Investors can help finance sustainable seafood by demanding transparency on fishing companies’ product ranges.
Photo: Shawn Eggert/USN
The global sea food market is big business and it is dominated by transnational companies that operate in the whole value chain, from catch to finished product. In 2014 the revenue of the 100 leading companies constituted 65 % of the total world trade, estimated to about 95 billion dollars.
But there’s a dirty side to these shining figures. A recent FAO report shows that 15 % of total global catches are illegal and the UN Office on Drugs and Crime report on transnational, organized crime in the fishing industry, including child sex abuse, trafficking and slave-like working conditions.
In an open editorial in the ESG Magazine (issue 5, 2016), a magazine dedicated to sustainability in the capital markets, GEDB Director Beatrice Crona together with Kees Lankester, sustainable fisheries consultant, urge the financial institutions that are lending money to, or investing in, the seafood industry to take be more attentive to which types of activities they invest in.
“Banks and other large financial institutions have great power and could push for a more sustainable fishing industry if they demand more transparency from the companies they deal with,” explains Beatrice Crona. “It benefits them too, since they risk very bad publicity if they are associated with such appalling practices,” she continues.
The authors suggest concrete measures that the financial institutions can take, such as demanding complete sourcing information and third-party audits to establish that the products are free of illegal practices.
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