PARIS, 10th May 2021 – The Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Sustainable Supply Chain Initiative (SSCI) has today opened its social benchmark to the fishing, agriculture and land-based aquaculture sectors with the launch of benchmark requirements for its new At-Sea Operations and Primary Production scopes. The benchmark requirements, which include Social and Scheme Management Criteria, have been developed in close collaboration with the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI), bringing together the SSCI’s experience in supply chain social compliance and the GSSI’s expertise in the seafood sector, with support from IDH, the Sustainable Trade Initiative. 

With the launch of the new benchmark requirements for At-Sea Operations and Primary Production, the SSCI is pleased to welcome third-party social compliance auditing, monitoring and certification schemes covering activities in these two sectors to apply for SSCI benchmarking. This launch opens up the scope of SSCI benchmarking, which has so far been open only to schemes covering Manufacturing and Processing activities, to help ensure harmonisation across a wide range of consumer goods sectors.

With SSCI recognition, schemes demonstrate their ability to meet the industry’s expectations for sustainability, help drive alignment among different sustainability standards, and work to raise the bar across the industry. Companies can be assured that SSCI-recognised schemes cover key sustainability requirements and apply relevant governance and verification methods, meeting our industry’s expectations for sustainability.

To develop the new At-Sea Operations and Primary Production benchmark requirements, the SSCI and GSSI collaborated over a 12-month period. The collaboration used the initial criteria for the SSCI Processing and Manufacturing scope, which opened for applications in May 2020, and adapted them to meet sectoral-specific needs for the two new scopes. The criteria was developed through the collaboration of the joint SSCI-GSSI At-Sea Operations Technical Working Group, the Primary Production Technical Working Group, and the Aquaculture Expert Review Panel, consisting of SSCI members, GSSI partners, and other experts. The SSCI and GSSI also held three public key consultations to ensure stakeholder involvement and transparency with organisations, schemes, and members.

SSCI benchmarking is now open to third-party social compliance auditing, monitoring and certification programmes under the SSCI’s three sectoral scopes – Processing and Manufacturing, At-Sea Operations and Primary Production. In order to achieve SSCI Recognition, all SSCI criteria must be met through the SSCI benchmark process. 

Information about applying for SSCI benchmarking, as well as the benchmark criteria for each scope, is available here.

Wai-Chan Chan, Managing Director, CGF said, “The launch of these two new SSCI scopes is reassuring news in an unpredictable time. As Covid-19 continues to disrupt global supply chains, inadvertently creating modern forms of forced labour, social audits are an important tool to help companies ensure their supply chains continue to respect and protect workers’ rights. By achieving SSCI recognition, schemes help send a clear message about what the industry expects for sustainability.”

Simon Roberts, CEO, Sainsbury’s, and SSCI Co-sponsor, said, “The SSCI is critical to our work in ensuring that the sustainability programmes we use to deliver the assessments at a level that we expect. Given the complexity of the marketplace on these critical topics, the SSCI provides us with clear, concise guidance on which standards we can consider effective. It is an incredibly simple and powerful tool that leverages the resources of our industry to create the outcomes we want to see in our supply chain.”

Richard Smucker, Executive Chairman, The J.M. Smucker Company, and SSCI Co-sponsor said, “The launch of these two new SSCI scopes reflects the dedicated efforts, insights, and resources of the SSCI Coalition members to enhance the credibility of third-party standards.  As our industry faces new challenges, we expect these criteria to evolve over time and we encourage more of our industry colleagues to get involved with the important work of the SSCI.”

Herman Wisse, Executive Director, GSSI, said, The launch of the SSCI Benchmarking scopes for At-Sea Operations and Primary Production is a landmark achievement and will provide an essential tool to help respect and protect workers’ rights in the seafood industry. It is the first time that stakeholders have agreed on a global reference for third-party social audit programmes for At-Sea Operations, and a great example of how the GSSI-SSCI collaboration helped get one step closer to our common vision of more sustainable seafood for everyone.”

Note to Editors: The SSCI was developed by the CGF Board of Directors in 2017 with a mission to help build trust in sustainability standards worldwide and assist companies and organisations in their supply chain due diligence by working to drive alignment among sustainability standards verified by third-party auditing, monitoring and certification schemes. In alignment with the CGF’s global strategy, the SSCI became one of the CGF’s eight Coalitions of Action and now consists of 20 CGF members from across the global consumer goods industry. The SSCI is Co-sponsored at the CGF Board level by Simon Roberts, CEO of Sainsbury’s, and Richard Smucker, Executive Chairman of The J. M. Smucker Company. It is co-chaired by Hugo Byrnes, Vice President of Product Integrity of Ahold Delhaize, and Vineet Khanna, Vice President of Supply Chain of Nestlé.


About the SSCI and the GSSI

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 auditing, certification and monitoring programmes are credible, trustworthy and meet industry expectations for sustainability. It currently operates a social compliance benchmark for three sectors and will soon develop an environmental compliance benchmark as well. 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.

About The Consumer Goods Forum

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:

For further information, please contact:

Thomas van Haaren
Senior Manager, SSCI
The Consumer Goods Forum

Madelaine VanDerHeyden
Communications Officer
The Consumer Goods Forum

Eva van Heukelom
Technical Manager, GSSI

Olivier Herspberger
Communications, GSSI