The World Sustainability Organization (WSO) and The Good Food Institute (GFI) Sustainable Seafood Initiative announced a joint certification program to provide a Golden Standard for plant-based seafood producers, with the GFI stating, “This program is a pivotal opportunity for the nascent plant-based seafood industry to expand its visibility and impact.”
As announced at GFI India’s Smart Protein Summit, The Friend of the Sea Golden Standard is set to help alt seafood companies certify their products according to sustainable certification criteria of the WSO’s Friend of the Earth agriculture standards.
To obtain the certification, companies must meet the following requirements:
- A well organised environmental management procedure.
- A system to protect the ecosystem, with implementation of areas dedicated to the conservation of wild flora and fauna.
- The reduction in the use of chemically synthetic substances according to the principles of organic or integrated agriculture.
- Biological control, the rational use of water resources.
- Minimization of mechanical operations on the ground and its compaction.
- The use of energy from renewable resources.
- Control of gas emissions, greenhouse effect and the implementation of the systems to reduce them.
- Social responsibility.
GFI Sustainable Seafood Initiative Manager, Jen Lamy, explains: “Right now, we’re on track to see about a 30 percent increase in demand for fish and shellfish globally within about the next 10 years.” Concurrently, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization states that 90% of the global fish population is fully fished, overfished, or in crisis.
While the plant-based meat industry is worth $939 million, the alt-seafood industry is only worth 9.4 million. In this context, the new seafood certification program could be instrumental in increasing the market share of plant-based fish, as Jen Lamy continues: “We know consumers seem to be increasingly interested in buying sustainable seafood and they rely on certifying organizations (…). This certification will help them understand that plant-based seafood has a role.”
According to the organisation, alt seafood is set to experience significant growth in Asia in particular. “Seafood will be the fastest-growing category of animal protein over the next decade, with a significant proportion of that demand coming from Asia as incomes in the region continue to rise,” said GFI India Managing Director Varun Deshpande. “The growth of alternative seafood presents tremendous promise to address this demand sustainably, while simultaneously creating future-proof income for industry incumbents and farmers.”
The details of the Friend of the Sea Golden Standard for plant-based seafood can be found here