In 2015, all the UN member states adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to help bring the world together in a global partnership to work towards a better and more sustainable future for all.
The 17 SDGs include 169 targets that cover a wide range of issues, including poverty, inequality, and climate change. At ASC, our aim is to ensure the responsible treatment of the planet and the welfare of people directly or indirectly involved in aquaculture through our standards – so there is a clear alignment with the aims and objectives of the UN SDGs.
While not all of the SDG targets are relevant to the aquaculture industry, at ASC we are working to determine how many of them are within the scope of our work, and how we are currently contributing to them. This is part of ASC’s commitment to measuring our impact, and using that information to constantly improve the ASC programme.
With so many targets, this is a large mapping exercise, but we have already established that 93 of the targets are within the scope of ASC’s work.
It may be surprising that so many of the SDG targets are within the scope of an aquaculture certification scheme, but it’s worth remembering that a responsible aquaculture industry provides benefits beyond food security – it can also help contribute to reducing inequalities, improve clean waters, community development, poverty alleviation, conserve biodiversity on land and at sea while also providing economic growth.
This work is ongoing, and when it’s complete we will be publishing a detailed breakdown of ASC’s contribution to each relevant SDG target. We are also comparing this with the contribution of non-certified aquaculture, and the early results show that non-certified aquaculture cannot make, in the same way as ASC can, meaningful claims to be contributing towards the SDGs. This is for a number of reasons, particularly the lack of a guarantee of a responsible and sustainable production process.
The ongoing work has already made clear which SDGs ASC is contributing to in a strong way:
- SDG 2: Zero hunger
- SDG 6: Clean water and sanitation
- SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth
- SDG 10: Reduced inequalities
- SDG 12: Responsible consumption and production
- SDG 14: Life below water
- SDG 15: Life on land
- SDG 16: Peace, justice and strong institutions
- SDG17: Partnerships for the goals
Benchmarking our contribution tells us what the ASC programme does well, but more importantly it tells us if there is any potential to do more to help drive up standards in a way that aligns with the UN’s vital work on sustainable development.
In line with our commitment to transparency, the results of this benchmarking work will be made publicly available, so watch this space.