PARIS, 1 July 2020 – Marking a significant milestone in a two-year partnership, The Consumer Goods Forum’s (CGF) Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) are pleased to launch a public consultation on their jointly developed social compliance criteria under the At-Sea Operations scope of the SSCI benchmark. The criteria, developed by industry leaders, experts and stakeholders from the SSCI and the GSSI, cover social and scheme management requirements specifically for third-party social compliance schemes evaluating At-Sea Operations in the seafood sector.
The SSCI and the GSSI welcome comments from the public as part of their commitment to engaging multiple stakeholders, upholding transparency and building trust in certification standards. All stakeholders are invited to partake in the consultation until 31 August 2020 on the SSCI website where they can view benchmarking documents and leave comments. Feedback can also be emailed to email@example.com.
This milestone comes at a critical moment, as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has clearly put a light on the various social sustainability risks that exist within the complex global supply chains. The seafood industry is particularly concerning: as one of the largest sectors in the world, employing 260 million people, and with existing concerns ranging from operational health and safety to forced labour, it was already one of the most at-risk industries from a sustainability perspective prior to the COVID-19 outbreak. The pandemic has the potential to make the situation worse for those already vulnerable to poor working conditions; in the seafood industry, these workers are the ones not only in direct employment but also in less visible levels of the supply chain—especially those employed in the informal economy and migrant workers—where the social safety net may be lacking or altogether absent.
As the COVID-19 continues to spread and impact the world, the SSCI and the GSSI’s shared concern for social sustainability in the seafood industry continues to grow as well. With the effects of the pandemic threatening the income security, working conditions and personal health of these already vulnerable individuals, now is a critical time to act. In a pandemic, a sustainable seafood industry—one that protects natural spaces, reducing the risk of further outbreaks, and keeps working environments clean and healthy—is essential for slowing the spread of disease, speeding up recovery, and building back stronger.
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The Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI), a CEO-led Coalition of Action from The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF), is committed to building trust by offering clear guidance on which third-party social compliance audit schemes and programmes are credible, trustworthy and meet industry expectations for sustainability. Its benchmarking scope currently covers the Manufacturing & Processing sector and will soon cover Primary Production and, with the GSSI, the Seafood sector. The Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) is a global public-private partnership that helps ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of certified sustainable seafood, as well as promote the improvement of seafood certification schemes, through its GSSI Global Benchmark Tool, which benchmarks seafood certification schemes against environmental sustainability criteria.
The SSCI and the GSSI started working together in 2018 to help build trust in sustainability standards for the seafood industry worldwide by bringing together the SSCI’s social compliance background and the GSSI’s expertise working with environmental auditing schemes in the seafood sector. Both initiatives offer benchmark tools with the same value proposition of providing the industry with access to a list of credible auditing and certification programmes. Their collaboration is supported by the IDH, The Sustainable Trade Initiative.
The Consumer Goods Forum (“CGF”) is a global, parity-based industry network that is driven by its members to encourage the global adoption of practices and standards that serves the consumer goods industry worldwide. It brings together the CEOs and senior management of some 400 retailers, manufacturers, service providers, and other stakeholders across 70 countries, and it reflects the diversity of the industry in geography, size, product category and format. Its member companies have combined sales of EUR 3.5 trillion and directly employ nearly 10 million people, with a further 90 million related jobs estimated along the value chain. It is governed by its Board of Directors, which comprises more than 50 manufacturer and retailer CEOs. For more information, please visit: www.theconsumergoodsforum.com.
For further information, please contact:
Thomas van Haaren
Senior Manager, SSCI
The Consumer Goods Forum
The Consumer Goods Forum
Eva van Heukelom
Technical Manager, GSSI