The ASC’s theory of change aims to use market forces, generating demand for responsibly produced seafood, rewarding responsible producers and incentivising more farms to work towards the ASC’s robust standards.
Generating demand of course requires enough supply to meet it, and a recent workshop in Thailand aimed to bring these complementary sides of the ASC’s programme together, allowing retailers and producers to mutually inform and learn from each other.
The four-day workshop in Bangkok was organised by the ASC in collaboration with WWF Thailand and the Thai Frozen Foods Association (TFFA). It was an unprecedented opportunity for retailers in Japan— including retail giant AEON— to communicate their need for responsibly sourced ASC-certified products directly to potential producers. The workshop therefore benefited both groups by helping retailers find new responsible producer partners and informing producers of potentially lucrative new markets.
Collaboration is one of the fundamental principles of the ASC programme and this was a truly collaborative event. Attendees including representatives from producers, auditors, government departments, and academia. Producers were also given practical and bespoke advice on the process of gaining ASC certification.
The ASC’s General Manager Japan, Koji Yamamoto, was also in attendance to share lessons from that market and to speak about how the ASC is helping AEON to reach some of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Japan is a big importer of Thai shrimp, so the workshop was an ideal opportunity for farmers to learn about the latest developments in this important market.
The workshop also included presentations on the international demands for ASC-certified shrimp in other regions including the US, Europe and Singapore. Lessons from producers in other countries including Vietnam, Indonesia and India were also featured.
The ASC works with both retailers and producers, along with many more stakeholders, to increase demand and supply for responsible seafood. But for the ASC’s theory of change to be as effective as possible, there must be a strong link between all partners. This workshop was an opportunity to forge and strengthen these links in a mutually beneficial way.
Companies attending the workshop also benefited from the opportunity for one-to-one discussions with ASC and WWF Thailand to receive bespoke guidance and advice. In the coming months, the ASC’s Commercial Team will be following up with several farms who have expressed in interest in the programme.
The benefits of ASC certification extend from producers to retailers to consumers, but for a programme like ours to work as well as it can, collaboration between all of those stakeholders, other organisations such as WWF Thailand and the TFFA, and many more, is essential. By bringing some of these different groups together to learn from each other about the benefits and practical realities of ASC certification, workshops like this are an example of this collaboration in action.