Transparency in supply chains
Voluntary disclosure of sustainability performance is a powerful tool for driving change in global supply chains. Across sectors, there has been a shift towards increased transparency, with businesses more readily reporting environmental and social 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. Generic approaches such as the Global Reporting Initiative and sector-specific initiatives such as 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.
Supporting international efforts for sustainable seafood
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.
What we do
The ODP provides a reporting framework for seafood-buying 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 fishery. To date, few companies have publicly disclosed where they get their seafood from, making it difficult for stakeholders to understand the sustainability of source fisheries and associated risks. Participation in the ODP represents a pioneering commitment to supply chain transparency for companies sourcing from the world’s wild fisheries.
The ODP was launched in 2015 by Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a US-registered non-profit that works directly with the seafood industry to deliver sustainable seafood. The project started with the support and participation of five companies: UK retailers, Asda (the first company to report via the ODP), Morrisons, and The Co-operative Food; and aquaculture feed producers, Biomar and Skretting. The ODP has continued to expand in number and geographic coverage of disclosures; in 2018, 16 companies from across Europe and North America participated in the ODP. Participation in the ODP is expected to continue growing over the next few years through active promotion to industry in Europe, the Americas and Asia.
How we work
The ODP provides a simple way for companies to disclose through a common reporting template that can be used by all seafood-buying companies to answer the question: “Where does my seafood come from?”
Participation in the ODP is open to all businesses that source wild-caught seafood. By 2020, we hope to enable companies reporting through the ODP to disclose farmed seafood sources as well.
We ask companies to submit the list of fisheries from which they source and there is no requirement to provide data that may be commercially confidential. This list is intended to cover all main wild-caught species sourced during the reporting period.
We turn the source list into a detailed ODP profile, comprising a list of fisheries alongside information on the environmental performance of those fisheries including third-party certification or participation in fishery improvement projects, sustainability ratings, and brief notes on the fishery impact on protected, endangered and threatened (PET) species, bycatch, and benthic habitats. Each profile contains a year’s worth of sourcing data for that company and reflects the previous year’s sourcing, so the 2019 profiles will show 2018 sourcing. Each profile is updated on an annual basis.
The cost of participating
Participation in the ODP is free. The ODP is currently funded by the generous support of the John Ellerman Foundation. In the future, we may require participating companies to pay a small membership fee to cover the costs of preparing a disclosure.
Reporting seafood sourcing disclosures
The ODP website serves as a reporting platform to enable interested stakeholders, including responsible investors and seafood consumers, to freely access all ODP profiles and other seafood sourcing disclosures.
We are affiliated with FishChoice, an environmental, non-profit organisation dedicated to helping businesses advance their seafood sustainability efforts. FishChoice works with seafood suppliers to share company information, including product sourcing, through a dedicated supplier profile, giving seafood businesses instant access to up-to-date product sustainability information. This information is maintained by FishChoice in the Seafood Supplier Directory.
FishChoice Supplier Members who meet the following eligibility criteria for ODP compliance will be recognized on both the FishChoice platform and ODP website:
- The FishChoice Supplier Member must provide a self-declaration that the products listed on its profile page represent the full list* of wild-caught seafood sources.
- The FishChoice Supplier Member must check, and update as necessary, the products listed on its profile page annually.
*with exception given to seafood products sourced in especially small volumes or as test products.
What others say about the ODP
Since the ODP launched in 2015, we have received positive press and feedback from stakeholders and participants. Companies that disclose their seafood sourcing are seen to be taking a leading role in the industry.
“Understanding the sustainability of raw materials is essential to the responsible investment community. The Ocean Disclosure Project allows investors to understand the sustainability performance of individual companies regarding seafood as well as supporting high quality dialogues that can lead to real positive change in the way we manage the oceans."
“Transparency is the first step towards ensuring sustainable sourcing and ethical supply chains. With the launch of its new website, the Ocean Disclosure Project is making it ever easier for companies and their customers to be confident that the fish they’re buying is sustainable. It’s a great resource and we’d encourage companies to use it and to critically engage with improving their sustainability.”
“We see the Ocean Disclosure Project as an important mechanism for stakeholders to judge our progress. We believe in transparency in how we source our fish and shellfish to enable consumers to make informed purchasing decisions.”
"The Co-op takes its responsibilities towards seafood sustainability very seriously and we were proud to be one of the first companies to participate in the Ocean Disclosure Project. It’s a great platform to share information and best practice and means we can provide our customers and members with up to date and transparent information on where we source our wild capture fish from."
Why become a participant?
Participating in the ODP will first and foremost enable companies to:
- Demonstrate their commitment to transparency and responsible sourcing of seafood.
- Communicate good practices to customers, investors, and supply chain partners.
- Show leadership and support progress towards international sustainability goals.
- Facilitate collaboration with other industry members in promoting responsible fishing and farming practices.
Furthermore, the ODP enables seafood companies to:
- Capture sustainability information on the seafood supply chain.
- Use this information to help evaluate the current position regarding sustainable procurement and compare company performance against other companies.
- Better understand and manage environmental risks in your supply chain, set responsible sourcing targets and measure impact.
- Push for improvements in fisheries and farmed species management.