Elena Mosca, a spokesperson for the Friends of the Sea, a non-profit independent certification agency, told FoodNavigator-Asia that US and European retailers now consider third party sustainability certification a must for their suppliers.
“Retailers and companies and consumers are increasingly aware of environmental issues and willing to give preference to a product if certified sustainable,” Mosca said.
“In some countries, products are resold with an approx 5% margin, however in most cases, certification is necessary for sale and to reassure NGOs,” she added.
Friends of the Sea (FOS) has a certification process that fisheries, aquaculture producers, seafood processors, distributors and retailers can apply for. Fishmeal, fish oils and omega3 producers can also gain certification.
The agency said 45 seafood-exporting companies from Vietnam, China, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Australia and New Zealand have successfully applied for FOS certification.
Asia now more green-aware
“Asia is a major exporter to Europe and US, which are strongly environmentally aware. But consumers in major Asian hubs such as Singapore, Hong Kong, India, are also starting to demand greener products,” she said.
Mosca pointed out that some major retailers in Asia such as Cold Storage (Singapore) and GREAT Food Hall (Hong Kong) are already highlighting FOS certified products on their shelves.
“Major companies in China (including Tuna, Shrimps, Clams, Squid and Cuttlefish, Omega-3, Krill Oil, Anchovies fisheries) have products FOS certified or are undergoing audit,” she said.
“All the major 12 Thai Tuna companies have been successfully audited for traceability and are planning to resell FOS certified products. We expect interest to grow in the next few years, as China, Vietnam, India and other major players have engaged at improving their environmental performance,” she added.