Department: Standards and Science Department
Team: Standards Team
Responsible to: Head of Standards Team
Years of relevant experience: >10 years
Contract: 1 FTE
Salary and benefits: Commensurate with experience
Location: Flexible, terms to be agreed
Deadline: September 11th 2020
ASC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation established in 2010 to set and operate global standards for responsible aquaculture. Certified farmed products are promoted to consumers through the use of its logo.
The aquaculture industry is growing strongly and is already supplying more than half of all seafood consumed worldwide, but this growing demand increases the environmental and social footprint associated with this expansion. The ASC certification and labelling programme incentivises improved farming practices by promoting the benefits of responsibly farmed seafood and encourages an industry towards achieving environmental sustainability and social responsibility.
We work with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public globally to promote the best environmental and social choice in farmed seafood. For more information go to www.asc-aqua.org.
The ASC is a growing organisation. We have around 70 people working from various countries, including the Netherlands, UK, Germany, Spain, Australia, Japan, China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, Brazil and the US. There are five functional Departments covering: Standards and Science, Programme Assurance, Market development, Marketing and Communication, Administration/Governance. We operate an office in Utrecht (NL) and in London (UK) for staff based in these countries.
The Standards and Science (SaS) Department is made up of three Teams: 1) Standards Team, 2) Research Team and 3) Impacts Team. Collectively, these teams cover work streams that deal with standard development and implementation, conducting research and assimilating farm performance data to serve multiple purposes both within and external to the organization. The Department currently (July, 2020) consists of 11 staff, each responsible for a number of specific projects as well operational workflows.
The first version of the ASC Feed Standard about to be released and prepared for implementation. This is a much-anticipated moment for the Department, as for the wider organization, as we are not only releasing a new standard, but also venturing into a new area (i.e. feed) of certification and associated assurances. During the implementation period, a range of activities is expected, such as: coordination of guidance document development, coordination of auditor training material development, support mills and ingredient suppliers, etc. The objective is that all certified farms (globally) will eventually use ASC Feed for their production.
The ASC Feed Standard sets requirements that apply to various parts of the feed supply chain; starting at feed mill level, into supply chain due diligence and finally containing specific requirements for marine and plant-based ingredients.
With the finalization of the ASC Feed Standard, ASC leads the global discussion regarding aquafeed sustainability into new, unventured, territory. Traditionally, a strong focus on marine ingredients has always dominated the debate regarding improving the sustainability of the aquaculture industry. However, with those (marine) ingredients representing around 10-15% of the total global aquafeed ingredient volume, questions regarding the impact of perceived “alternatives” can no longer be ignored. Most pressingly, ingredients originating from terrestrial agriculture – and the concerns of deforestation /land linked land conversation linked.
The ASC Feed Standard is the first in the global aquaculture industry to frontier this problem across all agriculture-based ingredients, and as such, seeks to establish a level playing field with regards tackling sustainability impacts across all ingredient types. An exciting, yet challenging, direction indeed!
Marine ingredients are not ignored either. For these ingredients, a unique improvement model has been developed that reconciles the differences in terms of regional sustainability profile of feed mills purchases and the challenges that global feed fisheries face in terms of sustainability performance. The step-wise improvement model sends crucial market incentives to improving fisheries whilst still requiring the overall feed mill’s marine ingredient sourcing profile to become more sustainable over time.
ASC has not developed this standard in isolation. A Steering Committee has been at the heart of the work, composed of 14 stakeholders ranging from feed mills to NGO’s. In addition, a wide network of affiliated organisations has been developed and has served as sound boards during the development process. The requirements set in the Standard reach beyond the feed mill itself, and have direct consequences for ingredient manufacturers, raw material producers and traders in the supply chain. It is therefore crucial that in the forthcoming period, engagement with these actors is solidified and that ample interaction is enabled to build momentum for uptake and support of the Standard.
Beyond the implementation of v1.0, efforts are needed to progress the discussion on agriculture-based ingredients and broaden the scope of issue areas to address. ASC views it as ‘industry-critical’ to advance the dialogue and engagement with a wide range of actors across the supply chains; including those outside the aquaculture-domain – after all, feed crops are grown for a multitude of farmers, of which aquaculture is merely a small one.
Role and responsibilities
The position will lead the coordination of activities that are required during the implementation process of the Standard, and beyond.
The implementation period will span the period between release of the Standard and first mills becoming certified and will require a problem-solving mentality in order to advance solutions on incoming questions and matters from the field. A range of documents are required (some of which are already under development) that will support both mills and auditors with the certification process. The position is expected to coordinate the development of these documents where appropriate, and to support document development outside the SaS-Department domain (mainly in collaboration with those responsible for Programme Assurance, MarComms and Market Development. The role is also expected to engage with the Impacts Team (within the SaS Department) to coordinate impact evaluation (both data and non-data driven). As mentioned earlier, engagement with actors across the supply chain will be crucial, also during this implementation period.
Beyond the implementation period, the role is expected to coordinate a stakeholder dialogue in order to advance the discussion regarding sustainability criteria for agriculture-based ingredients. This needs to be done in adherence to the ASC Standard Setting Protocol and the ISEAL Code for Standard Setting. Stakeholder engagement, consensus seeking and a drive to progress solution-thinking amidst industry reality-challenges will be needed.
Additionally, further work will be undertaken to advance the uptake of the standard (with possible modifications) for feed mill production destined for other terrestrial animal production. It is expected that the role will take a leading role in, or development of, global discussions regarding feed ingredient sustainability, both within the aquaculture feed industry and the global livestock feed industry. Through the work leading up to the first version, ASC has formed a number of technical partnerships with relevant organizations and seeks to deepen these and expand to additional ones.
Main tasks include:
- Lead the overall coordination of the implementation period of the ASC Feed Standard, including:
- Coordination of development of Implementation Guidance;
- Contributing to the development of assurance documents needed for the audit process;
- Coordination of development of training material, both for feed mills and for auditors;
- Contributing to the development of technical communication documents to service stakeholder’s engagement;
- Resolving incoming questions regarding the Standard.
- Deepen existing (technical) relationships relevant for the Feed Standard uptake, and develop tactics to expand the network in coordination with Markets Development staff with the ultimate aim to create wide understanding, support and uptake of the Standard within the industry and related stakeholders;
- Lead the overall coordination of a multi-stakeholder platform to continue the discussion regarding agriculture-based ingredients and their sustainability challenges;
- Maintaining the Feed Standard Issue Log – a document that lists items of improvement for future versions;
- Engage with the ASC Technical Advisory Group as and when needed;
- Engage with colleagues and keep them informed where needed;
- Contribute to needs from colleagues where needed;
- Good understanding of issues in overall seafood sustainability and the role of (feed mill) certification in it;
- Affinity and relevant experience in the domains of:
- Feed manufacturing
- Feed mill certification
- Feed supply chain management/due diligence
- Commodity traceability challenges
- Marine ingredients sustainability challenges
- Agriculture-based ingredients sustainability challenges;
- Proven consensus-seeking stakeholder engagement;
- Proven project coordination experience;
- A personality that can:
- work independently, objectively, systematically whilst remaining pragmatic;
- act proactively to solve problem and achieve results,
- operates with diplomacy and the ability to garner support and cooperation both within the organization and with stakeholders;
- Able to travel regularly;
- Fluent in spoken and written English;
- Excellent presentation, communication and reporting skills;
- And not unimportant …. be an enthusiastic, positive and fun colleague to work with!