WWF-SASSI’s engagement with Retailers and Suppliers
The WWF-SASSI Retailer / Supplier Participation Scheme was developed in 2008 as a means for WWF-SASSI to actively engage key strategic role players to help drive transformation in fisheries and aquaculture operations. This is primarily achieved by conducting sustainability assessments for Participants to help them identify the major risks and opportunities for their businesses in terms of sustainability and by WWF-SASSI collaborating with Participants to develop and implement appropriate solutions. A key component of this process is for the Participants to make time-bound Commitments to Sustainable Seafood which in turn creates the necessary incentive for source fisheries to change. The active Participants in the scheme, with guidance from WWF-SASSI, are thus playing their role in changing the landscape of the seafood industry in South Africa.
Being part of the WWF-SASSI Retailer / Supplier Participation Scheme is not an endorsement of participating companies and does not mean that these companies are only selling sustainable seafood. Retailer / Supplier Participation is focused on assessing the sustainability of these companies seafood operations, and in so doing, provide these companies with advice and training on how to implement best practice principles in terms of sustainable seafood.
Accountability to Consumers
The Retailer / Supplier Participants are required to make their Commitments to Sustainable Seafood publicly available to consumers; these can also be viewed on the WWF-SASSI website (see "SASSI Retailer / Supplier Participants
" on the QUICK LINKS sidebar). It is important to note that WWF-SASSI provides the tools for sustainability but only the Retailers or Suppliers themselves can make the changes.
Consumers are encouraged to:
- View and share the Retailer / Supplier Participants Commitments to Sustainable Seafood and support the sustainable seafood initiatives that these Participants are engaged in;
- Assist Retailer / Supplier Participants in implementing and achieving their sustainable seafood goals by holding them accountable to their Commitments to Sustainable Seafood, engage directly with Participants if you feel that they are not living up to their commitments;
- Communicate with Retailer / Supplier Participants directly to find out more about their Sustainable Seafood Policies;
- Enquire about the sustainability status of the seafood products in-store and encourage Participants to source sustainable alternatives;
- Encourage Participants to stock products that are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) & Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), look for these distinctive eco-labels as a credible on product assurance of sustainable and responsible production;
- Engage directly with Retailer / Supplier Participants if seafood product labelling does not contain the following: Species common name, Species scientific name, Country of origin and Capture or Production method.
The journey towards achieving Seafood Sustainability
It is important to remember that transforming markets is an incremental process that usually has an extended implementation period. For this reason the Retailer / Supplier Participants are encouraged to have a clear, long term strategy in place that guides them towards achieving their Commitments to Sustainable Seafood. Although being a WWF-SASSI Retailer / Supplier Participant is an important first step in addressing seafood sustainability concerns, it is by no means an endorsement of a company or the products that they sell. Participants rely on consumers to hold them accountable to their commitments and to support them on their journey towards achieving their seafood sustainability goals, for this reason WWF-SASSI encourages consumers to engage directly with Participants to understand what they are doing to achieve their commitments.
The broader Seafood Industry in South Africa
The active participants in the WWF-SASSI retailer / Supplier Participation Scheme are playing their role in changing the landscape of the seafood industry in South Africa. There are however many more South African seafood based businesses who would like to become a part of the solution to the global overexploitation of fish stocks. These businesses have an important role to play and in recognition of this fact WWF-SASSI has developed an online guide to help these businesses implement best practice guidelines for sustainable seafood in their seafood operations. WWF-SASSI cannot associate its brand with these businesses, as the process revolves entirely around self-assessment, but it does potentially put operations on a path towards a more sustainable seafood supply. When implementing the guideline principals, businesses are encouraged to publicly state their intentions and are thereby held accountable by their clients and consumers.
WWF-SASSI Business Guide to Sustainable Seafood
The unsustainable harvest of the world’s oceans has led to the depletion, and in some cases the collapse, of many of the world’s major fish stocks. While the outlook for these threatened marine ecosystems remains bleak in the face of unsustainable fishing practices, forward-thinking businesses involved in the seafood industry are realising that the fisheries crisis could also be viewed as a business opportunity. Responsible businesses who engage in the growing global movement towards sustainable seafood are positioning themselves well to take advantage of the new and exciting market for sustainable seafood.
WWF-SASSI’s Online Business Guide is a tool designed to introduce businesses that buy and sell seafood to ways in which they can support sustainable seafood and outlines a range of specific activities that can help support best practices in the South African seafood trade. This should equip businesses with the necessary tools to achieve the benefits associated with making a shift towards seafood sustainability.
It is important to realise that sustainability cannot be achieved overnight, it is a journey with many steps and will differ for each business. This guide should therefore be viewed as a starting point for businesses that share an interest in supporting the long-term viability of our seafood supply and the health of our oceans. Businesses using this guide are therefore requested not to reference WWF-SASSI in their communications but rather to focus on communicating the steps that they as a business are taking to address seafood sustainability in their operations. Using this guide revolves entirely around self-assessment and for that reason WWF-SASSI cannot formally recognise businesses that endeavour to implement its principles, however the guide does potentially put seafood operations on a path towards a more sustainable seafood supply. Please click here to access the WWF-SASSI Business Guide to Sustainable Seafood.