The Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI) will measure and compare the efforts of the world’s leading seafood companies on how they contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Through measuring company performance in alignment with stakeholder expectations and the most relevant SDGs to the industry, we aim to clarify the role that the seafood industry should play and bring transparency to the potential contributions of individual companies.

SSI draft methodology open for public consultation

From 22 October to 17 December 2018, we will hold an 8-week public consultation on the draft methodology for the Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI). All interested stakeholders are kindly invited to review and share with us their feedback on this draft.

draft methodology report

Team and engagement

Bas Geerts
Lead Seafood Stewardship Index

Lisanne Urlings
Lead Research

Katrina Nakamura
Engagement and Research Associate

Rik Beukers
Research Analyst

Mwansa Phiri
Research Analyst

Our objectives

The Seafood Stewardship Index will be developed by a core team at Index Initiative in close collaboration with a broad group of external stakeholders. We fully embrace the value of being a true multi-stakeholder initiative. Although we will be coordinating the development process, continuous engagement with external stakeholders will contribute in the development of our methodology. Our development process facilitates multiple engagement activities including a public, online consultation survey as well as at the many events we will organize and attend around the world. We would also welcome you to contact us at any other time, as your continued support and contribution is highly appreciated!

To achieve the SDGs which are most closely related to the seafood sector, it is crucial that significant progress is demonstrated by the companies between now and 2030.

The Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI) will measure this progress over time. The aim of the SSI is threefold:

  1. Incentivize companies to align their strategies and operations with the SDG-targets
  2. Create a race to the top by rewarding companies that are best in class
  3. Monitor and visualize progress of companies over time

Our ambition

Index Initiative (to be part of the World Benchmarking Alliance, which is likely to be established in 2018) wants the Seafood Stewardship Index to become a leading information and engagement tool for decision makers of relevant stakeholder groups, like loan providers, investors, politicians and policymakers, NGOs, (industrial) consumers, the media and the companies themselves. The latter will develop in the form of peer-to-peer learning, which will be made easier and more effective when information regarding the sector is readily available, free and clear.

The goal of the Seafood Stewardship Index is to independently and objectively measure the performance of companies across the seafood industry that have a major impact on the environment as well as on social issues. By making this benchmark free and accessible to all, we enable governments, investors, consumers, and civil society to exert their influence to improve corporate climate action performance. By doing so, we support the achievement of SDGs 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 14 and 15. (NB. exact SDG scope is subject to stakeholder consultation and may change)

1. To develop and publish benchmark reports.

Index Initiative will develop and publish a Seafood Stewardship Index. This benchmark will measure corporate sustainability performance of the 30 largest companies (privately owned, publicly listed or state-owned) within the seafood industry.

2. To develop a benchmark methodology based on stakeholder involvement.

Our process started by drafting a methodology outline which used information from a wide array of existing, widely accepted sustainability scientific articles, normative standards, initiatives in the seafood realm, as well as more generic sources like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), FAO, ILO, etc.

This draft methodology will go through an extensive multi-stakeholder process which will include dialogues, roundtables and workshops. This process will be followed by an eight week online public consultation before we determine and publish the final benchmark methodology. The final methodology will be reviewed, and where necessary revised, after each 2-year cycle. This, again, will entail consultation with stakeholders.

3. To build a lasting user network.

A lasting network will be constructed and expanded around the benchmark, consisting of relevant and influential stakeholders that will use the benchmark in their engagement with companies. Relevant and influential users will be from a diverse range of stakeholder groups such as (multilateral) government organizations, financial institutions, (industrial and household) consumers, civil society, media and seafood companies themselves.

Why a Seafood Stewardship Index?

The Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI) will clarify what society expects from the world’s leading seafood companies regarding their contribution to a sustainably operating sector, with sustainably managed resources and responsible social practices being implemented in all stages of the supply chain.

Companies often deal with a wide range of stakeholders with diverging expectations and priorities. Through an extensive multi-stakeholder consultation process, the Seafood Stewardship Index will identify common ground among key stakeholders and build consensus around these expectations. The benchmark methodology translates these expectations into clear metrics, providing companies with a path forward.

The Seafood Stewardship Index will clarify where and how companies can contribute to SDGs 1, 2, 5, 8, 12, 14 and 15. (NB. exact SDG scope is subject to stakeholder consultation and may change).

  • SDG1 – No Poverty
  • SDG2 – Zero Hunger
  • SDG5 – Gender Equality
  • SDG8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG12 – Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG14 – Life Below Water
  • SDG15 – Life on Land

The potential contribution of an industry to sustainability issues is influenced by an industry’s core business and position in the value chain. This both determines and limits the influence of industries and companies. The benchmark clarifies the role of companies in achieving the SDGs also highlights the responsibilities of other stakeholders.

The Seafood Stewardship Index will promote a race to the top.

Provided it is robust, credible, and ensures a fair and scrutinized analysis, the Seafood Stewardship Index will be a powerful tool to raise awareness on sustainability issues related to the seafood sector and shape the debate on the role of industries, companies and other stakeholders. The league tables that derive from benchmarks leverage the forces of competition to improve performance: leaders are motivated to do more, while laggards are incentivized to catch up.

The Seafood Stewardship Index will help track progress, by publishing an updated Index report every 2 years. For companies and other stakeholders, this regular issuance of the index helps measure and track progress both relative to peers and to societal expectations. The Seafood Stewardship Index would, for instance, track both how a company performs relative to its peers and whether these efforts are aligned with the objectives of the relevant SDGs.

Who will use the benchmark and for what?

Benchmarks are a proven and effective information and engagement tool.

The Seafood Stewardship Index can be used by both the companies included in the benchmark and a range of stakeholders that want to engage with these companies, such as: policymakers, investors, (industrial) consumers, civil society and the media. The benchmark will be made free and publicly available to all, enabling all stakeholders to exert their full influence when engaging with companies. Benchmarks can also be used to recognize and celebrate leaders for their success and encourage them to do more. For top performers, the results can be used as a source of competitive advantage: for example, in their external communications.

Governance

The Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI) is developed in close collaboration with an Expert Review Committee (ERC), which members support the SSI Core Team with their expertise and experience.

SSI Expert Review Committee (ERC):

    • Abigail Herron – Aviva Investors
    • Bertrand Charron – Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
    • Blake Lee-Harwood – Sustainable Fisheries Partnership
    • Clarus Chu – Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF)
    • Duncan Leadbitter – Fish Matter
      • Huw Thomas – The Pew Charitable Trusts
      • Jennifer Dianto Kemmerly – Monterey Bay Aquarium
      • John Garner, Retired Seafood Business Executive
      • Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi – Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
      • Pongsagorn Satjipanon – Oxfam
      • Robert Blasiak – Stockholm Resilience Centre

Process and time-line

Developing the Seafood Stewardship Index: An overview. Click on infographic to enlarge it.

How to engage?

All relevant stakeholders are encouraged to provide constructive and meaningful feedback to improve our methodology. In order to do so we organize dialogues, roundtables, workshops, followed by an eight week online public consultation. We will process all received feedback and will publish a report showing all feedback as received, including how we processed each item. Identical and very similar items will be processed as one item.

The online consultation, which offers stakeholders the opportunity to provide feedback on the draft methodology, is expected in Q3 of 2018. Exact dates will be communicated here once available.