Seafood consumption has doubled over the last 40 years, but fish stocks have not kept pace. In a bid to help reverse the decline of living marine resources, Sodexo has made sustainable seafood a cornerstone of its sustainable sourcing approach.
With the stakes so high in terms of social, economic and environmental impacts, Sodexo has made sustainable purchasing a central tenet of its fish and seafood sourcing process.
Sodexo has committed to sourcing sustainable seafood in all the countries where we operate by 2015, which will be achieved by:
Maintaining a wide variety of species in its menus and in its catalogs,
Removing species at risk from its menus, and implementing control measures (geographical area, fishing methods, minimum size, etc.) for others,
Increasing the share of fish and seafood from responsible farms and fisheries using standards and eco-labels such as the Marine Stewardship Council and Aquaculture Stewardship Council,
Setting up sustainable supply for aquaculture - Assessing the importer and producer, and conducting audits to check the supply, farm and processing and packing facility,
Developing Sodexo's technical expertise in the field, including working with NGOs (such as Ocean Wise and WWF), and continuously improving Sodexo's sustainable seafood strategy.
Sodexo’s Sustainable Seafood Policy
To meet our commitment, Sodexo developed and launched its Sustainable Seafood Policy in 2011. The policy seeks to keep fish in the sea as well as seafood on its menus and catalogs, preserving jobs, satisfying customers, providing nutritional well-being and offering environmental benefits. The sustainable seafood policy seeks to ensure that throughout Sodexo’s supply chain, the right processes are in place to guarantee ample fish stocks for the future.
Actions, partnerships and certification
As part of our commitment, we are working with suppliers and external stakeholders to set standards, establishing universal methodologies that can be scaled across the entire enterprise, and measuring and auditing programs and compliance.
Expert partners play an integral role. Sodexo is the only food service provider to have signed a worldwide agreement with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)* on certification for wild-caught fish, which is now being rolled out, and in 2010 signed a technical agreement with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) that covers both aquaculture and wild-caught seafood and agricultural policies.
* Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization, which offers a certification program for maintaining healthy fish stocks and reducing ecosystem impacts of fisheries for wild-caught fish.
Assuring high standards in aquaculture
Although aquaculture – or fish-farming – has often been thought a solution to dwindling wild fish stocks, there are many considerations including social issues, animal welfare (e.g. overstocking of fish-rearing ponds), impacts on biodiversity (effluent levels and escapees), the use of antibiotics, and the origin and quantity of the fish feed used.
Working closely with its suppliers, independent experts and accreditation bodies, Sodexo goes to great lengths to verify the responsible sourcing of its farmed fish. By adopting standards set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the Global Aquaculture Alliance and GlobalGAP, Sodexo can guarantee the sustainable production of aquaculture products and that the necessary farming practices are in place to preserve the whole ecosystem.
Site visits and strict controls
Sodexo’s buyers not only look at the suppliers’ practices, but also visit the farms, applying a strict methodology to ascertain that the seafood is being produced in the right ways, from hatcheries to growing ponds and production lines.
Vertically integrated suppliers are favored for this reason as they offer greater oversight of the entire chain, resulting in better traceability. Buyers also look for producers to meet credible aquaculture certification and eco-labeling (such as ASC), and meet international benchmarks, routinely conducting audits to assess the supply, farm and factory.