Fisheries and aquaculture employ millions and are critical for food security for 3 billion+ people. Human rights abuses in fisheries have placed social issues at the forefront of sustainability. This commitment will create a sea change in the sector, supporting comprehensive social responsibility through new, cross-sectoral actions to: (1) Protect human rights, dignity, and access to resources; (2) Ensure equality and equitable opportunities to benefit; and (3) Improve food and livelihood security.
Over the past several decades, significant resources have been invested in transitioning fisheries and aquaculture toward environmental sustainability. A similar commitment is now needed for social responsibility in the sector, to protect and improve the lives of millions in the sector and secure the benefits of a healthy and diverse ocean for global humanity. To address this issue, a multi-sectoral coalition of partners developed a comprehensive framework for social responsibility, drawing from a wide range of policy and practice, and supported by a strong basis in international law and policy.
This framework was published in Science (http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6341/912) and the Voluntary Commitment is backed by a global partnership including businesses, governments, intergovernmental organizations, and NGO partners, who are collectively committing to drive improvements in social responsibility in the sector. To implement this commitment, these partners are undertaking the following actions, including (but not limited to); (1) Adoption of effective policy and regulatory regimes by governments to protect vulnerable human populations and improve overall social performance in the sector; (2) Establishment of best practices among businesses to incorporate social responsibility in sourcing policy and business practices; (3) Incorporation of social responsibility into existing fisheries and aquaculture initiatives among civil society and nonprofit organizations, including ratings and certification schemes, and supported by the development of robust assessment protocols.
This Voluntary Commitment presents an opportunity for the sector to recognize and embrace that the wellbeing of people and the health of oceans are interdependent. This Voluntary Commitment helps fulfill the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, and explicitly links SDG 14 to other SDGs related to poverty, food security, inequality and gender equality, and human health and wellbeing. Notably, this commitment requires that environmental sustainability and social responsibility are addressed together, as these issues are intrinsically linked and joint investments are likely to produce more durable impacts for both people and nature.
Updates to voluntary commitment
Global adoption of framework for social responsibility in the seafood sector, with commitments to the framework secured from a diverse set of sector actors, including businesses, non-governmental organizations, governments, intergovernmental organizations, philanthropic and multi-lateral institutions, and civil society organizations to implement the framework
Establishment of best practices among businesses to incorporate social responsibility in sourcing policy and business practices
Incorporation of social responsibility into existing fisheries and aquaculture initiatives among civil society and nonprofit organizations, including ratings and certification schemes, and supported by the development of robust assessment protocols
Adoption of effective policy and regulatory regimes by at least 10 governments in priority locations to protect vulnerable human populations and improve overall social performance in the sector
Staff / Technical expertise
Conservation International, together with Arizona State University and the Nereus Program of Nippon Foundation, is supporting the development of robust assessment protocols for social responsibility, to incorporate evidence-based evaluation into existing
Staff / Technical expertise
This Voluntary Commitment is the result of a multi-year sustained effort by 20+ organizations to define the core components of social responsibility, resulting in a significant alignment among a set of core partners around a shared definition of social re