UK - Five of Europe’s leading companies with interests in seafood have demonstrated a powerful commitment to corporate transparency by publishing the full lists of fisheries that they use for sourcing along with data on sustainability.
The initiative, conducted with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and known as the ‘Ocean Disclosure Project', represents a dramatic step forward in corporate reporting and establishes the participants as leaders within their sectors on corporate sustainability.
The five participating companies are UK retailers Asda (part of Walmart), Morrisons and the Co-operative Food along with aquaculture feed manufacturers Biomar and Skretting.
Each company has reported the fisheries from which they bought fish and shellfish in 2014 along with information about the management of each fishery, environmental impacts and the presence of third party certifications and improvement projects.
The profiles represent an unprecedented level of corporate reporting and set a benchmark for other companies to meet.
The Ocean Disclosure Project is intended to provide a valuable information resource for responsible investors, seafood consumers and others interested in sustainable seafood and corporate responsibility.
Commenting on the publication of the Ocean Disclosure Project 2015, Blake Lee-Harwood, Strategy Director with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, said: “The companies that have participated in the Ocean Disclosure Project should be highly commended for demonstrating real leadership in corporate reporting.
"The seafood sector as a whole has poor transparency and this kind of comprehensive reporting shows a very high level of responsibility by these companies along with a real confidence in their business model.“
He continued: “The five companies that have reported this year have shown that there are no issues with commercial confidentiality in such disclosure and that they have nothing to hide. We sincerely hope that other companies will take note of this important project and report their own seafood procurement in a similar manner.”
Chris Brown, Senior Director for Sustainable Business at Asda, said: “ASDA is committed to the long term future of seafood. How and where we source are key pieces of information for all those interested in this important area. We continue to support the open reporting of seafood sourcing and welcome the publication of the Ocean Disclosure Project this year.”
Niels Alstad, Executive Vice-President at Biomar, commented: “Biomar is committed to, and actively supports, transparency and sustainable sourcing and we are delighted to participate in the Ocean Disclosure Project this year."
Andrew Young, Food Policy Development Manager for The Co-operative Food, said: “As a responsible retailer, we are committed to being open and honest to customers about the way we source our products.
"Supporting the Ocean Disclosure Project will help to drive a new level of transparency and confidence amongst our customers by showing the lengths we go to ensure all our own brand fish is responsibly sourced.”
Huw Thomas, Fisheries and Aquaculture Manager at Morrisons, said: "It's important that our customers know where our fish comes from and how it has been caught. We continue to work hard with our suppliers to ensure that all fish we stock is responsibly sourced and to improve and certify all areas of our supply chain."
Trygve Berg Lea, Sustainability Manager at Skretting, said: "Efforts to reduce fishmeal and fish oil will not improve the status of the world's marine resources unless there are endeavours further up the supply chain to improve fisheries management.
"As part of its sustainability commitment, Skretting only sources marine ingredients from suppliers that are able to demonstrate a commitment to responsible fisheries management, or which systematically work to improve fishery management.
"For Skretting to follow up on the compliance of suppliers with these minimum criteria, data is needed on the species and fisheries from which fishmeal and fish oil is sourced."
TheFishSite News Desk