Throughout our operations, we aim for the highest levels of product safety and quality, while endeavoring to continuously reduce our products’ environmental and social footprint. Here is one of the many examples of how we strive to improve product sustainability.
Our oceans help sustain us, but we need to sustain them, too. Marine fish stocks are declining, and it’s a tough time for the seafood industry, with illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing undermining efforts to ensure sustainable production.
We have the social and business responsibility to provide our customers with high quality, sustainable seafood options. We strive to ensure that all our fish and seafood - fresh, frozen and canned – is sourced, processed and distributed using environmentally friendly methods. In this way, we help protect our ocean resources and offer our customers a wide range of sustainable seafood products today and in the future.
Deep-diving into sustainable seafood
‘Sustainability’ touches a lot of areas in the seafood industry. It means harvesting in a way that supports sustainable fisheries and coastal communities. It means doing our part to see that healthy ecosystems are maintained. It means ensuring that the vessels, production and processing facilities offer good working conditions. And it means providing our customers with safe, tasty and clearly labeled products.
Achieving this requires full transparency - being able to track our seafood from ship to plate. We are working on diving deep into our supply chains to see what’s involved in fishing, farming and processing the seafood, and drive improvements where we can. As a first step we have focused our efforts on our own-brand products.
A responsible approach
Today, all of our brands combined offer hundreds of own-brand sustainable seafood products from over 100 species.
With suppliers spread all over the world, we face differing challenges to sustainability, so it’s a complex responsibility. Our ‘trident’ approach includes three categories:
- Certified: against the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) standards, or certified against a program that is recognized by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI); or
- ‘Assessed’, by an expert third party using science-based criteria; or
- ‘In Improvement’; sourced from a credible Fishery or Aquaculture Improvement Project (FIP/AIP) or a farm or fishery in the process towards certification.
This approach enables us to sell responsible seafood even where certification does not exist, or is not feasible for certain species or local fisheries. It lets us support smaller fisheries and fisheries in developing countries. Many of our brands partner with NGOs and other stakeholders to assess our seafood and to set up credible Fishery or Aquaculture in Improvement Projects (FIP/AIPs). These enable us to support fisheries or farms along a path towards improvements and a higher level of sustainability.
Read more on Alfa Beta’s Fishery and Aquaculture Improvement Projects
Illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing
IUU fishing depletes fish stocks, undercuts responsible fisheries, and can be linked to human rights violations. Because the global supply chain can be complex and nontransparent, illegal fish can end up in supermarkets. Once intermingled, these fish are very difficult to identify.
For wild-caught fish, we can determine the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) catch area and method, but often we have no proven way to identify the environmental and social sustainability of the specific vessel that caught the fish. With seafood ingredients used in other products, or with fish meal that is fed to farmed fish, the supply chain becomes even longer and more complex.
We’re not there yet, but by working with international ocean conservation groups and industry stakeholders, we can bring about real change. And by supporting productive fisheries and coastal communities to provide the safe, healthy products our customers want, we become a better neighbor and a better place to shop.
We contribute to Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14, which aims towards the conservation and sustainable use of the oceans, seas and marine resources and includes a specific target on combating IUU fishing (14.4). The SDGs, officially known as “Transforming our world: the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” is a set of 17 aspirational "Global Goals" with 169 targets between them.”