New investor collaboration will engage the seafood sector on key nature risks and impacts

A coalition of five conservation and biodiversity-focused organisations, including the World Benchmarking Alliance, has launched an initiative that will leverage the power of investors to engage seafood companies on critical nature and biodiversity related impacts and risks. The group announced the effort during a discussion held at The Economist World Ocean Summit.

With the goal to eliminate overfishing, illegality and habitat conversion from seafood value chains, this new initiative will convene a group of like-minded investors to conduct targeted engagement with key seafood companies. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the FAIRR Coller Initiative, UNEP FI’s Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, the World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA), and Planet Tracker will support the investor group to develop targeted asks and leverage their collective power to strengthen companies’ commitments to and implementation of best practice in seafood sustainability.

In its first phase, the investor action group will focus on engaging seafood companies on best practice sustainability efforts, such as: developing full-chain traceability systems, reducing bycatch and discards, reducing food loss and waste, and working towards meeting globally recognised standards. Joining the initiative will help investors to meet science-based ocean-related principles and guidance such as those housed under the UNEP FI Sustainable Blue Economy Finance Initiative, as well as allowing them to get ahead with emerging efforts to tackle nature and biodiversity risks in their portfolios, such as the  Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures.

FAIRR will act as the engagement facilitator with WWF US, UNEP FI, Planet Tracker and World Benchmarking Alliance (WBA) acting as the technical advisory group. More specifically, we will contribute data to the initiative through its Seafood Stewardship Index as well as support the participation of investors by socialising the initiative with our investor Allies.

The latest Seafood Stewardship Index (2021) WBA published showed the majority of the 30 most influential seafood companies still fall short of comprehensively demonstrating how they address their impacts on marine ecosystems, including overfishing, habitat conversion and illuminating Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing. Essential to addressing those issues is the development of robust traceability systems, where companies assessed also failed to demonstrate progress in line with their commitments. Moreover, WBA’s first Financial System Benchmark showed that less than 5% of the 400 financial institutions assessed acknowledged they had a process to identify the impact of their financing activities on nature. See results from our 2021 Seafood Stewardship Index

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