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   MSC Partners Commitment: “2020 Leaders For A Living Ocean” Update
by Marine Stewardship Council
Posted: Wednesday, September 19, 2018 at 3:42PM EDT

In 2017, 27 companies and organisations, the Leaders for a Living Ocean, announced commitments contributing to MSC’s “20 by 2020” goal, and in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and science-based solutions to accelerate improvements in marine fisheries.

The companies and organisations are active in the seafood supply chain representing

  • The catch sector (5),
  • Retail (14),
  • Seafood businesses / brands (6),and 
  • Restaurants (2).

The MSC is supporting these leaders in their journey to transform their business and act as agents for change within their sphere of influence. 

13 of these companies and organisations are now able to report on progress towards the 2020 goal. The leaders reporting progress include: Aeon group (Japan), Albert Heijn (Netherlands and Belgium), ALDI group (Germany), Carrefour (France), Coles (Australia), Colruyt group (Belgium), COOP (Japan), FishTales (Netherlands), Jumbo (Netherlands), PNA (International), Sainsbury’s (UK), Thai Union (International), WADPIRD & WAFIC (Australia). In addition, 2 new commitments were submitted, one from Woolworths Australia and the other from Lidl, Germany. The 2018 progress details and new commitments are as follows:

Albert Heijn, The Netherlands: 

"Albert Heijn wants all fish products under its own brand to be sustainably certified as soon as possible. For this objective we aim to achieve MSC certification, but when such certified products are not available for a certain fish species, we also work with our suppliers to enter into an improvement process to reach MSC certification. For our private label/own brand fresh and frozen wild caught fish, Albert Heijn is committed to working with its suppliers and the fishing sector to make all wild catch products available as MSC certified by 2020. We are happy to report that one of our last remaining gaps, brown shrimp, got MSC certified last year."

Colruyt Group, The Netherlands:

Colruyt Group reports an increase in the percentage of MSC certified frozen and fresh fish. For fresh fish 53 of a total of 66 references are certified with the MSC label on-pack (80.3%). For frozen fish, 43 of 48 references (89.6%) are MSC certified with the MSC label on-pack. This means on a total of 114 fresh and frozen references included in their commitment, 96 are MSC-certified with label on-pack (84.2%). Compared to 2017, this is an increase of 1.2%.

Sainsbury’s, United Kingdom:

"Sainsbury’s remains on track to deliver against our commitment to sell fish which is independently certified as sustainable. At the end of 2017, all of our farmed fish was certified against at least one of three globally recognised independent best aquaculture practice standards and 86% of our wild caught fish (by value) was MSC certified (with associated Chain of Custody). We continue to work towards 100% certification for our wild caught fish through active engagement in Fisheries Improvement Projects and dialogue with our supply base. We are also an active participant in the Global Dialogue for Seafood Traceability."

ALDI, Germany:

"ALDI North and ALDI SOUTH have already achieved some success to support the 2020 MSC goal. Since 2018, almost all products in our range of fresh/frozen core and seasonal fish and seafood in Germany are MSC certified.

In terms of global operations, 82% of ALDI SOUTH’s fish and seafood range has been sourced from responsibly managed fisheries and aquaculture in 2017. 55 % of the wild caught fish and seafood products are MSC certified.

Further information can be found in our International Corporate Responsibility Report 2017.
At ALDI North, roughly 40 % of the (globally) sourced fish and seafood products have been sustainably certified in 2017. The biggest proportion here was attributable to the MSC certification standard (around 66 %), followed by ASC certification (around 19 %), GLOBALG.A.P. certification (around 13 %) and products with the EU organic logo (around 4 %).

Further information can be found in our international Corporate Responsibility Report 2017."

Thai Union Group, Thailand:

"Since launching our Tuna Commitment, we have activated six tuna FIPs, including:
• Indian Ocean Tuna, Tropical Tuna, Purse Seine 
• Atlantic Ocean, Tropical Tuna, Purse Seine 
• Pacific Ocean, Tropical Tuna, Long Line

The progress of these FIPs can be tracked publicly on These FIPs are on a journey to ensuring that each fishery can maintain healthy stock levels for generations to come. Others will be added throughout 2018 as the action plans are agreed and finalised."

Fish Tales, Netherlands:

"FishTales connects consumers of fresh and conserved fish to sustainable fisheries, and to the daring fishermen who go out to sea for the best catches. FishTales is fully committed to helping to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 14 by having 95% of its entire wildcatch assortment MSC certified by 2020. FishTales currently has 90% of its SKU’s MSC certified (100% of retail products, 80% of Out of Home products)."

Jumbo, Netherlands:

Jumbo is the second largest supermarket organization in The Netherlands (590 stores, (per 19 September) 5 Food Markets, Online Store, more than 400 Pick up Points, 6 Jumbo City’s and home delivery). 

"As a family business, Jumbo believes it is important to consider the world around it. Our starting point is that products should be produced with attention to the wellbeing of humans, animals and the environment. Improvements should be feasible and affordable. Feasible for the producer and affordable for the customer. MSC and ASC certification can ensure this. In 2020, we aim to only sell seafood - fresh and processed - from a 100% traceable chain. Importantly, this assurance is provided by independent parties. Ecolabels such as MSC and ASC provide this assurance. 

For seafood species for which MSC or ASC certification is not available, we will participate in improvement programmes with the aim of achieving MSC or ASC certification within 5 years. Issues such as a living wage and animal welfare will of course also be taken into account. In addition, the supermarket chain is further improving its product information system, tracing products back to ship or pond level."

Aeon, Japan:

At present, products bearing the MSC/ASC label account for 14% of all seafood products sold at retailers within the AEON Group. Aeon is committed to increasing the percentage to 20% by 2020, starting with its seafood counters and then expanding into its delicatessen and grocery counters.

To this end, it is constantly introducing new MSC labelled products including rice balls and surimi. Aeon is also committed to conserving seafood resources and has launched a FIP in Indonesia to achieve MSC fisheries certification for fisheries catching juvenile eel.

Japanese Consumer’s Co-Operative Union, Japan:

In 2017, 17% of COOP’s private label seafood products (by value) were either MSC or ASC certified. COOP is committed to increasing the percentage to over 20% by 2020. In 2018, COOP provided financial support to Japanese fisheries entering MSC pre-assessment. COOP also launched a shrimp (black tiger) aquaculture improvement project on the island of Sulawesi in Indonesia aiming to get ASC certification.

Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), Western Central Pacific:

By 2020, the Parties to the Nauru Agreement (PNA), 8 small island nations whose waters produce close to 60% of all skipjack tuna catches in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) and who collectively control approximately 30% of the world's tuna supply, commits to: 

1. Ensure 100% of the drifting FADs within its ocean jurisdiction will be tracked and registered to strengthen the conservation and sustainable management of the ecosystem. 2018 progress update: Remains as an active ongoing pursuit and currently on target for 2020 aspirations of 100% tracking and monitoring of FADs. 

2.Two-thirds of the free school skipjack tuna catch in PNA waters, representing approximately 400,000 MT, to be MSC certified and Pacifical Co-branded; 2018 progress update: PNA maintains high free school targeting premised upon strategic incentives on limiting FAD sets and economic incentives eg MSC. Global demand for MSC Pacifical endorsed free school continues to grow despite competitive landscape. 

3. Through promoting the adoption of harvest control rules for WCPO skipjack in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC), the PNA aims to see that not more than 50% of the unfished skipjack population is harvested annually and by committing to enhance its management efficiency and transparency, will continue to maintain its status as one of the healthiest tuna stocks globally. 2018 progress update: PNA continues to maintain its positive leadership positioning in terms of healthy biomass for all four species of tuna being in the green. Primarily, a skipjack fishery is maintained at 50% despite growing pressure, concern and issues from other RFMOs around the world.

Carrefour, France:

"Carrefour’s aim is to become the world leader in the food transition for everyone and to offer to our customers qualitative, safe and accessible food everywhere, at a reasonable price. The transformation plan presented in January 2018 aims to reinforce Carrefour’s awareness and responsibility in our sourcing strategy. In this respect, Carrefour wants to offer the largest range of sustainable seafood on the market by 2022 and has set up the target to sell globally one fish out of two from sustainable sources by 2020. To fulfil this commitment, Carrefour is working with its suppliers to select fishes from healthy stocks, promote more selective catching methods, develop sustainable aquaculture by reducing antibiotics and using non GMO feed, and fighting illegal fishing. 

The MSC is one of the tools we use to achieve this target. Today already more than 75 Carrefour brand products are MSC certified through our different shelves. It is by working collectively with governments, fishermen, suppliers, retailers, consumers and NGOs, that we can achieve market transformation towards sustainability and ensure the access to marine diversity to all our clients."

Coles Supermarkets, Australia:

Coles recognises that well-managed and responsible fishing is essential for the future sustainability of our marine ecosystems. Different programs and certifications ensure potential impacts on marine health and the environment are carefully monitored. All Coles Brand seafood products have Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification or meet Coles Responsibly Sourced Seafood criteria. Coles has undertaken independent assessments of hundreds of wild and farmed seafood products to meet robust Coles Brand responsible sourcing requirements, and continues to review its program as fish stocks can fluctuate and the environment in which fisheries operate is complex and ever-changing. In September 2017, Coles was awarded Best Sustainable Seafood Supermarket in Australia by MSC. Coles will continue to work with organisations like the MSC, to give its customers confidence to help make a better choice for our oceans.

The Western Australia Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, in partnership with the Western Australian Fishing Industry Council (WAFIC) and with support from the State Government

...has embarked on a program which will provide the opportunity for all the State’s commercial fisheries to achieve MSC certification. The program is now in its fifth year of operation. All (47) of WA's commercial fisheries have been pre-assessed to the MSC standard. In addition to the eight fisheries that have been certified, two new fisheries have immediate plans to enter full assessment, and several conditions for improvement on existing certifications have now been closed.

Woolworths, Australia (NEW): 

"Woolworths Group is committed to the development and support of supply chains that reduce our impact on the planet. Our customers expect us to operate in a responsible manner by sourcing high-risk commodities from independently certified sources. Woolworths recognises our instrumental role in providing customers with an opportunity to make more informed choices when it comes to the seafood that they buy. By the year 2020, we commit to sourcing all of our fish and seafood from fisheries and farms that are third-party certified (e.g. MSC and ASC) or independently verified as environmentally responsible."

Lidl, Germany (NEW):

"At Lidl the principles of responsible fish and seafood sourcing are led from ensuring that the fish sold within our own product ranges are sourced from the healthiest stocks possible using the least destructive fishing methods possible, with high regard for both environmental and social standards. We have been working with the MSC for over 10 years on the sustainability of our wild-caught fish and have set ourselves ambitious targets. For instance, in key European markets like Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Netherlands and Belgium we have achieved 100% MSC certification for all our own brand fresh and frozen fish products which are permanently listed. We will continue to increase the amount of MSC certified products in all our markets until 2020 and beyond."

METRO (International Wholesale)

METRO aims to improve its sustainable fish and seafood assortment by continuously optimising the environmental and social aspects of fishing and aquaculture. METRO commits to have 80% of its twelve major fish and seafood species certified by 2020 according to e.g. MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) and ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) or any certification standard that has been recognised by the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). METRO seeks to also expand the sustainability of fish and aquaculture products by active involvement in international initiatives and activities dealing with protection of oceans, conservation of biodiversity, sustainable sourcing and enhancing seafood traceability like the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability. In June 2017, METRO has entered into a voluntary commitment regarding tuna traceability by signing the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration.

Source: Marine Stewardship Council

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