Tmall teams up with MSC, sets new sustainability goal for 2020

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Chinese online marketplace have partnered to advance sustainable seafood procurement, signing a memorandum of understanding on 8 June declaring Tmall’s intent to prioritize the purchase of seafood from sustainable sources. 

As a part of the partnership, Alibaba-owned Tmall, which claims to have more than 375 million active buyers, will aim to have20 percent of seafood sales carry the MSC ecolabel by 2020. 

“Today, we signed a memorandum of understanding with the MSC on World Oceans Day to signify our support towards sustainable seafood development and the importance of certified, fresh seafood imported to our Chinese consumers. Alibaba Group’s Tmall will be the only primary platform to release new labeled, certified products, and jointly organize a promotion program,” Tmall Fresh General Manager Ray Ho. 

MSC Global Commercial Director Nicolas Guichoux said Tmall's announcement was a big step forward for the sustainable seafood movement in Asia.

“Sustainable seafood procurement strategies and goals are common in European and North American markets, especially for retailers, and they have had a critical role in driving the transformation of the sustainable seafood industry over the last 20 years since the MSC was established,” Guichoux said.

According to MSC, businesses of all sizes in China are starting to catch on to the sustainability movement. Last week, more than 70 representatives from retailers and supplier, including Ole (part of Vanguard Group, owned by China Resource Group), Shenzhen Rainbow Grocery and the Shangri-La Hotel Chain all pledged commitments to sustainable seafood procurement and marketing.

“CCFA initiated the China Sustainable Retail Roundtable to develop market links with reliable certifiers to meet emerging market demand,” said Pei Liang, general secretary of China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA). “Seafood is one area of priority and we encourage retailers to develop responsible procurement goals, recommend MSC-certified seafood to the Chinese market, and provide more sustainable choices for Chinese consumers.”

Cui He, president of China Aquatic Products Processing and Marketing Alliance (CAPPMA), said that the Chinese seafood industry has a "vital role" to play in increasing awareness and consumption of sustainable seafood.

"Sustainability is a crucial condition, that will be in line with a new central government initiative for green industry development and green lifestyle," Cui said. "The MSC, as a global standards organization, is enthusiastic to support sustainable development in the Chinese seafood market. More and more Chinese seafood enterprises, such as Zoneco group, Ocean Gala, BeiYangJiaMei, Oceaniese and Spring Seafoods, have joined the MSC program and try their best to provide MSC-ecolabel products to the Chinese seafood market."


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