Sponsor content from The Marine Stewardship Council

Top seafood brands to tackle UN sustainability goals

Nomad Foods, GlobeScan and the MSC are hosting a high-level discussion about the Life Below Water sustainability objective. McDonalds and Thai Union are poised to weigh in and you can too. Here’s how.

Sponsor content from The Marine Stewardship Council
Written by
NHST Global Publications
November 08, 2018

Our oceans are under significant threat.

Degradation from overfishing, pollution and climate change is a threat to food security, livelihoods and biodiversity.

Some choose to ignore all this doom and gloom. For others, it’s cause for paralyzing concern. But, for a committed few, it’s a rallying cry for greater action.

SDG 14: Life Below Water is part of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals, a set of 17 objectives aimed at ending poverty, protecting the planet and ensuring prosperity for all. These ambitious targets are galvanizing industries, governments, NGOs and academics around a common framework that responds to the growing sense of urgency in this critical juncture for humanity and our planet. SDG 14 aims to end overfishing, restore fish stocks, protect ecosystems and eliminate illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing.

To drive further discussion—and ultimately action—research consultancy GlobeScan has teamed up with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Nomad Foods to host a text-based online discussion with leading figures from business, government, NGOs and academia.

The Sustainable Development Goals Leadership Forum: Life Below Water— which will be moderated by GlobeScan Director Caroline Holme and Associate Director Perrine Bouhana—is slated to be held on Wednesday, 28 November at 9 am and 3 pm GMT. You can register for either session here.

Participants will include:
Keith Kenny , Vice President, Sustainability, McDonald’s Corporation
Darian McBain , Global Director of Sustainable Development, Thai Union
Alex Olsen, Head of Sustainability, Espersen
Florian Baumann , Quality Manager, Nomad Foods Europe-iglo Group
Ryan Bigelow , Senior Program Manager, Seafood Watch
Rupert Howes , Chief Executive, Marine Stewardship Council

Speaker Spotlight: Keith Kenny, McDonald's

Kenny is the VP of Sustainability for McDonald’s Corporation. In addition to setting global strategy for sustainable sourcing and restaurant sustainability he also helps coordinate broader work around brand trust. Kenny joined McDonald's UK in 1989, moved to McDonald’s Europe in 2006 and joined the global group in 2015.

Accelerating action for ocean recovery

By participating in the SDG Leadership Forum you'll have the opportunity to interact with stakeholders from all over the world while learning about trends, challenges and opportunities related to SDG 14.

The sooner we can raise awareness about these incredibly important issues, the faster we can help our oceans heal.

If you're interested in getting started right away, here are a few practical things you can do:

  • Switch to certified sustainable sourcing policies. Fishing needs to be sustainable and sustainability needs to be accessible. Sending that signal down the supply change further incentivizes this change.
  • Invest in joint-funded initiatives between business, academia and NGOs to accelerate change where it makes the biggest difference.
  • Turn existing research into action by scouring literature and trialing solutions by working with academics and NGOs.
  • Join discussions and raise awareness with your colleagues and leadership teams.

Still not entirely convinced about the seriousness of this issue? Let’s take a deeper look into why oceans are at risk.

1. Climate change and food security
The oceans regulate the global climate. They mediate temperature and drive weather, determining rainfall, droughts, and floods. Oceans are the world’s largest store of carbon, where an estimated 83% of the global carbon cycle is circulated through marine waters.
In the last 200 years, the oceans have absorbed one-third of the carbon dioxide produced by human activities and 90% of the extra heat trapped by the rising concentration of greenhouse gases. Agricultural crops, fish and seafood species, coral reefs, forest ecosystems- and even human beings- are all constrained by climate thresholds. Once these thresholds are eclipsed, adaptation is no longer feasible. The implications of this are tremendous.
2. Overfishing and IUU
One-third of fish stocks are overfished. While progress is being made in the Global North, the situation is worsening in the Global South.
Data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization ( FAO) show that marine capture fishery production in the developed world decreased by roughly 50% from its peak in 1988 (43 million tonnes) to 21 million tonnes in 2015.In contrast, developing countries saw a continuous increase in fish production from 1950 to 2013.
3. Pollution
Plastics are filling up the ocean and adversely affecting marine life. Each year, an estimated 1 million marine birds and 100,000 marine animals die from ingesting plastic.
In the Great Pacific Garbage Patch—a floating island of plastic waste that’s the size of Texas—fishing nets account for 46% of the plastic (something known as ghost gear).
Consequently, oceans are suffocating as huge dead zones have quadrupled since the 1950s. The need for urgent action is best surmised by the American Lung Association's motto: “If you can’t breathe, nothing else matters.”
4. Low down on the agenda
Despite increasing consumer awareness and concern, a recent survey of 3,500 leaders in developing countries found that marine conservation is almost universally considered the least important of the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals.
Only 5.4% of the respondents included it in their top six priorities. This is despite hundreds of millions of people—approximately 10% of the world’s population, particularly in developing countries—relying on seafood for their livelihoods.
In fact, when GlobeScan asked more than 500 sustainability experts across businesses, governments, NGOs and academia to rate the SDGs in order of importance, SDG 14 was ranked last. In terms of which were receiving the most attention, SDG14 placed second to last.
What’s more, an analysis of development funding looking at how much money the US government, World Bank and other major donors were spending on projects related to each goal, climate and environmental initiatives received significantly less funding than most other categories.

People want less pollution and more fish in the sea

Despite these issues, the public, by and large, is very concerned about protecting our oceans. One of the largest global studies of seafood consumers, which was commissioned by the MSC and conducted by GlobeScan, found that:

  • Pollution and overfishing are consistently ranked the most concerning ocean issues
  • 83% believe we need to protect seafood for future generations
  • 72% want sustainability claims in supermarkets to be independently verified by scientists and NGOs instead of big businesses and government agencies

In 2017 the Leaders for a Living Ocean—a consortium of 27 companies and organizations—announced commitments to the MSC’s “20 by 2020” goal, which focuses on accelerating improvements in marine fisheries.

The MSC—an independent, international non-profit founded over 20 years ago by the WWF and Unilever (which divested its seafood operations to what is now known as Nomad Foods)—sets standards for sustainable fishing and traceability and uses its blue fish label to empower consumers to act.

The organization is increasingly focused on paving pathways to sustainability. Last month, the MSC announced a GBP 1 million ($1.3 million) Ocean Stewardship Fund to invest in new scientific initiatives. It's also collaborating with academics to understand the impact of bottom trawling and runs a scholarship program for undergraduate and postgraduate students focused on fisheries science and management- and the integrity of the seafood supply chain.

If you’re interested in preserving the oceans for future generations you can join the MSC, Nomad Foods and GlobeScan for a text-based online discussion about SDG 14 on Wednesday, 28 November at 9 am and 3 pm GMT. Registration information can be found here.

Meet the co-hosts of the SDG 14 Leadership Forum

Nomad Foods is a frozen food company with a rich heritage and iconic brands which have withstood the test of time. Their portfolio of market-leading brands- which include Birds Eye, iglo, Findus, Goodfella’s and Aunt Bessie’s- are synonymous with frozen food and offer consumers great tasting, easy-to-prepare meals that are nutritious and a solid value.

GlobeScan is an insights and strategy consultancy focused on helping clients build long-term trusting relationships with their stakeholders. Offering a suite of specialist research and advisory services, GlobeScan partners with businesses, NGOs and governmental organizations to meet strategic objectives across reputation, sustainability and purpose.

This article was produced by the content marketing team at NHST Global Publications, an affiliate of IntraFish, on behalf of an advertiser. Contact us for more info about sponsored content on intrafish.com.