step includes detailed recommendations that, together, describe a responsible corporate sustainable seafood commitment. Those steps are:
 
  1. Make a Public Commitment – Develop a comprehensive policy on sustainable seafood that includes time-bound objectives for addressing environmental and social issues and traceability.
  2. Collect Data on Seafood Products – Monitor the sustainability of seafood products and assess labor and human rights risks within the supply chains you source from.
  3. Make Responsible Sourcing Decisions – Support sustainable and improving seafood sources through purchasing decisions.
  4. Be Transparent – Make information regarding the environmental and social performance of seafood products publicly available and report on progress against your sustainable seafood commitment.
  5. Educate Staff, Customers, and Vendors – Educate employees, customers, suppliers, and other key stakeholders about sustainable seafood, including the importance of addressing environmental and social issues and working toward full traceability. 
  6. Support Improvements in Fisheries and Aquaculture – Engage in policy and management reform that leads to positive social, economic, and environmental outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture production, including ensuring implementation of core labor standards.
“The issues have changed since 2008, and the Common Vision needed to change with them,” said Ann-Marie Copping, Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise program manager. “The basic framework has helped the industry make real progress. We look forward to collaborating with seafood businesses to make and fulfill commitments addressing both environmental
and social issues.”
 
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Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions
The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions connects 20 leading conservation groups that work with businesses representing more than 80 percent of the North American grocery and institutional food service markets. We work together to solve sustainable seafood’s biggest challenges so that oceans and the businesses that depend on them can thrive. Visit www.solutionsforseafood.org to learn more.
 
Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise®
Overfishing is the single biggest threat our oceans face today. With more than 650 partners across Canada, Ocean Wise makes it easy for consumers to make sustainable seafood choices that ensure the health of our oceans for generations to come. The Ocean Wise symbol next to a seafood item is the Vancouver Aquarium’s assurance of an ocean-friendly seafood choice. www.oceanwise.ca.
 
SeaChoice
SeaChoice, Canada’s most comprehensive sustainable seafood program is about solutions for healthy oceans. Launched in 2006, SeaChoice was created to help Canadian businesses and shoppers take an active role in supporting sustainable fisheries and aquaculture at all  levels of the seafood supply chain. Based on scientific research, SeaChoice has created easy to-use tools that help you make the best seafood choices.
 
Federated Co-operatives Limited
The Co-operative Retailing System is a network composed of Federated Co-operatives Limited (FCL) and over 200 independent retail co-operatives that help build, feed and fuel individuals and communities in Western Canada. From Vancouver Island to northwestern Ontario and into the Arctic, retail co-ops serve 1.8 million active members and many more customers at 2,500 locations. FCL centrally supplies and supports these retail co-ops. For more information, visit www.coopconnection.ca.
 
For More Information:
Contacts:
Ed Walz, Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, (202) 374-2024 / ed@springboard.partners
Alexis Brown, Vancouver Aquarium Marine Science Centre, (604) 659-3777 / Alexis.Brown@vanaqua.org
Susanna Fuller, Ecology Action Centre, 902-446-4840 or 902-483-5033 / marine@ecologyaction.ca
Cameron Zimmer, Federated Co-operatives Limited, 306-244-1614 c.zimmer@fcl.ca
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