Author Archives: Michael Haines

Guest post: The Happy Prawn Co. on trust, traceability and transparency

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Members of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition have a shared commitment to environmentally responsible sourcing and labelling. However, their businesses are all very different, and the ways that they approach the sustainable seafood landscape can vary.

This blog is the first in a series where we’ll be handing the reins over to our members, who will explain their experiences of the coalition in their own words. The series will explore their motivations for joining the SSC, their experiences of implementing the Codes of Conduct and information on projects or initiatives which support them in their pursuit of progress on seafood sustainability. In this blog, Aanisah Idriss shows how The Happy Prawn Co. lives the SSC values of trust, traceability and transparency.

What motivated The Happy Prawn Co. to join the Sustainable Seafood Coalition?

The Sustainable Seafood Coalition is a partnership of UK businesses that shares the same vision: that all fish and seafood sold in the UK comes from sustainable sources.

Although this vision is what ultimately motivated us at The Happy Prawn Co. to join the coalition, the SSC also seeks to promote and uphold the values we believe in too! These are trust, traceability, and transparency.

Our farmers ready to plant mangroves around our ponds

Trust is the heart of The Happy Prawn Co. and likewise the SSC. All members are trusted to uphold the Codes of Conduct which aim to promote responsible seafood production. SSC members either source or produce their products from various parts of the world. So should a consumer purchase one of the listed members products, they can trust that they are contributing towards healthier seas,  not only in the UK but also worldwide.

Following on from trust is traceability. We at The Happy Prawn Co. believe that our customers should know what they are eating! This means that we track each step of our production processes, right from the sea (or farms) to the end customer. So, if there is an issue with any of our products, we can trace it all the way back and identify the cause of the issue. So, by having traceability methods in place, you can trust what you are eating.

Lastly, transparency. We at The Happy Prawn Co. have nothing to hide and firmly believe in being open with our customers. The SSC promotes this too; a commitment to transparency is part of the coalition’s Codes of Conduct. Transparency allows our customers to feel connected to our brand, our mission and our vision. We believe that being transparent not only promotes connectivity but also raises awareness amongst consumers and makes you involved in promoting healthier seas too!

So, those are the reasons why The Happy Prawn Co. has joined the SSC. The SSC promotes a conscious and responsible way of doing business in the seafood industry, and that’s food for thought for next time you’re thinking about buying seafood.

Our happy farmers at a monthly meeting

Iceland Foods Ltd

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“At Iceland we believe that we have a responsibility to preserve our planet for future generations, and have developed our Responsible Sourcing policy for Iceland Own Brand fish and seafood to reflect this.”

Iceland Foods Ltd joined in September 2017

“We joined the SSC as we share the visions and aims of the coalition and want to continue to offer our customers “food you can trust”.”

More about Iceland Foods Ltd

Iceland Foods Limited is the UK’s leading specialist retailer of frozen food. Iceland was established in 1970 and now operates more than 880 stores in the UK, trading as Iceland or The Food Warehouse. Iceland has always been a responsible retailer, committed to providing safe, quality and ethically sourced food.

For more information visit our responsible sourcing page.

 

World Wise Foods

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“Sustainable and ethical sourcing is at the heart of our business… We are keen to support this group and work with other like-minded members.”

World Wise Foods joined in July 2017

“Sustainable and ethical sourcing is at the heart of our business. The fish we supply is always responsibly sourced and wherever possible MSC certified. We pride ourselves in only selling pole & line, one by one caught tuna.”

More about the World Wise Foods Group

The World Wise Foods Group now includes two companies that are committed to sourcing fish responsibly; World Wise Foods & American Tuna Inc.

We build partnerships with suppliers and organisations with commitment to similar values and objectives, and are proactive in supporting development of sustainable systems.

Our sourcing practice is very much aligned with the SSC’s Code of Conduct. We are keen to support this group and work with other like-minded members.”

Find out more on the World Wise Foods website and the American Tuna brand website.

Compass Group UK & Ireland

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“We recognise that cross industry collaboration is essential for the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.”

Compass Group UK & Ireland joined in June 2021

“We understand that our business is part of a larger system: we rely on a thriving supply chain to help us deliver the high-quality ingredients and goods that our clients and customers expect. Protecting the ocean is essential for this – we continue to promote sustainable and responsibly sourced seafood and have a number of restaurants certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council. We are aligned with the goals of the SSC and recognise that cross industry collaboration is essential for the preservation of our planet’s natural resources.”

More about Compass Group UK & Ireland

“As the leading food and support services provider in the UK and Ireland, we have a responsibility to use our buying power as a force for good. We work behind the scenes at sports & leisure events and in the heart of schools, universities, hospitals, care homes, corporate offices and boardrooms – some 6000+ locations across the UK and Ireland.”

Find out more on their website

Man walking through a fish market

97% of voluntary claims made by SSC members are clear, consistent and in line with voluntary codes

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The first comprehensive study of the implementation of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition’s codes of conduct shows the positive impact of the codes since they were agreed on two years ago.

The vast majority of products in supermarkets are now responsibly sourced and labelled consistently, in line with our voluntary codes. Clear and consistent labelling has increased by 15% since the SSC was founded in 2011.

The SSC has 24 members across all sectors of the UK seafood supply chain and account for 75% of fish and seafood sold in UK supermarkets. The codes of conduct were developed and agreed by all the members, and this study represents the first assessment of the implementation of these codes so far.

ClientEarth Sustainable Seafood Project Lead Katie Miller said: “As more and more shops label and source seafood using the same criteria, customers can have faith that the products they buy are truly sustainable. Now other seafood businesses – from chip shops to restaurant chains and school canteens – must step up to make sure the fish they sell is responsibly sourced and clearly labelled.”

Key findings of the study show that of a total of 80 products assessed:

  • 97% of voluntary environmental claims from SSC members used clear and consistent language in line with the requirements of the SSC Labelling Code.
  • 97% of products from SSC members meet the transparency, traceability and risk assessment requirements of the SSC Sourcing Code.
  • Whilst 3% of claims from SSC members did not align with the criteria in the labelling code, this compares to 14% of claims made by other businesses that are not following this best practice.

Inconsistent labelling and sourcing claims by UK supermarkets was identified as a problem in a 2011 study which found that terms like ‘sustainable sourced’ and ‘responsibly farmed’ were being used with no set criteria against which to make the claim.

By creating a benchmark for minimum good practice on environmental sustainability, the SSC Codes of Conduct create consistency in the actions businesses take to source more responsibly, and the words they use to communicate it.

This report shows that SSC members take their commitments seriously. By creating a benchmark for all businesses to meet, seafood is beginning to be sourced more responsibly. We invite all other businesses that sell seafood in the UK to join the SSC.

Read the implementation report

 

Image: Ted McGrath

pelican flying over ocean

A new website for the SSC – dive in!

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The Sustainable Seafood Coalition is pleased to launch our new website! While giving it a streamlined look, we made sure the essentials are there for anyone interested in our collaborative approach to seafood sustainability.

You can access the SSC codes of conduct, setting minimum standards for responsible seafood sourcing and harmonised labelling. You can find out about our member businesses, or look at our terms of reference to explore membership requirements. You can also hear our members explain why the SSC matters to them, in our brand new video.

We hope you will find the website useful – feel free to send any feedback to ssc@clientearth.org.

 

Photo: Chris Bartnik Photography
fish and chips

The National Fish and Chip Awards

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The UK’s national fish and chip awards ceremony will be taking place in London on Wednesday, 20 January. The awards, organised by Seafish, seek to reward excellence in a range of categories. The judges use criteria ranging from responsible sourcing practices, customer service, hygiene and staff training, and the quality of fish and chips.

There are two award categories that specifically reward the knowledge and promotion of responsible sourcing and sustainability practices: ‘From Field to Frier’ and the ‘Good Catch – The Sustainable Seafood Award’.
Other categories are:

  • Independent Takeaway Fish and Chip Shop of the Year
  • Independent Fish and Chip Restaurant of the Year
  • Best Mobile Fish and Chip Operator
  • Best Foodservice Operator Award
  • Best Multiple Fish and Chip Operator
  • Best Newcomer
  • Staff Training and Development
  • Drywite Young Fish Frier of the Year
  • Marketing Innovation
  • The Great ‘Fish & Chip’ School Lunch
  • Healthy Eating ‘Fish and Chips’
  • NFFF Quality Award Champion

Find out more about the past winners.

Image: Wikipedia
european commission

In support of setting fishing opportunities at sustainable levels

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On 17 September 2015 we sent a letter to the European Commission in support of setting fishing opportunities for 2016 at sustainable levels, as legally required under the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP).

Under the CFP, the legally mandated objective for fisheries management is to manage stocks sustainably, meaning the impact of fishing will allow stocks to recover and be maintained above levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield (MSY). This is crucial for our purposes. In particular, we support that:

  • fisheries management must aim to recover or maintain stocks to biomass levels above that which would produce MSY;
  • your proposal for next year’s fishing opportunities should adopt the appropriate MSY-based fishing mortality rates, where it is possible to do so, as required by the CFP; and
  • in mixed fisheries it must be ensured that all stocks are managed according to the MSY objective, meaning some stocks may need to be underexploited to avoid overexploitation of other stocks.

For the sake of our businesses and as part of our commitment to responsible seafood sourcing, we encourage the Commission to propose Total Allowable Catches in line with the CFP’s requirement to achieve MSY exploitation rates for as many stocks as possible in 2016. For stocks where this is not possible, the Commission should show how this will be reached incrementally and progressively by 2020.

On behalf of the following members:

  • British Retail Consortium (BRC)
  • ClientEarth
  • Direct Seafoods
  • Harbour Lights
  • Icelandic Seachill
  • M&J Seafood
  • Marks and Spencer
  • Morrisons
  • New England Seafood
  • River Cottage
  • Sainsbury’s
  • Sustainable Restaurant Association
  • The Co-operative Food
  • Waitrose
  • Young’s Seafood

 

Image: GlynLowe