Voluntary disclosure of sustainability performance data by the private sector has proven to be a powerful tool for driving positive change. There have been generic approaches to this task (for instance the Global Reporting Initiative) as well as more focused sector-specific initiatives such as the Carbon Disclosure Project (now known as CDP). CDP works with thousands of businesses to assist them in publicly reporting their carbon emissions according to a standardized template and is also developing tools for forest products and water use.
The public disclosure of corporate sustainability data has benefited consumers while allowing investors to better understand the risks in their portfolios. It has also had the effect of stimulating companies to benchmark themselves against others and make greater efforts to improve performance.
In 2015, SFP launched a parallel initiative to CDP designed to support retailers and other companies in disclosing details regarding sustainable seafood sourcing on an annual basis. The Ocean Disclosure Project (ODP) invites businesses to submit their lists of source fisheries so that additional data can be incorporated (e.g., the status of management and stocks in specific fisheries) and further analysis performed. The results are then published as individual company profiles on the ODP website. Each of the company profiles contains the following information for wild fisheries used for sourcing:
- Name of fish
- Geographical location of source fisheries
- Type of fishing gear
- Nationality of the fishery
- An assessment of the management and status of the fishery using scores derived from the public FishSource database
- Certification to an approved sustainability standard - MSC, Alaska RFM, Iceland RFM
- Participation in fishery improvement projects
- A narrative assessment of environmental impacts derived from the public FishSource database
SFP launched the ODP in July 2015 with the participation of five companies (Asda, Biomar, The Cooperative Food, Morrisons, and Skretting), who have continued to participate in the project on an annual basis. SFP hopes that participation in the ODP will increase every year and that it becomes a platform for responsible companies to demonstrate very high levels of transparency and commitment to sustainability. The information presented in the ODP will be of great value to consumers, seafood companies, and investors while building confidence in the responsible operations of the seafood industry as a whole.
More details about the ODP as well as past and present company profiles can be found at the new website: