Friday, December 24, 2010

De-coding eco-labels, flaws and inadequacies - Food&WaterWatch

Food&WaterWatch describes a number of flaws and inadequacies with eco-certification and eco-lables in their recent publication De-coding Seafood Eco-Labels: Why we need Public standards.

Two issues that stand out are whether the public or private sector should oversee eco-certification and the certification of flawed fisheries.

Private sector eco-certification, for example the program run by the Marine Stewardship Council, limits the public right to fully determine the standards and conditions related to the labeling of their own property, the fish in the ocean.  If governments and RFMO's lived up to their responsibility to ensure only sustainable fisheries are permitted, there would be no need for expensive private sector certification schemes to second-guess the process.

Certification of flawed fisheries on condition that they undertake to improve and become sustainable in the future is very controversial.  As Food&WaterWatch point out - this deception regarding a sustainable fishery can be exploited by "free-riders" who get to ride on the reputation of the label.   Nobody should purchase a Toyota that is provisionally deemed safe provided the company figures out a way of fixing that brake problem over the next couple of years!

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Seafood eco-labelling criticised

An interesting article by Clare Leschin-Hoar on the website on 8 December draws attention to a recent publication by Food and Water Watch on De-Coding Seafood Eco-Labels: Why We Need Public Standards.

Clare notes that among the concerns expressed by Food and Water Watch are the certification of fisheries that have only pledged improvements over ones that meet all criteria, the high costs of certification which leads to a pay-to-play environment, and the predominant use of labels as marketing tools.  Concern is also expressed about groups such as the Marine Stewardship Council setting sustainability standards rather than governments.