SODEXO AND Sainsbury’s are among the companies involved in a new project to develop a level playing field for seafood certification schemes.
The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) will attempt to produce a harmonised assessment scale for sustainable fish purchasing which allows the numerous certification schemes on the market to be compared.
The GSSI could also reduce duplication and cut costs.
A statement on the groups’ formation this year reads: “International experts representing the private and public sectors, as well as from NGOs and academia, have agreed to work together over the next three years to enable GSSI to deliver a comprehensive, consistent, transparent and globally accepted benchmarking approach that will advise the buyers and suppliers on programmes that they can be confident verify sustainable sources.”
Kevern Cochrane of Rhodes University, South Africa, who will serve as independent chair for GSSI said it is “an exciting and powerful” initiative.
“[GSSI] can ensure that consumers are able to buy affordable products with confidence, knowing that they are playing their role in helping to ensure sustainable seafood production.”
Calls for a review of the schemes available have been growing.
The Marine Stewardship Council, which runs the MSC certification scheme, welcomed initial proposals to set up the GSSI last year. A statement on its website read:
“With the growing number of certification programmes as well as other forms of sustainability assurance programmes operating in many markets around the world, there is an indisputable need for truly independent review and ranking of the services and claims being made by the various programmes, as well as a mechanism to ensure quality control among the programmes.”
MSC also called for a graduated system of evaluation. “We believe that whatever system the GSSI ultimately establishes, it must have a floor of minimum acceptable performance, and a graduated system to evaluate performance above that level.”
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