Global Trust defends certification scheme

Global Trust Certification is calling for transparent, balanced, science-based benchmarking procedures and methodologies to be developed in light of recent criticisms of seafood certification schemes.
In a press release on Thursday, Peter Marshall, CEO of Ireland-based Global Trust, emphasized the need to mitigate confusion regarding seafood certification schemes while defending the credibility of ISO-accredited certification bodies such as Global Trust.

“ISO (International Organization for Standardization) processes shift away from chaos and allegations, in favor of predictability through agreed and certification and accreditation processes. ISO has been and will remain an answer for industry to demonstrate their social, economic and environmental commitments. It provides the naked truth through objective, honest and transparent measures — companies either meet a standard or they don’t get the certification,” said Marshall.

“Some [environmental NGOs] reviewing seafood standards,” he added, “wish to ignore or overlook the levels of integrity imbedded into ISO processes. Very little or no effort is made by reviewers to formally contact us to learn critically important operational facts.”

Early this month, British Columbia-based Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR) published a report assessing the credibility of certification schemes for farmed salmon. And the program that it backed — the World Wildlife Fund-led Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue — is one that it’s involved in (CAAR is one of the organizations represented on the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue’s Steering Committee). In the report, CAAR listed the strengths and weaknesses of seven certification schemes, including Seafood Trust.

“It is entirely counterproductive for [the seafood indsutry’s] efforts to be written off using ill-defined, or poorly constructed and potentially biased, standard benchmarking,” said Marshall.

Cooke Aquaculture is also taking issue with the CAAR report. The New Brunswick-based company’s farmed salmon carries the Seafood Trust eco-label, as all of its salmon hatcheries and processing plants and many of its farms are Seafood Trust-certified.

In a press release, Cooke Aquaculture defended Seafood Trust: “Continuous improvement is a cornerstone of the Seafood Trust … program, which requires us to conduct annual internal audits on all of our hatchery, farm and processing facilities and also to submit to annual external audits by an internationally accredited certification body. We are required to demonstrate goals and objectives for improvement at each audit and are then measured for how well we achieve these goals.”


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