People at Hong Kong fish market

UK support helps new Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition to launch

Following the success of the Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) in the UK, a similar industry initiative will be launched in Hong Kong, demonstrating how the collaborative model can be replicated around the world.

The Hong Kong Sustainable Seafood Coalition (HKSSC) has brought together suppliers, buyers, restaurants, hotels and retail outlets collaborating to promote seafood sustainability and address concerns over Illegal, unregulated and unreported fish products in the supply chain.

Like the original SSC, the Hong Kong-based coalition will work as a pre-competitive model and organisers have spent the past year engaging with businesses to create new voluntary codes of conduct on seafood sourcing and environmental claims for packaging and menus.

And while the Hong Kong coalition is unaffiliated with the original, ClientEarth, as secretariat to the UK SSC consulted to the new venture, offering expertise to adapt the organisational structure and come up with their own codes.

Benjamin So, the Chair of the HKSSC said, “The establishment of the Coalition serves a three-fold purpose. Firstly, as users of a critical natural resource, we have a duty to ensure its responsible use. In addition, by adopting the HKSSC code of conduct, members can address the increasing concern among Hong Kong consumers regarding the sustainability of marine populations. Last but not least, collective industry action will bring greater commercial certainty to the seafood business.

“We found the Sustainable Seafood Coalition model to be readily adaptable to our market and welcomed the consultation from ClientEarth in how we adapt our own version of the voluntary codes of conduct.”

Oliver Tanqueray from the SSC in the UK said: “Seeing the Sustainable Seafood Coalition model adapted for a market on the other side of the world is a vote of confidence in the model’s effectiveness and its ability to be replicated internationally. The world’s seafood supply chains are only as strong as their weakest link so this is about promoting raising the bar everywhere.

“We hope other seafood industries sit up and take notice. If you want to see a pre-competitive collaboration in your region, it’s time to get in touch.”

What is the SSC?

The Sustainable Seafood Coalition (SSC) is an association of businesses that sell seafood in the UK. We work together to agree voluntary industry standards on environmental sourcing and labelling, and collaborate to solve sustainability challenges. The codes of conduct that underpin the SSC were written by a cross-industry group including retailers, processors, brands and restaurants. ClientEarth acts as the secretariat of the SSC in the UK.

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Phillip Kalantzis Cope

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