Seafood Stewardship Index

Publication October 2021

The Seafood Stewardship Index measures the world’s 30 most influential companies in the seafood industry on their contribution to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. Seafood plays a crucial role in nourishing populations and supporting livelihoods all over the world.

By controlling a significant portion of marine catch and aquaculture production as well as large parts of the seafood value chain, these companies can deliver a significant, unique and actionable contribution to the SDGs and food system transformation. Despite the global importance of seafood, fisheries and aquaculture face a number of serious social and environmental challenges. These include overfishing, antibiotic resistance, impacts on biodiversity, unethical labour practices and human rights violations worldwide. The largest companies have the opportunity now to address those issues.

Five key findings

Our second assessment shows that most companies recognise their social and environmental responsibilities, but few have turned those into action. The results indicate that, although many of the companies have taken some steps, it may not be sufficient and fast enough. For those companies that have taken steps and report progress, these are primarily focused on environmental impacts. Although we found improvements in companies’ commitment to traceability, there is lack of disclosure on how companies are currently performing in terms of improving supply chain visibility, Without clear oversight of supply chains, social and environmental progress in the seafood industry will continue to be hampered. With less than a decade left to achieve the SDG 2030 agenda, now is the time for the seafood industry to work with governments and all its stakeholders to deliver and realise its full potential.

Key finding

Sustainability strategies need to be followed by concrete targets

Integrating sustainability objectives in the overall business strategy is the first step, however over half the companies are yet to translate those high-level objectives into actionable timebound targets for all issues relevant for the seafood industry. 70% of companies have sustainability objectives, yet only 27% have translated those into timebound targets. Concerningly, 30% of the companies did not disclose a sustainability strategy with seafood-relevant objectives.

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Key finding

Certifications and fishery improvement projects are the main way industry addresses ecosystem impacts of fisheries, but too many fisheries remain unreached

Between certification such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), improvement projects and pre-competitive initiatives, many companies demonstrate being engaged in driving environmental sustainability in the fisheries sector. However, it is often unclear to what extent companies are engaged in improvement projects and thus how they are actively driving change.

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Key finding

Companies must demonstrate how key aquaculture impacts are addressed

50% of the companies in the benchmark do not report on key aquaculture topics such as antibiotics use, animal welfare and the use of high-risk commodities in aquaculture feed. Companies should step up to demonstrate how these topics, either in their own operations or through their supply chain, are taken care off.

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Key finding

Seafood companies fall short on addressing human and labour rights

Seafood companies are performing poorly on critical social issues. Half of the companies have no or a weak commitment to protect human rights in their operations and supply chains. Only 8 companies have an explicit policy to address on-board working and living conditions.

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Key finding

Companies must step up to address illegal fishing

Our results show no progress since 2019 in the number of seafood companies that have an approach to assess Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) risks. However, we saw an increasing number of companies with serious commitments to traceability, a key tool to bar entry of IUU products to markets.

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See how the companies performed

View ranking

Further reading

  • Data

    All the benchmark results and data are publicly available and downloadable.

    See data

30 Seafood companies

Locations

  • Title: Trident Seafoods
    Place: United States of America
    Description:
  • Title: Wales Group (Sea Value & Sea Wealth)
    Place: Thailand
    Description:
  • Title: Yokohama Reito (Yokorei)
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Austevoll Seafood
    Place: Norway
    Description:
  • Title: BioMar
    Place: Denmark
    Description:
  • Title: Bolton Group
    Place: Italy
    Description:
  • Title: Bright Food Group
    Place: China
    Description:
  • Title: Cargill
    Place: United States of America
    Description:
  • Title: Charoen Pokphand Group
    Place: Thailand
    Description:
  • Title: Cooke
    Place: Canada
    Description:
  • Title: Dongwon Enterprise
    Place: South Korea
    Description:
  • Title: FCF Co., Ltd.
    Place: Taiwan
    Description:
  • Title: High Liner Foods
    Place: Canada
    Description:
  • Title: Kyokuyo
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Labeyrie Fine Foods
    Place: France
    Description:
  • Title: Marubeni Corporation
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Maruha Nichiro
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Mitsubishi Corporation
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Mowi
    Place: Norway
    Description:
  • Title: Nippon Suisan Kaisha (Nissui)
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Nomad Foods
    Place: United Kingdom
    Description:
  • Title: Nueva Pescanova
    Place: Spain
    Description:
  • Title: Nutreco
    Place: Netherlands
    Description:
  • Title: OUG Holdings
    Place: Japan
    Description:
  • Title: Pacific Seafood Group
    Place: United States of America
    Description:
  • Title: Parlevliet & Van der Plas
    Place: Netherlands
    Description:
  • Title: Red Chamber Group
    Place: United States of America
    Description:
  • Title: Royal Greenland
    Place: Greenland
    Description:
  • Title: SalMar
    Place: Norway
    Description:
  • Title: Thai Union Group
    Place: Thailand
    Description:

Previous findings

  • 2019 Seafood Stewardship Index

    In 2019 we published the first results of the performance of 30 global seafood companies.

    See 2019 findings