Sustainable Seafood Commitment Template

The Sustainable Seafood Commitment Template will walk you through a series of questions in order to help you create a sustainable seafood goal and turn it into a time-bound commitment.

Companies should set commitments that address environmental sustainability, social responsibility, and seafood traceability. This document will guide a company through the process of generating an environmental commitment then outline the best practices and resources to repeat the process for social responsibility and traceability.

The Commitment Template and Sustainable Seafood Program Brainstorm were created to accommodate as many sizes and types of businesses as possible. If a question doesn’t apply to your business just move to the next one.

 

 Commitment Templates

 

While completing your Sustainable Seafood Commitment Template, please refer to the instructions listed below. Instructions have been broken out into five separate sections for ease of use. Click the plus sign "+" next to each section name to expand for full directions. Fill in your responses, save the documents, and upload them to your website or FishChoice Partner Profile.

Section 1: Environmental Goal and Timeline

Enter the results from your Assessment. If you haven't run an assessment yet, you can do so by entering your product information and then running an assessment from "My Dashboard".

Next, list a draft environmental or social goal. These goals state how you would like your baseline assessment numbers to improve. This should be a goal that names a specific type of product and your sustainability goals, building upon what you learned in your Assessment. You will add components to this goal to make it into a more robust commitment like this example:

 

By (X date), transition 100 percent of fresh and frozen wild-caught and farmed (or aquaculture) products sold in store to Marine Stewardship Council or Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified; Seafood Watch green or yellow rated where certified product isn’t available; or in a comprehensive FIP. 

 

Examples of goals:

  • To sell only sustainable shelf-stable tuna.

  • To improve our sales of fresh sustainable seafood from 25% to 50% by volume.

 

Decide which publicly available standard(s) you will use for the product(s) listed in your goal.

There are many types of public standards for sustainable seafood and the main two types are ratings and certifications. To determine which is a good fit for your business, we recommend these steps:

  • Learn more about the seafood sustainability ratings and certification organizations we partner with on FishChoice.com to determine which are a good match for your business and to understand what steps you would need to take in order to make sustainability claims.

  • Review what standards, if any, already exist for your product(s) by completing your Assessment

  • Consider the needs and goals of your customers or suppliers. If you have a customer or supplier that has committed to a specific standard, you may want to use that same standard in your goal as well.

    • If you want to communicate sustainability on packaging to a consumer, you may want to choose a certification that has an eco-label.

  • Review what must be in place to claim your product as sustainable using a rating or certification.

    • You must comply with certain requirements when making a sustainability claim about your product using a public standard. These requirements help ensure that claims are accurate and consistent.

 

Based on your answers to the questions above, list all ratings and certifications that you want to include in your goal.

 

Example: The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification might make the most sense for a business selling private label tuna in a can. The company may want the benefit of an eco-label that can be applied to its packaging and the added assurance of the chain of custody certification for its supply chain.

 

How will you measure progress towards your goal?

 

Example: Analyze the volume of sales once a quarter by updating your FishChoice Assessment online.

 

What is the timeline of the goal? What year will you reach it, will there be annual benchmarks?

 

Example: Our goal is for 100% of our products to meet our public sustainability standards in 18 months with a check-in on progress quarterly.

 

Best practice is that this goal is public, measurable, references publicly available standards, and has a specified timeframe.

Section 2: Commitment Scope

Will the goal cover all of your markets and segments or only specific markets or segments?

A small or specialized company might want to write a commitment to cover all of their business, while other companies may want to write specific commitments to address different species, geographies, or banners of their business.

 

Best practice is that commitments cover all markets and segments, but it is appropriate to be specific when needed.

 

What categories of seafood will this goal apply to?

Will it apply to fresh, frozen, shelf-stable, deli/prepared, sushi, pet food, supplements, other (specific contracts, etc.)? Wild and farmed? A certain species or all species? Private label, national brands, and unbranded products?

It is important to consider all combinations of the above categories when brainstorming this question.

Limiting a goal to certain categories, or staggering the timeframes of the categories, may help to keep your program and commitments ambitious and achievable.

 

Best practice is that a commitment addresses all categories of seafood. However, it is appropriate to tailor commitments for specific categories, as needed.

Section 3: Progress

A comprehensive commitment includes supporting elements such as plans for communication and advocacy. Consider the following questions in relation to your seafood commitment and sustainability program.

How, when, and where will you report on progress against your seafood commitment(s)?

This can be as simple as publishing an update on your website, posting it to your FishChoice Partner Profile or as in-depth as a section in a company’s annual report. View all of our Partner Commitments here.

 

Best practice is to report publicly on progress within one year, with metrics on the proportion of seafood that meets the commitment, and demonstrates increased progress over the previous report.

 

How will you share information with customers about your sustainable seafood commitment or sustainable seafood issues?

This may include messaging in-store, on packaging, on a website or FishChoice Partner Profile, via social media, or other avenues.

 

Best practice is to share information with customers about your sustainable seafood commitment and other sustainable seafood issues.

 

Will you make your seafood sources public?

Companies can publish a list of their seafood sources to their FishChoice Partner Profile where they can also upload and/or link to their commitment.

 

Best practice is to make seafood sources public (species, gear/production type, harvest/production area, and certification/FIP status).

 

How will you support fishery and aquaculture improvement projects? (if included in your commitment)

Learn more about getting involved in fishery improvement projects and aquaculture improvement projects. Support can include funding and participating in improvement projects along with encouraging supplier participation and public reporting by the project.

 

Best practice is to fund and participate in workplan activities of FIPs/AIPs, request your suppliers to participate in the project, and encourage FIPs to participate in reporting on www.FisheryProgress.org.

 

How will you engage in advocacy issues relating to your goals?

Advocating can take many forms such as submitting a public comment on a proposed rule, providing feedback to government officials, and voicing public support for reform. Companies can advocate on their own and share their efforts as Hy-Vee has done on its website. Companies can also advocate along with others in trade associations or coalitions.

 

Best practice is to advocate for improvements in environmental sustainability, social responsibility and traceability at the state, national and international levels.

 

Best practice is also to encourage a slow or stalled improvement project to make progress or a rated or certified fishery or aquaculture unit to improve.

Section 4: Draft Commitment

Now that you have answered all of the questions above you can build your final commitment. Use your responses to modify the generic commitment below and add a few supporting sentences to address the progress questions above in Section 3.

 

Sample Commitment: By (date), transition (X) percent of (categories) (wild or farmed) products sold in (markets and segments) to (certification, rating, or other standard).

 

If you decided to write specific commitments to address different seafood categories or markets remember to include all of your commitments here. For example, Albertsons Companies has published several commitments that address different seafood categories.

 

Finalize your commitment

In order to finalize your commitment(s) we recommend three steps:

  1. Compare your commitment to the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’ Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood to ensure all recommendations of the Common Vision are addressed.
  2. Compare your commitment to those of other companies to ensure there are no gaps in content.
  3. Run through our Sustainable Seafood Program Brainstorm to ensure your commitment is a good fit for your business and will benefit your customers.

 

Make it public

It is important that sustainable seafood commitments are made public to hold companies accountable for their progress and ensure their efforts are recognized.

Some companies may first share the commitment with their supply chains, solicit feedback, and begin implementing improvements before sharing their commitment publicly.

If your company is a FishChoice Partner, you can upload and/or link to their commitment to your Partner Profile, highlighting your commitment to businesses using FishChoice to inform their seafood sourcing.

Section 5: Traceability and Social Responsibility

The same process that is outlined above for environmental goals should be conducted again for traceability and social responsibility in order to generate commitments on these topics.

The details of a commitment to traceability and social responsibility will vary based on the company and the seafood it sells. The good news is that there are new resources to help companies learn more about these topics and decide which improvements are needed for their supply chains. Return to our Learn section to review the traceability and social responsibility resources which will help companies identify and implement improvements for their businesses.

Example: Walmart's Human Right Commitment

Example: Thai Union and WWF's Progress Report on Trace Efforts

Social Responsibility Commitment

In addition to the best practices outlined in the environmental section of this template, specific social responsibility commitment best practices include:

 

Best practice is that a social responsibility commitment references publicly available standard(s) (e.g. UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, ILO 188 Work in Fishing Convention, etc.).

 

Best practice is to publish a social responsibility action plan. This plan should be time-bound, public, and list actions the company will take to identify and address high-risk areas and implement due diligence measures.

 

Best practice is to publish a supplier code of conduct that addresses forced labor, human trafficking, and child labor. In addition, the code should extend to other critical human rights elements in all three pillars of the Monterey Framework. It's important to note that employers should also address this issue, in addition to the suppliers they source from. 

 

Social Responsibility Commitment Progress

Social responsibility commitment progress should be specific and communicated in the following ways:

 

Best practice is to report publicly on progress within one year and demonstrate increased progress over the previous report.

 

Best practice is to report publicly every year on the outcomes of data collection and risk assessments (e.g., high-risk supply chains, specific suppliers, etc.)

 

Best practice is to report publicly on process and outcomes of verification and/or improvement of working conditions (e.g., audit results, certifications, challenges identified and action taken with suppliers to support improvements, etc.), including public evidence of incorporating worker engagement mechanisms into verification efforts and efforts to support workers’ collective bargaining/freedom of association.

 

Traceability Commitment

In addition to the best practices outlined in the environmental section of this template, specific traceability commitment best practices include:

 

Best practice is that a public traceability commitment outlines the level of traceability (e.g., to the vessel or feed source) and purpose of traceability (e.g., to inform an assessment of risk for IUU or human rights abuses).

 

Best practice is to publish a traceability action plan. This plan should be time-bound, public, and list actions the company is taking to ensure all products are traceable back to legal sources (i.e. vessels or farms) and that aquaculture inputs such as hatchery stock and feed are also legal and traceable. This plan should also list the actions a company is taking to verify source information and full-chain traceability by researching high-risk items, conducting traceability desk audits, or pursuing third-party traceability certifications.

 

If your business is a FishChoice Partner, you can highlight which traceability providers you work with on your Partner Profile to highlight your commitment to seafood traceability.

 

Traceability Commitment Progress

Traceability commitment progress should be specific and communicated in the following ways:

 

Best practice is to report publicly on progress within one year and demonstrate increased progress over the previous report including evidence of progress towards digitizing and standardizing data and progress towards full-chain traceability.