ASC releases report on its progress toward UN Sustainable Development Goals

Published on
January 4, 2023
Aquaculture nets in the water.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has released its first report on how it is contriuting to the responsible aquaculture portion of the United Nations Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The 17 SDGs make up the overall sustainability goals adopted by 193 U.N. member-states in 2015. Within each overarching goal, there are specific targets to achieve the 17 SDGs by 2030. The new report found more than 80 percent of the targets within all 17 SDGs are addressed by ASC. 

“The SDGs highlight some of the greatest sustainability challenges we face, common to many industries and regions of the world," ASC Director of Market Research and Insight Bertrand Charron said. "However, what’s currently missing is updated and quality SDG data. We believe that transparency and timely public disclosure of aquaculture operations’ performance will be key to ensuring that SDGs are being addressed and met by the industry.” 

The ASC addresses targets within seven of the SDGs including: SDG 2 (Zero Hunger), SDG 6 (Clean Water and Sanitation), SDG 12 (Responsible Consumption and Production), SDG 14 (Life Below Water), SDG 15 (Life on Land), SDG 16 (Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions), and SDG 17 (Partnerships for the Goals). Quantified, this is about 49 percent of the SDG targets that are specifically applicable to ASC work due to the relation to global aquaculture.

“Improving aquaculture is at the core of the ASC’s mission, and we believe that it should play a major role in supplying food and social benefits for humanity, whilst minimizing negative impacts on the marine and terrestrial environment," ASC CEO Chris Ninnes said. "How aquaculture performs generally against the SDGs and how this contribution to social, environmental, and societal benefits demonstrably improves is essential. Understanding these positions related to the SDGs is therefore a priority and we are pleased to make public this important piece of work.” 

The report found all 17 SDGs applicable to ASC's work, with strong though indirect alignment of SDG 1 (No Poverty), SDG 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth), SDG 10 (Reduced Inequalities), and SDG 13 (Climate Action) with ASC’s work. It also further showcased how ASC’s direct work addresses the goals and targets, as well as its wider outreach – such as the ASC program on local communities or advocacy.

The report includes a gap analysis for ASC's performance compared to non-certified aquaculture, and praises ASC for providing transparent and verifiable SDG-related data.

“We consider the report to be a roadmap that details our journey towards environmentally sustainable and socially responsible aquaculture, and our aim is to produce it each year to track our own progress towards the 2030 goals and targets,” Charron said.

Photo courtesy of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council

Contributing editor reporting from Hawaii, U.S.A.

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