A year on since the memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed, the three competing organisations once again met at Seafood Expo Global to demonstrate how their collaborative working will provide greater access for producers.
Developing common feed requirements
Last year the three organisations identified and published common requirements on responsible sourcing of fishmeal and fish oil across the programmes’ standards. More recently, GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. have taken up an active role in ASC’s work on developing its feed standard, which will lead to ASC certified feed which can be used by farms seeking or holding ASC certification.
GAA and GLOBALG.A.P., which already have operational feed standards, are taking part in the ASC Feed Dialogue steering committee meetings (as observers) and are actively participating in the technical working group on marine ingredients.
The ASC feed standard should be ready by the end of 2015. The involvement of GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. will promote further common elements across the three programmes to benefit the feed industry and suppliers of raw materials.
Comparing the standards to reduce duplication
Also underway is the comparison of the three organisations’ standards with the aim of identifying commonalities. Initially, the focus is on Pangasius; other species will be added over time.
“When we signed the MoU we made a promise to achieve greater efficiencies to benefit all of our stakeholders,” said Bas Geerts, ASC Standards Director. “To achieve this we must be certain not to compromise the quality of each of our standards. Comparing a large number of process based indicators with outcome based indicators is certainly less straightforward than most would think. Each of the organisations’ standards is very precise, so identifying the common elements across them is a complex task. We have recently started this intricate process, it’s an exercise that will take some time to complete, but it’s great to see the willingness of all three parties committed to making this work.”
“We will not stop our efforts until we have published a single set of criteria and language that can be used to demonstrate compliance with all elements addressing the same aspects in the three standards,” said Kristian Moeller, Managing Director of GLOBALG.A.P. “Duplication of control points shall become history!”
Making certification more accessible
The three organisations signed the MoU in April 2013 agreeing to work together to make certification more accessible for farmers and processors by reducing duplication across the three programmes’ auditing processes.
There is a substantial amount of work identified so ASC, GAA and GLOBALG.A.P. have prioritised the activities. Over time together the organisations will:
- reduce duplication of effort for farms that undertake certification against more than one standard?(status: standards’ comparison process started)
- develop common feed requirements (status: initial overlap determined and published)
- develop common approaches to auditor training (status: relies on standards’ comparison)
- develop shared approaches to chain of custody certification (status: not yet started)
- encourage accurate and objective messaging regarding the claims made for certified aquaculture products (status: this process has begun through mutual recognition of common objectives. Detailed messaging will rely on the standards’ comparison work.)
- explore common approaches to the management of certificate information potentially through shared IT platforms. (status: not yet started)
The MOU recognises the continued integrity of each programme.