The Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP) was launched in 2015 by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership as a reporting framework for seafood companies including retailers, suppliers, fish feed manufacturers and more, to voluntarily disclose their wild-caught seafood sourcing alongside information on the environmental performance of each source. The project started with the support and participation of three UK retailers, Asda (the first company to report via the ODP), Morrisons, and The Co-operative Food; and two aquaculture feed producers, Biomar and Skretting.
The ODP has continued to expand in scope, number and geographic coverage of disclosures; in 2019 the first disclosures containing farmed seafood sources were published, and by 2020 more than 20 companies from across Europe, North America and Australia had participated in the project. Participation is expected to continue growing over the next few years through active promotion to industry in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
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Increasing seafood transparency
Voluntary disclosure of sustainability performance is a powerful tool for driving change in global supply chains. Across several industries and sectors, there has been a shift towards increased transparency, with businesses more readily reporting environmental performance. This transparency increases accountability within supply chains, providing businesses with an additional incentive to achieve their sustainability goals and allows improved oversight of business practices by investors, consumers, and the wider sustainability community. Approaches such as the Global Reporting Initiative and the CDP (previously known as the Carbon Disclosure Project) have led the way in this regard and we look to replicate this for the seafood sector.
To date, few companies have publicly disclosed where they source their seafood from, making it difficult for stakeholders to understand the sustainability of source fisheries and fish farms and associated impacts and risks. The ODP works towards the goal of 100% sustainably produced seafood by coordinating efforts to deliver greater transparency in global seafood supply chains. We believe that greater transparency in seafood sourcing will drive improvements in fisheries and aquaculture and help reduce the environmental impacts of seafood production. Participation in the ODP represents a pioneering commitment to supply chain transparency for companies sourcing seafood.
Supporting international efforts
The ODP supports the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically Goal 14: Life Below Water. Disclosing their seafood sourcing through the ODP or other means represents one way in which businesses can contribute to the SDGs. Among other efforts, companies that commit to sourcing from more sustainable fisheries contribute to Target 14.4 to “effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices” by 2020. An ODP profile provides an assessment of whether that commitment is being fulfilled.
Several companies that have disclosed their seafood sourcing through the ODP have found additional benefits to participating. The creation of an ODP profile provides companies with a sustainability analysis that matches their seafood sourcing to various sustainability assessments, a process which is challenging for many companies. Participants further benefit from year-to-year by having this analysis updated when they update their sourcing information. When disclosing their seafood sourcing for the first time, or publicly sharing new information as part of an updated disclosure, many participants also choose to issue press releases with the support of ODP when their profiles come online and these almost always receive significant media exposure in seafood trade media as well as regional media. Finally, as companies participate they become part of a group of like-minded businesses, opening new doors for networking, collaboration, and increased engagement in improving seafood sustainability.
The Ocean Disclosure Project is grateful for the generous support of the