Simplot Australia celebrates receiving the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC) Leader for a Living Ocean Award. The MSC’s annual awards recognise impact, commitment, progress and leadership in sustainable seafood practices.
Simplot Australia is committed to safeguarding our oceans and fish supplies. We were awarded for this ongoing commitment and for using best-practice methods to source our products responsibly. For more than 10 years, this has seen us undertake intensive behind-the-scenes supply chain audits, sustainability improvements, and a rolling implementation program. It is all about doing our part to ensure the fish we enjoy today are there for tomorrow
As the manufacturer of well-known, loved and trusted seafood brands, such as John West and Birds Eye, we know our customers and consumers seek to eat responsibly sourced seafood.
As a business, we are committed to responsibly sourcing our products using best-practice methods that reduce impacts on wildlife, including threatened species and important habitats like coral reefs and mangroves. And if we can’t find a responsibly sourced species, then we take action and work with fishers to find solutions.
Our approach to responsible seafood sourcing is to use the MSC criteria to risk assess non-certified suppliers, with a goal of understanding gaps required to bring them to the standard. Our preference for fisheries we source from is to be MSC certified, and we have a relentless focus to work with non-certified fisheries through the encouragement and support of fishery improvement programs (FIP’s) to bring them to the MSC standard. Current examples of live FIP’s are on hake and anchovies in the regions where we source
Our program of work really took hold back in 2012, when we formed a partnership with WWF and Simplot’s John West brand to support John West’s aspiration to source all seafood products from responsible sources. Since then, these learnings have been extended and continue to inform our approach across all our brands.
This relentless and tireless focus has led to 86% of all wild caught seafood products sold under Simplot brands being either MSC certified, or the fishery is independently verified as meeting the MSC standard. This equates to over 27,000 MT of seafood, and a significant portion is skipjack tuna (10,600MT) which is 100% MSC certified. John West skipjack tuna represents 30% of the Australian canned tuna market, and on average, 80 million cans are sold annually, proudly displaying the MSC logo.
The sheer volume of seafood products we sell has meant we have had a significant impact on making sure MSC-certified options are available for our retail customers to range and for consumers to make responsible choices.
Working together with our suppliers, industry bodies, and NGO’s is paramount to driving sustained improvements in the health of the world’s oceans. By engaging with players across the whole seafood chain and through scientific and sustainability approaches, we can devise new strategies that continue to ensure seafood is responsibly sourced.
The breadth of Simplot’s global seafood supply chain sees us working in many geographies across multiple different species to raise the standard and champion the transition to MSC certification. In addition, we take a leadership role through industry advocacy.
Although we have made significant shifts as a business, we know there is still more to do. We continue to enhance our practices which comes with increased knowledge across our entire industry. Certification programs like Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) play a crucial role in moving the global seafood industry towards sustainability. Such standards are important tools, often providing the initial steps to drive improvements in wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture farming practices.
Through building awareness and knowledge, we believe that we can help everyone make more informed product choices. In this regard, we have ensured our brands continue to communicate the benefits of MSC and have been public advocates of the Marine Stewardship Council.
Coinciding with Sustainable Seafood Week (21-27 March 2022), the awards celebrate the organisations and individuals working together to safeguard seafood stocks for future generations.
We are proud to continue working and strengthening our partnership with MSC, together advancing ocean and seafood sustainability.