Finalist, Seafood Champion Awards Innovation Category

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A longstanding supporter of sustainability, Young’s Seafood’s story is inspirational as it shows how committing to responsibly sourcing, and playing a positive role in the supply chain, isn’t just a short term initiative.

Having led the way with the establishment of standards for their own corporate behavior in 2007, the company continues to innovate, drawing on the latest scientific research, and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders to continue playing a positive role. They have proactively communicated their approach, raising awareness through the media, by speaking at international conferences like the World Fisheries Congress and by playing a positive role alongside NGOs in, for example, the development of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition. Young’s reach into the supply chain is global and their story shows that it is possible to influence and help affect global change.
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Young’s Seafood Limited was one of the first fish processors to put in place a comprehensive Corporate Social Responsibility initiative addressing responsible sourcing, through our 10 Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement and our Fish for Life programme in 2007. Since then, we have had an ongoing and continuous commitment to this agenda which has seen the business maintain leadership through our influence and the example of our actions. Through Fish for Life we have been able to influence other key stakeholders, most significantly, our suppliers, our customers and our competitors and we are a significant factor as to why the ‘green marine’ agenda in the UK is in such a healthy state. We have proactively communicated our approach, raising awareness with through the media, by speaking at international conferences like the World Fisheries Congress and by playing a positive role alongside NGOs in, for example, the development of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition. Fish for Life is about action, for example, our in-house Marine Biologist has been working with the Welsh fishing community to collect scientific data in preparation for the introduction of policy on discards, while other teams have been working with a Basa fish farm in South East Asia as it has become fully integrated and independently certified. Fish for Life has recently been updated:

Commitment

At Young’s we ensure that every seafood purchasing decision is made with a clear understanding of the farm or the fishery that is producing that fish. Our Ten Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement include: Legality; Objective Assessment; Communication; Promotion; Continuous Improvement; Engagement; Prohibition; Research; Traceability; Ethics and Environment

Risk Assessment

Every combination of risk assessed in house by our Marine Biologist and Aquaculture expert using a bespoke decision tree process populated by the most up to date peer reviewed science.

Fisheries or farms with credible and independent certification such as the Marine Stewardship Council or the Global Aquaculture Alliance are automatically progressed as low risk as these fisheries and farms have already been assessed with the highest scientific rigour and principles.

Sources which are not independently certified will be subjected to a full in house assessment which will take into account a number of factors.

Sources rated as low risk automatically qualify for our purchasing team to buy from. Sources rated as Medium risk or in extreme cases High risk will only ever be sourced from if we believe that we can improve the sustainability of the operation. In this case sourcing will only progress with firm commitments that are time bound, and which result in effective improvement – if such actions are not progressed or not effective Young’s will stop sourcing the product. This is in line with the Sustainable Seafood Coalition Code.

Collaboration

We work in collaboration with government, NGOs and many academic institutions to further progress in this field to reduce risk and develop novel and exciting methods to meet responsible production challenges.

Fish for Life also covers the Environment, People, Communities, Ethical Trade and Food Integrity.

What local and/or international partners does Young’s Seafood work with?

  • UK Retailers
  • International Suppliers – We source over 30 species of fish from suppliers in 5 continents.
  • Industry Forums – such as the Groundfish Forum
  • NGOs, Campaign Groups and independent certification organisations: such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Sustainable Seafood Coalition (which Young’s subscribes to the code and was involved in the formation of the Coalition), Fisheries Innovation Scotland, WWF, Greenpeace, Client Earth, Marine Conservation Society, Fish Fight, ILO, the Supplier Ethical Data Exchange, Project Issara, Anti-Slavery International etc.
  • Charities and Community Groups
  • Academic Institutions to further scientific research/progress

How well does Young’s Seafood and its work demonstrate the qualities of the category?

Young’s Seafood Limited has led the way in the development of a programme for responsible sourcing for processing and in encouraging those in the supply chain to affect long-term improvement projects. This vision continues now, with Young’s Seafood Limited continuously improving and introducing new innovation into its programme, e.g. our Marine Biologist working with the Welsh fishing community to collect scientific data in preparation for the introduction of new policy on discards.

In what ways has Young’s Seafood positively affected, or mitigated negative impacts of, the seafood industry?

Young’s has encouraged many international fisheries, and supported them through improvement projects, to apply for MSC certification. The company has played a key role in working with fish farms seeking to achieve the highest standards, including certification from the Global Aquaculture Alliance.

The company is involved in the Sustainable Seafood Coalition Code, and committed to meet the code for labelling.

Young’s was instrumental in the establishment of Fisheries Innovation Scotland, an independent organisation bringing together government, scientists and industry to lead a programme of research, knowledge exchange and education on the management of Scotland’s marine fisheries.

In what way could Young’s Seafood’s story inspire others and communicate successes achieved in sustainable seafood?

Young’s Seafood Limited’s story is inspirational as it shows how committing to responsibly sourcing, and playing a positive role in the supply chain, isn’t just a short term initiative. Having led the way with the establishment of standards for their own corporate behaviour in 2007, the company continues to innovate, drawing on the latest scientific research, and collaborating with a wide range of stakeholders to continue playing a positive role. Although Young’s is a UK company, it’s reach into the supply chain is global and their story shows that it is possible to influence and help affect global change.

How would Young’s Seafood’s work serve as a replicable model for others who want to have a similar impact?

Young’s Seafood Limited’s Fish for Life programme is adaptable and many organisations in the industry now follow elements of the 10 Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement. The key elements of Commitment, Risk Assessment and Collaboration could be applied as the foundation for an approach to any organisation in any part of the world.

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