In a world first for responsible and sustainable seafood, Korean consumers can now buy ASC-MSC certified seaweed products in stores and online – finally giving conscientious consumers an option to reward responsible producers of this hugely popular and important food.
The Gijang products are the first in the world to be labelled as certified against the ASC-MSC Seaweed Standard, which can only be achieved by sustainable producers that are minimising their environmental and social impacts.
“We have a few certified seaweed producers now but seeing the label on products in store is a really exciting moment, because it means that consumers can now play their vital role in rewarding responsible and sustainable production,” said Patricia Bianchi, Seaweed Account Manager for both MSC and ASC. “By looking for the ASC and MSC logo, seaweed lovers are helping to incentivise more producers to demonstrate their commitment to environmental sustainability and social responsibility – it’s a really easy way to make a difference.”
“Gijang Sustainable Seaweed Network has worked to achieve ASC-MSC Seweed certification to demonstrate our commitment in improving products quality, protecting the environment and fulfilling our social responsibilities for sustainable cultivation of seaweed,” said MinSu Kim, CEO of GIJANG MULSAN CO., LTD.
The two products are Gijang Salted Seaweed and Gijang Dried Seaweed, and they are being sold in Lotte Mart, Homeplus, and online stores. They are Wakame seaweed (Undaria Pinnatifida) farmed in Korea by Gijang Sustainable Seaweed Network, which achieved ASC-MSC certification late in 2019.
Seaweed is one of the most exciting products in the world at the moment, despite being enjoyed for thousands of years already, and is hailed for its remarkable properties and potential health benefits. The growing demand and production of both macro and micro algae, for food as well as a myriad of other applications such as fuel, was a reason for ASC and MSC developing their first ever joint standard to ensure the sustainable and responsible production of seaweed and algae.
Although seaweed and algae can have positive environmental benefits, if they are not harvested or farmed responsibly, this can still have negative consequences on ecosystems and biodiversity. The ASC-MSC standard requires that producers demonstrate that they are well-managed, maintain the integrity and diversity of the local ecosystem, preserve natural habitats and manage waste, pollution, disease, pests, efficient use of energy, among other social and environmental criteria. They must also demonstrate they are operated in a socially responsible manner, treating and paying workers fairly and being conscientious neighbours, and must be effectively managed.
The ASC-MSC Seaweed (Algae) Standard applies globally to all locations and scales of seaweed production, including both harvesting of wild population and cultivation of macro and micro algae. It uses MSC’s experience and knowledge of sustainable wild capture and ASC’s experience and knowledge of responsible farming.
The ASC-MSC Seaweed Program is independent, impartial, scientifically rigorous and stakeholder inclusive. Certification is done by third-party conformity assessment bodies that are independent, unbiased and offer the highest level of assurance that standards are being adhered to.