4 unexpected places to find the MSC ecolabel

Published on
June 1, 2015

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has been in the business of making sure fisheries are up to standard with sustainability since its founding in 1996. Lately, the certification body has been broadening its scope, venturing beyond the boat and giving its coveted stamp of approval to some fairly surprising venues.

Here are some of the more uncanny institutions to win an MSC nod as of late:

St._Peter.jpg.pngProvidence St. Peter Hospital

This healthcare facility located in Olympia, Wash. has become the second hospital in North America to earn the MSC Chain of Custody certification for sustainable, wild caught seafood. The hospital serves an average of 1,500 meals each day, including plates that feature pan-seared Pacific cod and Thai peanut salad, as well as Oregon pink shrimp in a Caesar salad.

“We’re proud to offer MSC certified sustainable seafood to patients and guests and provide the choice to support healthy oceans,” said Gerald Roundy, director of Hospitality, Providence Southwest Washington Region. “Sustainability is essential to our core value of stewardship and we continuously strive to lead the way to a healthier future for our people, resources and the earth.”

To earn the blue MSC ecolabel, St. Peter Hospital had to demonstrate complete traceability throughout its supply chain. As the hospital buys from Food Services of America (FSA), an MSC Chain of Custody certified foodservice distributor, that burden of proof was entirely ominous.

And for a facility with an extensive sustainability track record – St. Peter has a high recycle rate, increased energy efficiency from recycling boiler heat and excellent indoor environment standards, which has earned the institution the title of Smartest Building in America according to Siemens Industry, Inc. – it was only a matter of time before its seafood practices garnered similar accolades.

Skansen.pngSkansen zoo

Every seal at this Stockholm, Sweden-based open-air museum is being fed herring sourced from the sustainable fisheries. Skansen has become Sweden’s first MSC certified zoo – it can now boast the MSC ecolabel, much to the excitement of many of the facility’s representatives and attendants.

“We are happy that we have come this far” said Tommy Lambrell, environmental coordinator at Skansen. “Seals are an important part of the Baltic Sea fauna, and it feels great that we have started feeding them sustainable herring.”

“It is great that Skansen has chosen to get MSC certified. At a place where people who love animals gather, they can now discover that there is an ecolabel making a positive change in the oceans. The more people who choose sustainably caught fish, the better for the life in the seas” added Christoph Mathiesen, Manager of MSC in Scandinavia & Baltic Sea region.

It’s not only the seals that eat sustainably at Skansen – the guests do, too. One of the zoo’s restaurants, Gubbhyllan, has been MSC certified and can sport the ecolabel on its menu.

“When I was told that the seals would have MSC herring, I decided that my guests also would get a chance to contribute to an ocean full of life” said KC Wallberg from Gubbhyllan.

Marist.pngMarist College

With the help of its dining partner Sodexo, Marist College, located in Poughkeepsie, New York, has earned the MSC Chain of Custody certification. Marist Dining Services serves some 3,600 meals a day to students, staff and faculty, plates that incorporate the likes of cod, halibut, pollock and salmon. According to Marist, seafood comprises up to 15 percent of the menu at the college. College representatives are proud to have the blue MSC ecolabel on its menu to vet that the seafood served is sustainably caught and prepared.

“Sustainability is a fundamental aspect of our overall commitment to environmental stewardship at Marist College and we are proud of the achievement of attaining MSC Chain of Custody certification,” said Steve Sansola, Marist College’s Associate Dean for Student Affairs and Co-Chair of the Campus Sustainability Advisory Committee. “By offering MSC certified sustainable seafood, students, faculty and staff are provided with high quality sustainable seafood products and our procurement contributes to the health of the world’s oceans by choosing seafood from fisheries that have been certified as sustainable and well-managed.”

Marist Dining Services’ also practices sustainability in other areas including extensive purchasing of local and regional food products, cooking oil reclamation for bio-diesel or repurposing and promoting zero-waste catering events with compostable products and water-bottle filling stations.


Skidmore.jpeg.pngSkidmore College

This New York liberal arts college became the first institution of its kind in the state to earn the MSC Chain of Custody certification, thus proving that all of the seafood served on campus in its dining hall has been caught and prepared by sustainable means.

On average, Skidmore’s Dining Services serves upwards of 4,000 meals to students, faculty and staff on a daily basis.

The college offers a variety of seafood plates on a weekly basis including MSC certified haddock, pollock and cod; more seafood species options will be added in the future, the college hopes.

“Sustainability is a key theme in our dining facilities and we’re committed to reducing impact on the environment and increasing sustainable initiatives,” said Mark Miller, director of Skidmore’s Dining Services. “MSC Chain of Custody certification is a sign of our commitment to sustainability. Skidmore’s Dining Services believes that by obtaining MSC certification, college students and staff are able to contribute to the health of the world’s oceans by choosing seafood that can be traced back to fisheries that have achieved the MSC standard for sustainable fishing.”

Additional sustainability initiatives spearheaded by Skidmore Dining Services include composting coffee-grounds, zero-sort recycling, efforts to repurpose fryer oil product as fuel, eliminating trays from the dining hall, and re-fillable water-bottle stations.

Images courtesy of Providence St. Peter Hospital, Skansen, Marist College and Skidmore College.


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