RISE to the Challenge Roadmap Promotes Decent Work for All Seafood Workers

Santa Cruz, California – FishWise, a non-profit sustainable seafood consultancy, released an enhanced Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE) today, an exciting stride toward socially responsible seafood. 

Labor issues are a significant and growing concern for the seafood sector, and protecting workers is essential for maintaining public trust and resiliency in supply chains. Overlooking human rights impacts in supply chains can create devastating consequences for the workers impacted and the businesses’ value and viability.

The RISE website (RiseSeafood.org) offers businesses a free one-stop-shop to: 

1) learn about human rights risks; 

2) find easy-to-use guidance tailored to their operations; 

3) and identify organizations that can support them in their journey.

“The seafood industry stands at an inflection point, with social responsibility becoming a business imperative,” said Lori Bishop, Social Responsibility Division Director at FishWise. “Businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights, and RISE provides clear pathways to protect workers and lead positive change.”

RISE was created two years ago by FishWise to help the seafood industry build robust social responsibility programs and develop decent work opportunities across the sector. Since then, the Roadmap has supported retailers, suppliers, producers, and the non-profits that guide them. “RISE covers a wide range of recommended actions, which was exactly what we needed when developing the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration Social Responsibility Toolkit. Going beyond commitments, companies now have the guidance they need to improve business operations, implement worker-centered solutions, and build responsible tuna supply chains,” said Tom Pickerell, Executive Director of the Global Tuna Alliance.

“As an employee-owned company, care and compassion for those who produce products for Hy-Vee are essential to our business strategy. RISE gives clear guidance for this, providing the foundation for our due diligence efforts going forward. RISE also serves as an important resource to guide our suppliers – so we all remain the best partners we can be within the food chain,” said Jason Pride, Vice President of Meat and Seafood, Hy-Vee, Inc.

Labor rights and associated social issues are also a priority for non-governmental organizations (NGOs) working with industry to improve responsible sourcing practices. “In working with one of our longest-standing global partners to update their sustainability standard, we used RISE as a resource to build new, social responsibility components being rolled out within the company and to suppliers. The RISE tool offers helpful guidance for companies looking to better integrate social responsibility into their seafood sustainability work,” said Dave Martin, Deputy Division Director, Programs at Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.

Notably, the Roadmap also outlines three ‘Foundations’ (Responsible Recruitment, Worker Engagement, and Decent Work at Sea) – three core issues that all seafood companies have a responsibility to investigate and address to protect rights, mitigate risk, improve conditions, and empower seafood workers. 

“Meaningful worker engagement and continuous improvement throughout business operations help create access to decent work – and a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The RISE Foundations are opportunities for real expression of fundamental labor rights and each one is essential to the development of ethical and resilient seafood supply chains,” said Aidan McQuade, Former Director of Anti-Slavery International and RISE consultant.

As seafood companies of all sizes work to raise the bar on social responsibility, RISE offers clear actionable guidance and features a new suite of user-friendly features. Upgrades include:

  • Interactive learning resources 
  • A self-assessment tool 
  • Language translations 
  • Global site search 
  • Resource library
  • Stronger alignment with United Nations Guiding Principles, Sustainable Development Goals, and International Labour Organization conventions 

“Human Rights at Sea continues to support the development of the RISE platform. We note its increasing functionality as a hub for key information, enabling clearer understanding of headline topics supporting welfare, worker voice, and social justice improvements within global fisheries supply chains as set against international legal standards,” said David Hammond, CEO, Human Rights at Sea.

FishWise developed RISE with grant funding support from Walmart Foundation, which focuses on strengthening worker dignity for people in supply chains by promoting the responsible recruitment of workers and fair and responsible labor practices. 

“Enhancing the RISE platform and resources for greater clarity, efficiency, and accessibility comes at a critical moment for the seafood industry to advance actions towards social responsibility and improve conditions for seafood workers,” said Rebecca Westover, Senior Manager, Walmart Foundation. “We are encouraged by FishWise’s efforts to enhance RISE to better meet the needs of seafood stakeholders and drive system change in the seafood supply chain.”

With RISE, companies can build proactive and resilient supply chains equipped to uphold decent work in seafood – ultimately resulting in strong brand integrity and consumer trust. 

Visit RISEseafood.org to learn more.

FishWise is a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy based in Santa Cruz, CA, that takes a holistic approach to sustainability and aims to transform how the global seafood industry does business in order to protect ocean health and workers’ rights. Offering expertise that is trusted by human rights and conservation organizations, seafood buyers and suppliers, and government representatives, FishWise offers a range of services that empower businesses and a diverse community of collaborators to lead the transition to a sustainable, ethically responsible seafood industry. For more information, please visit www.FishWise.org, and follow FishWise’s work on InstagramFacebookLinkedIn, and Twitter.