The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) furthering their collaboration and commitment to find additional efficiencies and added value for partners handling both ASC and MSC certified products.
Rupert Howes, CEO of the MSC said: “The MSC and ASC share a common heritage and vision that global seafood supplies should be sustainable, responsibly managed and supported by secure supply chains. Cooperation between our organisations will bring greater operational efficiencies and adds value to our partners.”
While the organisations operate in different seafood sectors, they have the same theory of change, seeking to recognise and reward existing best practice and to incentivise improvements by recognising fisheries and farms that meet their standards as assessed by third party independent audits. Furthermore they share a vision that standard systems should conform to international norms and codes of good conduct, including FAO Guidelines for ecolabelling and ISEAL Codes.
Key to delivering on this intention is the continued, long-term collaboration on the use of the MSC’s Chain of Custody Standard and the complementary approach both organisations take in administering their respective logos. ASC and MSC shall also collaborate in projects which seek to investigate and ensure supply chain integrity, such as product trace-backs and genetic testing.
“Through collaboration we can achieve our mutual goals more effectively,” ASC’s CEO, Chris Ninnes said. “By sharing a Chain of Custody process we benefit the entire value chain, which enables the continued development of an industry that contributes to food security and supports local communities without compromising environmental integrity.”
The MOU extends cooperation between the organisations to include collaboration on new standard development, particularly for producers straddling the wild-enhanced-aquaculture boundary, such as seaweed. MSC will also provide support to ASC in delivering regional outreach to shared commercial and supply chain partners and through joint market-based activities.
The organisations continue to remain independent legal entities with their own Boards of Trustees and governance structures. They also have distinct remits with ASC focusing on aquaculture and MSC setting standards for wild-capture fisheries.
This MOU is effective as of January 1st 2015. It is anticipated that this MOU will remain in force in perpetuity, subject to periodic review as requested by either party.