Seafood Product Standards

EU Buyer Requests - Fishery

Besides market requirements required by EU law or individual EU country law such as regulations on food hygiene and contaminants in food, there are also additional requirements set by companies, most notably in the retail sector. MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) certification and Friends of the Sea labelling are rapidly growing in importance for seafood and GLOBALGAP for farmed fishery products. For this segment of the sector it is also important to note that an EU-wide organic standard for fish farming has been released in 2010. Further, many EU businesses, associations and multi-stakeholder initiatives apply a Code of Conduct, of which the most practiced one is the FAO Code of Conduct for responsible fisheries.

Besides environmental sustainability considerations, operational health and safety and human rights of workers and producers are also getting a lot of attention. One of these initiatives that has become important for especially supermarkets is Business Social Compliance Initiative(BSCI) which committed to improving working conditions in the global supply chain, including the food and primary production sector.

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ILO Fundamental Labour Standards

Social issues have become increasingly important in international trade. Critical stakeholders in the EU, such as consumers, NGOs and the media, forced EU governments and the EU private sector to develop and implement strategies promoting the improvement of working conditions. As a result:

  1. a) Many countries supplying to the EU ratified most of the ILO Conventions, obligating themselves to implement the established standards into their national policies;
  2. b) Many companies include the ILO Working Standards in their CSR policies in the form of a code of conduct or through sustainability certification that may often include (several of) the ILO Labour Standards.

Compliance with the ILO Labour Standards is in many cases a buyer requirement for importing into the EU. Adopting (part of) the ILO Labour Standards can therefore offer you as a supplier competitive advantage when exporting into the EU.

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ISO 26000

If you are an exporter of products or services to the EU, you have to take into account that you can be requested to meet certain social responsibility requirements. ISO 26000 is a framework of guidelines that can help you to map out and address sustainability issues regarding your organisation. Although ISO 26000 is not certifiable, references to the guidelines in various ways are increasingly common.

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Packaging- Sustainability issues and trends

Packaging involves an important part of the cost of a product. For example, average food packaging costs represent about 9 percent of the retail price of food products. With current legislation and a strong focus in the media and consumers awareness , packaging is becoming an increasingly important issue to all European businesses..

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Sustainability Reporting GRI

In a sustainability report an organization publicly communicates its economic, environmental, and social performance. Sustainability reporting is relevant for companies that want to disclose and measure their social, environmental and governance performance besides their economic performance. For Sri Lankan suppliers of products and services to EU customers sustainability reporting can be used to show the sustainability of your objectives and operations.

More and more organizations consider a sustainability report as a serious management tool contributing to the dialogue with internal and external stakeholders, shareholders and investors. As sustainability reporting is not mandatory, the quality and format of the reports vary greatly.The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) offers a standard framework to follow that is widely used for sustainability reporting.

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