Within the seafood sector, leading retailers and food service operators, as well as their supply chain partners have introduced and developed corporate sustainability and sourcing policies. To protect the environment and fish stocks, and in response to stakeholder and consumer demand, these policies have evolved.
Today, CSR policies across the industry demand real change in the procurement and production strategies for both wild-caught and aquaculture producers and traders. Although producers and their respective government’s seafood ministries remain pro-export, change has occurred not just on the regulatory level, but also in the way that collaboration has accelerated supply chain transparency, and the capability and capacity to enforce local and international laws.
For the first time, our research team has compiled and analyzed global data from CSR audits (Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP), Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) and Sedex Members Ethical Trade Audit (SMETA)), together with current research and industry best practices. The audit data covers the supply chain from farm (land and offshore) to processor. We explore multiple assessment criteria and point to opportunities for improvement.
The assessments have highlighted issues of worker protection, discrimination and inadequate reporting for child/young workers. There is also evidence supporting more attention to significant health and safety issues.
The analysis acknowledges the challenges of the operating environments, all of which require better financial/market conditions to support investments in:
- Management and employee training
- Wages and working conditions
- Infrastructure improvements
- A means to support traceability
- The end of recruitment and wage conditions that support forced/bonded labor and potential for Illegal, Unregulated, Unreported (IUU) fishing
The issues identified, and the way forward are not unique to the seafood industry. Both food and non-food, global supply chains face similar challenges when expanding the scope of sustainability from a focus on the finished product back to the environment and the working conditions from which the raw materials are transformed. Many leading brands, and environmental NGOs have set forth excellent working models toward supply chain mapping, risk assessment, corporate traceability, vendor engagement, audit and certification, communication, supplier engagement and investment, and stakeholder reporting.
While any CSR assessment is a snapshot in time, we expect that future analyses will advance the sustainability of the seafood industry to the benefit of all stakeholders.
Download your copy of Examining Corporate Social Responsibility in the Seafood Sector.
For the complete range of SGS services and support visit SGS Food Safety.
For further information, please contact:
SGS Seafood Business Development Manager
t: +1 973 461 7903