e-book Creating Food Futures: Trade, Ethics and the Environment (Corporate Social Responsibility)

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Cathy Rozel Farnworth

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Drawing upon inspiring examples of innovative food chains across the globe, Creating Food Futures shows you what is being done and what more could be attempted. Read more We provide complimentary e-inspection copies of primary textbooks to instructors considering our books for course adoption.

Stay on CRCPress. Preview this Book. Add to Wish List. Close Preview. Toggle navigation Additional Book Information. For instance, the Goldilocks frameworks puts forward four key principles 1 Credible data; 2 Actionable data; 3 Responsible data; and 4 Transportable Data [ 47 ].

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Finally, step 4 categories on CSR strategies were chosen based on a review of the CSR and private governance literature, and a preliminary analysis of the data. We chose to look at five broad categories of common CSR activities, including supply chain control, internal improvements, partnerships, guiding government, philanthropy and awareness Table 5. First, companies may implement CSR through supply chain management or supply chain control, using tools such as supplier codes of conduct [ 48 , 49 ] and purchasing policies [ 50 , 51 ].

Second, companies may focus their efforts on the improvement of their own internal practices by implementing new protocols through codes of conducts, policies and certification. A fourth approach companies can take, especially in a sector like fisheries, where shared resources are ultimately under the management of governments, is to engage or guide governments through advocacy and participation in policy making [ 51 , 54 ].

Lastly, companies can also implement CSR through philanthropic activities such as donations to charities or employee volunteer programs [ 55 ]. Large seafood suppliers are often seafood companies that are typically vertically integrated and involved in one or more value chain activity, including processing, importing, branding and marketing of fishery products and sometimes fishing, and controlling large parts of seafood value chains [ 56 ].

Moreover, top tier companies in a sector are generally expected to be a model and leadership for business model innovation, including CSR-related aspects. Therefore, these companies are perceived by some as important to engage for driving change in seafood value chains. Looking at the CSR practices of large seafood suppliers can help us gain a better understanding of the current role and responsibilities that mid-chain seafood companies are taking to improve seafood value chains, and reflect on their contribution.

In order to characterize those companies further, we reviewed which value chain activities they are involved in, based on the information available on their individual websites Table 6. Almost all the companies 22 are involved in processing activities and, 13 companies are involved in at least three value chain activities, thus showing extensive vertical integration. Nine companies appeared to be directly involved in fishing operations. This section may be divided by subheadings.

It should provide a concise and precise description of the experimental results, their interpretation as well as the experimental conclusions that can be drawn. CSR visions were either indirectly expressed in the form of a CSR action plan, CSR policy or sustainability strategy, or directly included in the corporate mission and vision. How companies presented their stakeholder engagement efforts varied, with some being more specific and organizing formal stakeholder dialogues events e.

Companies with CSR committees typically include the president, CEO or executive board on the committee, or report to them directly. General environmental issues was the issue for which most companies 9 set specific targets e.

Only one company Thai Union had specific targets for health and safety aspects measured through quantifiable indicators such as lost-time injury frequency rate per hours worked. In general, monitoring claims were often not followed by transparent reporting, except for general environmental aspects. Several companies claimed to be ISO certified, a standard that requires environmental monitoring systems to be in place.


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All five types of activities were found to be used to address sustainable fisheries, with the most common ones being supply chain control and internal improvements Table 8. Some companies claimed to have a due diligence process in place, such as supplier mapping and assessment. Changes to internal practices mostly consisted of implementing better traceability, improving fishing practices, such as bycatch reduction, and on-board monitoring or becoming MSC certified for companies engaged in fishing.

Depending on the fishery, companies were found to engage with governments at local, national and regional levels by participating in fishery councils e. Philanthropic and awareness activities included organizing sustainable seafood events, financing FIPs and turtle conservation programs. Many Japanese companies also have their own foundations, some of them working to promote sustainable fisheries and seafood consumption. Seafood companies involved in fishing activities mentioned supporting science-based management through improved reporting and monitoring, whereas other seafood companies claimed that their purchasing decisions are based on science-based fish stock assessments.

Other ways to engage with science was through direct financial support to research projects e. One recent approach has been the formation of an alliance between large seafood companies facilitated by the Stockholm Resilience Centre Seafood Business for Ocean Solutions. Supplier codes of conduct typically targeted human and labour rights issues in processing plants e. Many companies claimed using international principles and guidelines such as International Labour Organization ILO standards and UN conventions to develop their codes of conducts. Companies reported that the supplier assessment process was either done internally i.

Based on supplier assessments, companies then decided whether to engage with suppliers for making improvements, or to cease the business relationship. Companies mentioned several frameworks, tools and standards such a those offered by Sedex, an organization that offers risk assessment tools and an online platform where suppliers self report. Companies also reported using the Ethical Trade Initiative ETI , a membership-based organization that requires its members to sign on to its code and principles. ETI members must report transparently about their activities and to the ETI board, which then provides feedback and advice for improvement.

Other frameworks companies mentioned include the Business Social Compliance Initiative BSCI which is similar to Sedex, offering a standardized code of conduct, implementation methodology, auditing and engagement tools. With regards to fishing activities, one company Thai Union had developed a Vessel Code of Conduct to be used for third party audits in its supply chains, while companies involved in fishing activities usually wrote that they were committed to good working conditions onboard fishing vessels e. Another tool mentioned was the Seafood Slavery Risk Tool, developed specifically for the seafood industry and which provides businesses with an assessment methodology and resources for implementing improvements in labour practices.

As required by the UK Modern Slavery Act , a few of the European companies present their strategy to ensure slavery and human trafficking are not occurring in their value chains. However, there are no legally binding requirements to conduct due diligence, and no penalties for non-compliance. Four of them are members of the Global Seafood Task Force, a multi-stakeholder initiative that aims to develop guidelines and auditable standards for responsible recruitment practices and working conditions on board fishing vessels.

One company has partnered with other industry members, the Thai government and NGOs to specifically improve the Thai seafood industry Thai Union. Finally, one company Bumble Bee Foods is a member of the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative GSSI , an organization that benchmarks certification standards against internationally agreed guidelines, and which has now recently expanded its scope to include social standards. Nineteen companies mention at least one activity related to community engagement, mostly consisting of internal improvements and philanthropy Figure 4.

Internal improvements focused on employee development and services, providing jobs to local communities for those companies involved in processing , and also employee engagement and promotion of diversity e. Philanthropy was the most common approach to community engagement, and involved donations to local charities especially organizations focused on youth education, helping communities stricken by natural disasters, and food banks , employee volunteering activities and also contributions to cultural institutions and events.

In this paper we sought to analyze what the largest seafood companies are doing in terms of CSR, and to provide commentary and analysis on the potential for these CSR practices to drive change.

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In this section we discuss this gap between vision and action, and the extent to which the main CSR activities of the five Ps: Power; Practices; Partnerships; Public policy; and Philanthropy, are being used in service of the sustainable seafood movement. Similarly, more companies communicated CSR informally through their corporate website, rather than through a structured CSR report.

One possible explanation for this lag could be that high-level commitments are deemed to be sufficient to build a positive reputation and corporate image, while setting more specific goals would be too difficult or constraining. Our results suggest that CSR among large seafood companies, at least partly, consists of image and impression management. That being said, setting specific CSR targets may also be challenging for several valid reasons. For instance, many of the issues which seafood companies face, such as fisheries management and labour issues, are partially out of their control and are defined by high uncertainties, especially in countries where regulations are weak, and any enforcement capacity is limited.

Moreover, seafood value chains can be long and complex, spread over many different countries, making it even more challenging to monitor and control production practices [ 60 ]. Lastly, many social and environmental impacts are qualitative in nature, and are interlinked in a complex way within a broader system or variable. This and a lack of consistent social and environmental accounting methodology makes it difficult for companies to assess their impacts and set specific goals [ 17 , 18 ].

This may, at least partially, explain why companies may be more likely to have explicit and quantified targets for internal aspects such as energy efficiency and health and safety, than for sustainable fisheries and social aspects. The absence of explicit and quantified targets also explains why only a handful of companies had monitoring systems in place. Lastly, the general absence of specific targets and monitoring may explain why so few companies transparently reported on progress. One exception was for human and labour rights aspects, which over half the companies monitored, but only four made audit reports about it publicly available.

Again, it could be that as a result of human and labour rights scandals, companies are now expected to have due diligence processes in place to ensure violations are not taking place in their supply chains, without yet having the capacity and systems in place to comprehensively monitor and report on social issues in their supply chains [ 42 ]. Less than half of the companies noted having a formal stakeholder engagement process and a dedicated CSR staff or committee.

It is important to note that is hard for companies to succeed in recognizing their CSR visions without any dedicated CSR staff. Similarly, if stakeholder engagement is not in place, it is unlikely that CSR issues are fully integrated in business activities, as stakeholders can allow companies to ensure their CSR strategies align with stakeholder interests.