Sustainability

Sustainability FAQ

1


Sustainable Seafood




1.1
What is sustainable seafood?
1.2
Why is sustainable seafood important?





2


About WWF and John Wests Partnership 




2.1
What is WWF, what does it do, and where does it operate?
2.2
What will John West & WWF’s partnerships achieve?
2.3
What is John West’s overall approach to sustainability?
2.5
Why has John West partnered with WWF?
2.6
What are the key aims of the John West & WWF partnership?
2.7
What changes have already occurred to the John West seafood range?
2.8 
What does the partnership between WWF and John West mean for customers? 
2.9 
How will John West be working with suppliers? 
2.10 
How is the Australian seafood industry foreseen to develop over the next five to 10 years with the introduction of seafood sustainability policies by major suppliers such as John West?
2.11 
When did the partnership start and what is its duration?
2.12
Is the partnership with John West limited to Australia?
2.13
Where can I get more information about this partnership?





3


Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)




3.1
What is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?
3.2
Why does WWF support Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?
3.3
What is John West’s commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?
3.4
Which of John West’s products are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified?
3.5
How do I know a product is certified by MSC?





4


Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)




4.1
What is the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)?
4.2
Why does WWF support Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)?
4.3
What is John West’s commitment to ASC?





5


Greenpeace Canned Tuna Ranking Guide




5.1
What does it all mean and how is John West Australia involved
5.1.1
Does your company have a Sustainability Policy?
5.1.2
What fishing methods are used?
5.1.3
What Tuna Species are used?
5.1.4
What information appears on your labelling?
5.1.5
Is your company showing support for marine reserves and equitable tuna policies?
5.1.6



What about the use of illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing?





1


Sustainable Seafood




1.1
What is sustainable seafood?


Sustainable seafood comes from fisheries or aquaculture operations that do not threaten the survival of fish populations, damage the environment or incidentally have a negative impact on other species or habitats.

This means fish species are able to thrive in well-managed fisheries and are caught using best practice methods that reduce any potential unwanted bycatch particularly threatened, endangered and protected species such as dugongs, turtles, seals and dolphins.





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1.2
Why is sustainable seafood important?


Although our oceans are the principal livelihood for over 200 million people and provide 950 million with their primary source of protein, they are not an inexhaustible supply of food and other resources.

In fact, our oceans have been pushed to their limit due to:

  • Destructive fishing methods
  • Fishing gear causing the incidental catch of other species
  • Overfishing - approximately 87 per cent of marine fish populations worldwide are fully exploited, overexploited, depleted or recovering (FAO 2012)
  • Fishing policies that lead to government subsidies and fuel unsustainable commercial fisheries

By making the choice to buy and eat only sustainable seafood, humans can still consume seafood while contributing to the long term health of our oceans. Choosing sustainable seafood not only preserves our oceans but also supports those fisheries operating sustainably and encourages others to do so.






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2


About WWF and John Wests Partnership




2.1
What is WWF, what does it do, and where does it operate?


WWF is one of the world’s largest and most respected independent conservation organisations, with over five million supporters and a global network active in over 100 countries.

WWF’s mission is to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature by:
  • conserving the world’s biological diversity
  • ensuring that the use of renewable natural resources is sustainable
  • promoting the reduction of pollution and wasteful consumption.





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2.2
What will John West & WWF’s partnerships achieve?


By 2015, John West will source its seafood where possible, from:

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries
  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farms.

If these products are not available, we will use:

  • responsibly sourced seafood products as advised by WWF, or
  • seafood products sourced from a fishery or aquaculture operation undergoing an improvement project recognised by WWF.





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2.3
What is John West’s overall approach to sustainability?


As the largest branded seafood supplier in Australia and New Zealand, John West is dedicated to playing a role in the long-term health of our oceans, which is why we have developed the John West Sustainability Commitment – Our Oceans Forever.

This commitment is based on 3 core beliefs developed to ensure long-lasting change: Respect for Resources, Commitment to Innovation and Passion for People
  1. Respect for Resources commits John West to responsible and ethical sourcing of its fish supply and working alongside national and international bodies to implement practical solutions.
  2. Commitment to Innovation will ensure John West works closely with its fish suppliers to continually improve and develop sustainable fishing practices as well as develop new products that will allow its customers to make informed purchasing decisions.
  3. Passion for People looks at the human impact of the fishing industry from our customers making informed seafood purchasing decisions to the wellbeing of the fishing communities we engage with.





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2.5
Why has John West partnered with WWF?


John West recognises WWF as one of the world’s most trusted and recognised brands and one of the leading authorities on marine sustainability. Because of this, WWF is well placed to advise John West and help engage all involved in the seafood industry - including producers, industry, government, organisations and customers - to encourage positive change.

John West has engaged WWF for expert advice and guidance on the sustainability of their seafood offer, both wild caught and farmed.






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2.6
What are the key aims of the John West & WWF partnership?


This partnership is seeking to improve the sustainability of John West’s seafood supply chain, educate consumers about responsibly sourced seafood, and help consumers make informed purchases through the use of clear and accurate labelling of all seafood products.





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2.7
What changes have already occurred to the John West seafood range?



As the largest branded supplier of seafood products in Australia, we have been working hard to ensure a consistent supply of responsibly sourced seafood across our entire range. Our primary focus is to ensure that all John West canned tuna and salmon is sourced only from fisheries using environmentally responsible methods.  This means working closely with our WWF advisors to make sure that by the end of 2015, we will only source our seafood from:

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries; or
  • Aquaculture Stewardship certified farms; or

Where MSC/ASC products which meet John West Australia’s product specifications are not available, we will only use:

  • Responsibly sourced seafood products as advised by WWF, or
  • Seafood products sourced from a fishery or aquaculture operation undergoing an improvement project recognised by WWF
The traceability of our products is of utmost importance. Since 2012 our tuna labels have been updated to include species, catch method and catch area. By January 2015, John West Australia will go a step further and launch our new traceability device on all canned tuna and salmon products which will allow consumers to easily access information on the product they are purchasing via an on-can code. 

From December 2015, John West is proud to supply MSC certified sustainable purse seine caught skipjack tuna across Australia and New Zealand. 





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2.8
What does the partnership between WWF and John West mean for customers?


John West is committed to offering more responsibly sourced seafood to customers. Furthermore, John West has committed to ensure traceability of all its seafood products and remove any species that are of immediate concern.

By 2015, John West will source its seafood where possible, from:

  • Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries
  • Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified farms.

If these products are not available, we will use:

  • responsibly sourced seafood products as advised by WWF, or
  • seafood products sourced from a fishery or aquaculture operation undergoing an improvement project recognised by WWF.

This will provide customers with the peace of mind, trust and confidence that the seafood they are buying is coming from well-managed fisheries that are not having unacceptable impacts on the marine environment.






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2.9
How will John West be working with suppliers?


In consultation with WWF and MRAG Asia Pacific, John West Australia has conducted a full seafood supplier review process to ensure traceability of our entire product range. This information has allowed us to evolve our supply chain model and implement Fishery Improvement Plans (FIPs) where required.

We’ve also been working closely with our supply chain network to ensure we meet our 2015 commitment and have put contractual measures in place that will see all of our suppliers source only FAD Free purse seine caught Skipjack tuna from the World Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO).

John West Australia currently sources all our purse seine caught tuna from the WCPO where progressive conservation measures have been put in place by the region’s management authority, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC). These measures include 100 per cent independent observer coverage on all purse seine vessels, a four-month ban annually on the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs) and strict controls on Illegal, Unregulated or Unreported (IUU) vessels.  

In addition to meeting their contractual obligations, our suppliers operate under the ProActive Vessel Register program, which subjects them to annual independent audits, and third party audits of their FAD Free program.





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2.10
How is the Australian seafood industry foreseen to develop over the next five to 10 years with the introduction of seafood sustainability policies by major suppliers such as John West?


John West hopes that the seafood industry will flourish and grow in a responsible and sustainable manner. We see better seafood traceability as an important part of this growth and providing customers with the comfort that they know where their fish is coming from and it is sourced sustainability.





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2.11
When did the partnership start and what is its duration?


The WWF and John West Sustainable Seafood Partnership commenced in February 2012.       





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2.12
Is the partnership with John West limited to Australia?


No – it includes John West products sold in New Zealand.





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2.13
Where can I get more information about this partnership?


You can visit the WWF-Australia website.





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3


Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)




3.1
What is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?


The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is a global, not for profit organisation working with fisheries, seafood companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental choice in seafood.

The MSC’s fishery certification program and the distinctive blue MSC seafood eco-label displayed on products recognise and rewards sustainable fishing.
MSC certifies fisheries, seafood products and restaurants when they meet MSC’s standards.

Fisheries must prove that their fishing activity is at a level which is sustainable for the fish population, that they minimise their environmental impact and they have a management system in place to respond to changing circumstances and maintain sustainability.

The MSC chain of custody standard for seafood traceability makes sure that the MSC label is only displayed on seafood from a MSC certified sustainable fishery. It means that consumers and seafood buyers can have confidence that the fish they are buying can be traced back to a fishery that meets the MSC environmental standard for sustainable fishing.

Restaurants can also be MSC certified if they can prove they source seafood from an MSC certified fishery and they meet the requirements of the MSC chain of custody for seafood traceability.





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3.2
Why does WWF support Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?


The MSC label gives you a simple way to identify – and purchase – fish from well-managed fisheries. If you buy, or request seafood that comes from responsible sources, you are helping to protect the marine environment and ensure that seafood is available for many years to come.
WWF considers MSC the most credible certification to ensure sustainable fisheries management.





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3.3
What is John West’s commitment to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)?


John West has committed to developing and implementing responsible sourcing policies that promote the MSC and ASC and their certified products. It is committed to sourcing MSC and ASC certified seafood, where it is available in sufficient quantities.

By working together, John West and WWF also aim to educate consumers that MSC certified products, along with ASC products, are a more responsible choice for seafood.
From December 2015, John West is proud to supply MSC certified sustainable purse seine caught skipjack tuna across Australia and New Zealand.






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3.4
Which of John West’s products are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified?


John West Australia has a long-standing relationship with the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and is a strong supporter of the MSC’s mission to encourage and promote the best sustainable and environmental choice in seafood. As of December 2015, John West purse seine caught tuna will become MSC certified purse seine caught tuna.






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3.5
How do I know a product is certified by MSC?


You can spot seafood that meets the MSC standard by looking for the distinctive blue MSC eco-label. This gives you a simple way to identify and purchase fish from sustainable sources.





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4


Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)




4.1
What is the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)?


The Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent, not for profit organisation established to manage global standards for responsible aquaculture.

The ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and food service companies, scientists, conservation groups and the public to promote the best environmental and social choice in responsibly farmed seafood.

Products that meet the ASC standard are certified as coming from a responsible aquaculture source and carry a distinctive ASC label.






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4.2
Why does WWF support Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)?


Globally, almost half (by volume) of the seafood we eat comes from aquaculture – the fastest growing food production system in the world – and aquaculture’s contribution is expected to continue to rise. As a conservation organisation that protects the world’s oceans and coastal habitats, WWF believes the seafood industry can improve its practices so the growth of the industry has little to no negative impact on the environment now and in the future.





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4.3
What is John West’s commitment to ASC?


John West is committed to increasing the responsibly sourced aquaculture seafood it supplies and sells and has a preference for purchasing ASC certified seafood.

By working together, John West and WWF aim to educate consumers that ASC certified products along with MSC products are a more responsible choice for seafood.





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5


Greenpeace Canned Tuna Ranking Guide




5.1
What does it all mean and how is John West Australian involved?


An increasing number of people are asking questions about where their food comes from. 

Annually Australian tuna companies like John West are sent a survey by Greenpeace and asked to answer a number of questions about our tuna sourcing. Greenpeace uses the responses they receive to rank canned tuna brands.

We are proud of what we are doing for the sustainability of tuna stocks and participated in this survey in an open and transparent manner.

Here is a summary of the answers we provided. We hope this information gives you a better understanding of the many complex issues around tuna sustainability.

The methodology of the Greenpeace tuna survey covered six main areas. 


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5.1.1
Does your company have a Sustainability Policy?


This criteria is checking to see whether a company has made a public commitment to sustainability and has effective policies in place to ensure products are produced sustainably.

What we’re doing

Our Sustainable Tuna Policy

At John West Australia, while we don’t have our own fishing fleet, we do play an active part in helping to protect the world’s marine resources by working closely with our suppliers and partners to ensure our supply chain shares our commitment to sustainable fishing.

The John West Sustainable Tuna Policy includes contractual measures that will see all of our suppliers source only FAD Free purse seine caught Skipjack tuna from the Western and Central Pacific Ocean (WCPO) in recognition of the progressive conservation measures put in place by the region's management authority. These include 100 per cent independent observers on all fishing vessels, a three month ban annually on the use of Fish Aggregation Devices (FADs), strict controls on Illegal, Unregulated or Unreported (IUU) vessels and support for the closure of the Pacific high seas pockets to purse seine fishing.

In addition to meeting their contractual obligations, our suppliers operate under the ProActive Vessel Register program, which subjects them to annual independent audits, and third party audits of their FAD free program.



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5.1.2
What fishing methods are used?


This criteria explores issues and makes judgments around fishing methods used by a company.

As you know, there is a lot of discussion around the environmental, social and economic impacts of various fishing methods. This is a very complex issue, which we will unpack for you. The Greenpeace criteria for the survey suggests that the ideal method for catching tuna is pole and line fishing or purse seine fishing without FADs as a secondary option.

These options are often presented as simple solutions, but this is not always the case.

What about pole and line?

Currently the pole and line fishing method represents only 10% of the world’s total tuna catch. Pole and line fishing depends on the availability of baitfish, which is released live into the sea to attract tuna schools.

A key concern for expanding pole and line fisheries to replace purse seine catches is the requirement of large amounts of bait to be harvested. This has sustainability implications which we believe need to be further researched. For further and more detailed information relating to pole and line fishing please refer to these papers:

Ensuring Sustainability of Livebait Fish
Replacing Purse Seining with Pole-and-Line Fishing in the Western Pacific: Some Aspects of the Baitfish Requirements

The following is an overview of key issues to be further considered:

  • Do certain regions have the ability to produce enough bait to support an expansion of pole and line fishing?
  • What impacts would an increase in the use of baitfish have on the marine environment? For instance, this would reduce the amount of forage available for larger fish species on which subsistence and commercial fisheries depend.
  • What impacts would this increase have on the multitude of small scale and subsistence and commercial fishing activities that currently produce food for villages and towns in these regions?
  • What fisheries management plans need to be in place to protect baitfish species?

What about FAD free?

All John West Australia tuna is caught FAD-Free.






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    5.1.3
    What Tuna Species are used?


    It is important to understand what tuna species are used because some species are seen as less sustainable than others. For example Bigeye are considered to be overfished.
     

    What we’re doing

    Around 95% of John West tuna products use the Skipjack tuna species, with the remaining 5 per cent using Tonggol tuna. Skipjack is considered to be the most sustainable tuna species available.






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      5.1.4
      What information appears on your labelling?


      This criteria looks at making information available to consumers, enabling them to make an informed decision at the time of purchase.

      What we’re doing

      In order to fulfil our commitment to have all John West Australia products responsibly sourced, the traceability of our products from catch to consumer is of utmost importance.

      Since September 2012 tuna labels have been updated to include species, catch method and catch area.






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        5.1.5
        Is your company showing support for marine reserves and equitable tuna policies?


        This criteria looks at whether a company is offering public support for the establishment of marine reserves (protected areas in which fishing has been restricted in the interest of conserving the natural environment). It also considers whether there are equitable tuna policies aimed at ensuring the livelihoods of fishermen.

        What we’re doing
        • John West publicly supports the use of marine reserves as a component of integrated marine resource management.
        • The work we will undertake with our WWF conservation projects will provide support and recognition both socially and economically to local communities where tuna is harvested.





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        5.1.6
        What about the use of illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing?


        This criteria looks at whether a company guarantees their supply chain does not include operators that engage in illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing. Illegal fishing takes place where vessels operate in violation of the laws of a fishery. Unreported fishing is either unreported or misreported to the relevant authorities. Unregulated fishing refers to fishing by vessels without nationality or vessels flying the flag of a country not party to the regional organisation governing that fishing area or species.
        • The most obvious impact of IUU fishing on developing countries is the direct loss of the value of the catches that could be taken by local fishermen.
        • IUU fishing has an impact on the sustainability of the ecosystem as IUU fishers rarely comply with the regulations following by legitimate fisheries.
        • IUU fishing may lead to reduced food security in communities heavily dependent on fish as a source of protein.
        What we’re doing
        • John West does not source its tuna from operators that engage in illegal, unregulated or unreported fishing.





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