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  • Seafood certification: Moving from assurance to engagement

    on social and labour issues Experiences from BAP, ASC and ASIC presented by Birgitte Krogh-Poulsen, Independent

    Social development Consultant

    At the Seafood Ethics Common Language Group meeting, London 24 January 2018

  • Social issues require engagement

    Question marks over certification moving beyond certification

    Perhaps not a question of certification or not rather a question HOW certification is viewed and developing certification to make sure it stays relevant

    Seeing certification merely as an assurance that nothing bad is taking place wont do!

    Rather, certification can be one tool in the tool box to push a labour and social rights agenda and it can help change behaviour!

    What can we learn from existing certification programmes?

  • Pushing for change

    To change behaviour, certification must be a seen as a process not a tick-box exercise!

    So, preparations and follow-up (at farm/factory etc. level) for an audit are just as important as the audit itself

    Need to acknowledge what the (common) difficult areas are - and they may seem quite minor (e.g. working hours in farms)

    Need to recognise that the small stuff (e.g. gender wage gaps or working hours) may slippery slope, paving way for big issues (e.g. forced labour)

    Need to recognise that were not just looking at poor countries (as audit non-conformances show very clearly)

  • The logic: possible drivers Unsafe

    working conditions

    Narratives: Better of here than with no work Lower wages

    for migrant workers

    No contracts, longer hours for migrant workers

    Forced labour

  • Treat the problem not the symptoms!

    Fundamental livelihoods and opportunities

    Fair working conditions and safe migration

    A (socially) sustainable seafood industry

  • What exactly is the problem?

    Examples of common issues across species, location etc. derived from ASC and BAP audits: Working hours standard working hours vs peak

    demand and farming cycles what is an acceptable working week?

    Freedom of association in environments where this is not allowed/not institutionalised what can individual operations do?

  • What exactly is the problem?

    Discrimination this is often insidious and deeply culturally rooted how to detect it and address it when it is seen as the way thing are?

    Young workers how to make sure they are old enough for what they do? When does youth employment turn into child labour? Law vs culture

    Occupational safety and health e.g. how to make sure that all workers are informed and stick with the rules when the boss is not around?

    Photo: BAP

  • How to move the agenda and change practices?

    ASC: making all audit reports public

    All ASC audit documentation is publicly available, with names of companies, managers, auditors and certification organisations on the ASC website:

    Promotes transparency and accountability on the part of everyone involved both when they do well and not so well!

    Makes available a knowledge bank where farmers can see who else is facing similar challenges and where service providers can find information on services and niches that may need attention

    Can break down stereo-typical images of social and labour issues as the result of poverty only

  • How to move the agenda and change practices?

    BAP: Teaming up with the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation (RAF) to provide information to go beyond compliance

    Not conforming to BAP standards is

    often the result of not knowing about an issue or how to change practices.

    Farmers need easily accessible information! RAF offers an on-line training course on labour rights and social responsibility in aquaculture

    Not directly linked to BAP, the course goes further than the standard in some places pushing for change and encouraging additional steps, offering ways to think about issues and resources to learn more, draw on local expertise etc.

  • How to move the agenda and change practices?

    Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC): two-tiered certification ASIC operates with two tiered system: Basic requirements: conforming with national

    laws, main principles in international conventions Next level: going the extra mile and adding

    initiatives, for example to prevent child labour in local communities or tackling underlying attitudes that fuel discrimination flexibility in initiatives

    In-built process towards engagement, improvement and changes to practises certification is not the end-point but the beginning!

  • How to move the agenda and change practices?

    BAP: Up-coming social impact study This presentation only scratches the surface! We need to understand more about the potential and limitations

    of certification to induce, support and sustain behaviour change In 2018, BAP will start a social impact assessment, using data from

    audits and undertaking consultations with multiple stakeholders to understand what and how BAP certification has done and not done to promote socially responsible production and consumption

  • Thank you! Any questions? Birgitte Krogh-Poulsen Skype b.k.Poulsen Phone +4521674530

    Seafood certification: Moving from assurance to engagement on social and labour issuesSocial issues require engagementPushing for changeThe logic: possible driversTreat the problem not the symptoms!What exactly is the problem?What exactly is the problem?How to move the agenda and change practices?How to move the agenda and change practices?How to move the agenda and change practices?How to move the agenda and change practices?Slide Number 12Slide Number 13


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