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Overview of the Seafood Stewardship Index

Recently we completed a research paper that takes a look at seafood companies. It looks at the way they operate in relation to their impact on sustainability. It’s called “Seafood Stewardship Index: Evaluating the Strategies and Sustainability Performance of Keystone Actors in the Seafood Industry.” The findings were quite informative.

Seafood Stewardship Index: The Context

Without exception, climate change is exacerbating the world’s food crisis. In 2019, seafood contributed around 17% of meat consumption worldwide. In lower-middle-income countries, it’s about 23% and more than 50% in Asia and Africa. For 2020, Southeast Asia’s contribution to the world’s total fishery production was approximately 21.6%. This includes Thailand, Indonesia, Vietnam and the Philippines. In acknowledging the global crisis, consumers started to question and demand sustainable-sourced seafood. On that note, have you ever wondered how the seafood industry measures the sustainability performance of seafood companies?

What we did

In accordance with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs), SDG14 (Life Below Water) addresses the need to shift focus to transforming the current paradigm in fishery management into a more sustainable outlook. To achieve this, it makes sense to tackle the seafood industry since it plays a huge role in this discourse. We benchmarked the sustainability performance of influential seafood companies using the Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI) as a measuring tool. This allowed us to evaluate the company performance across a broad spectrum of interest areas, in alignment with the SDGs. These include governance & strategy, ecosystems, social responsibility and traceability, to reflect a level of alliance with UN SDGs. 

The THRIVE Project Ocean Governance Task Team conducted an investigation to measure the sustainability performance. We did this by assessing 30 of the most influential seafood companies. These companies are keystone actors in the seafood industry and are instrumental in this evaluation study using SSI. THRIVE Project adopted the THRIVE Framework and used the THRIVE Platform to obtain a tangible score called the Sustainability Performance Index (SPI). From there, we further analyse the scores in conjunction with the companies’ business models to find out the relationship between the two. 

Why it’s important

You might wonder, “What does this have anything to do with solving the climate crisis?” The seafood industry is not only about food production, but it also encompasses several environmental and social challenges. Conversely, this ranges from animal welfare policy, biodiversity and ecosystem threats, overfishing, antibiotic resistance, human rights violations and unethical labour practices. The UN SDGs address most of these and put forth calls for action from all nations. 

It’s clear that the level of transparency and disclosure is one of the keys that determine an organisation’s performance. Even more so in this case when it comes to demonstrating and strengthening your company’s sustainability performance across many areas. We can only begin to tackle climate issues once everyone has come to terms with a simple fact. The fact that the interconnectedness of environmental, social, economic and cultural aspects is multidisciplinary in nature. Therefore, it’s crucial to embrace a multidisciplinary approach in an effort to overcome the challenges posed by such a multidisciplinary sphere. 

Are you keen on keeping yourself environmentally informed? Do you want to become a supporter of something that could make a difference? If you’re curious about how leading organisations are evaluated, we invite you to read THRIVE’s whitepaper. The paper reveals which seafood companies have the highest sustainability performance. It also highlights the importance of corporate social responsibility that these influential companies must have in paving the path towards sustainability.



  • Hui Qin Yeoh

    Hui Qin has a Bachelor of Science (Honours) in Aquatic Science, a Master of Marine Science and Management and a Master of Environmental Science. She has previously worked as an aquarist in aquariums and is always looking to pursue her interests in the environmental, social and sustainability sector.