The Sustainable Seafood Coalition unites retailers, food service companies and seafood suppliers to work toward making sure all seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources. The coalition has developed voluntary codes of conduct for its members that address diversification of sources, responsible sourcing, information gathering, clear labeling and other issues.
SSC members topped Greenpeace’s 2015 ranking of major UK supermarkets and brands on tuna sustainability measures.
“There’s a good financial and economic rationale for taking the approach we have, with security as a major issue,” said Ally Dingwall, a 2016 SeaWeb Seafood Champion and the aquaculture and fisheries manager at Sainsbury’s, an SSC member.
“If we want fish to sell in the future, we need to invest in that now. We need to make sure we’re working together to deliver sustainability for fish stocks and in aquaculture cultivation. It’s unlikely that you’re going to deliver this sort of fundamental change on the water by yourself, so collaboration is the key.”
“I don’t mean to imply that pre-competitive collaborations are easy. As SSC Coordinator Katie Miller acknowledges, “Working together with your competitors potentially is quite challenging. One of the key things we learned at the Sustainable Seafood Coalition is that it takes a lot of time. If you’re working with competitors, you’re going to need to build trust before you can make a difference.”
The effort is worth it, though. Seafood’s supply chain issues are pressing, and pre-competitive strategies are often the most cost-effective and efficient way for businesses to assure that they can continue to get the seafood they need while meeting environmental and social responsibility commitments.