Seafood Stewardship Index begins new sustainability benchmarking project for world’s largest seafood companies

Published on
June 8, 2017

The Seafood Stewardship Index is set to begin work on a new two-year project that will benchmark the world’s largest seafood companies against the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

Bas Geerts, a lead at the Seafood Stewardship Index, said the benchmarking will be in the methodology phase for the next year, with reports expected to be released in the second half of 2019.

“The index will consist not only of a list of the 20 companies but will have fairly detailed reports of two or three pages for each of these companies, so people will actually know how each individual company scores on each of these themes,” Geerts said at a session on transparency on 5 June at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit in Seattle, Washington, U.S.A. 

Among the 17 SDGs, the index will focus on seven or eight of them, with special attention on the stated U.N categories of zero poverty, working conditions and economic growth, and life below water. 

Heading the companies that will be targeted are Japanese giants Maruha Nichiro and Nippon Suisan Kaisha, with Norway’s Marine Harvest and U.S. companies Red Chamber Group, Pacific Seafood Group, Trident Seafood and Bumble Bee Foods also slated for review. 

Geerts hopes the index will function as an axis point where objective information about major seafood producers meets the public, increasing accountability and rewarding good practices with more investment. 

“If you don’t listen to your investors and clients, if you don’t listen to the NGOs, if you don’t listen to folks that are competing against you, you’re in a very dire position. So I hope this report will be used for exactly that: A starting point for these very important discussions to have confidence in moving toward more sustainable practices,” Geerts said. 

Geerts added they are using index models like the Access to Medicine Index to predict outcomes, and see the index as a useful resource for buyers and investors. 

“If, for example, as a retailer or buyer at the end of the supply chain, there are certain risks and if I see that my supplier is not addressing those, I now have a more objective reference point to say, ‘I like the product that you’re supplying to me, but you have to be able to address this’. The same thing for investors. They also want to identify risks, and by using an objective source they can,” he said.

The Seafood Stewardship Index is part of a larger global benchmarking alliance that includes the insurance company AVIVA, the Business and Sustainable Development Commission, United Nations Foundation, and the Index Initiative.

Contributing Editor reporting from Seattle, USA

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