Global Trust takes issue with ELI report


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
July 9, 2012

Global Trust certification is taking issue with a new Environmental Law Institute (ELI) report that questions the use of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)’s guidelines for seafood certification and eco-labeling schemes as well as its code of conduct for fisheries management.

The Washington, D.C.-based organization emphasized in its report that the guidelines and code of conduct “were never intended for use as independent certification standards.” The ELI singled out Global Trust, saying that it’s basing its certification program on criteria that “do not provide the measurable indicators required by FAO … to ensure consistent and meaningful performance certification.”

Global Trust criticized the report, saying that the ELI made no effort to contact the firm.

“We hope that seafood buyers and interested fisheries are not discouraged by this curious report and will see the dangers in accepting the findings of a report that doesn’t truly and fully investigate all the available facts,” said Global Trust CEO Peter Marshall in an email reacting to the report. “We would ask interested parties to seek the reassurance from the direct opinions of the FAO who developed the tools for certification, which have successfully been accredited through a formal ISO process.”

Marshall emphasized that Global Trust is an independent certifier “that believes in offering credible choice to industry.” For example, Global Trust acted as the certifier for Atlantic Canada’s Scotian Shelf snow crab trap fishery, which just earned Marine Stewardship Council certification.

There’s no mention in the report of why the investigation was carried out or who funded it. But Marshall said in a follow-up email he learned that the Pew Charitable Trusts funded the investigation.

“This report echoes the need for credible transparency of benchmarking procedures, competency and integrity as it is unclear of the reasoning, the methodology, the authors and the finance behind a report,” added Marshall. “The seafood stakeholders across the world need a benchmarking mechanism to defend them from false accusation. The report singularly identifies and attacks the one fisheries certification program being championed by the seafood stakeholders and its ISO accredited service provider. Global Trust can confirm that the direct investigative interaction for this report with the key parties was non-existent.”

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