Hilton, IKEA, Carrefour back MSC, ASC certifications
Leaders from the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and three major retail franchises met on Wednesday, 27 April at Seafood Expo Global to discuss the power that consumer demand can have in driving retailer commitments to ASC and MSC seafood certification.
Representatives from IKEA, Hilton Worldwide and Carrefour, three brands that have committed to serving MSC- and ASC-certified seafood, joined the discussion on sustainability and its role in building consumer trust.
“Continued commitments by business leaders to sustainable seafood are having real impact in the way our oceans are fished. But we also recognize that consumer awareness and demand is vital to supporting this positive action,” said MSC Global Commercial Director Nicolas Guichoux at the “Seafood Futures Forum,” which was attended by nearly 400 delegates and SEG attendees.
Preliminary results from a study commissioned by MSC, which queried 16,000 seafood consumers from 21 countries, revealed that 72 percent of participants believe that consuming only seafood from sustainable sources is necessary to save the oceans. In addition, nearly 62 percent of consumers surveyed said seeing an eco-label on a seafood product raises their confidence and trust in a brand and 68 percent said independent verification was important to support supermarket and brand claims about sustainability.
A general consensus among consumers, especially when it comes to bigger brands and chains, seems to be “when you buy from these brands, you are also buying into these brands, and once you buy into these brands, you have confidence that those brands will act on your behalf in the way you expect them to do,” said Caroline Meledo, Hilton Worldwide’s senior manager for corporate responsibility.
As of November, Hilton Worldwide became the first global hotel company to serve MSC-labeled cod in all of its restaurants in the United Kingdom, Netherlands and Belgium. Among the other panelists, Carrefour is upping its supply of MSC-and ASC-labelled seafood across stores in Belgium, France and Italy and, last year, IKEA committed to offering MSC- and ASC-certified seafood in more than 370 of its stores in 43 countries.
“Already the expectation is that [brands] do the right thing, at the right time, all the time,” Meledo said. “How do you confirm to your customers that you are doing the right thing at the right time? That’s where certifications come in.”