Fish and seafood sourcing
We work hard to ensure that the raw materials we use for pet food products are produced sustainably.
We collaborate on innovative solutions to tackle the most pressing challenges faced by the seafood industry such as labor conditions and poor environmental practices, as well as illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
In addition, there are challenges related to identifying the precise sources for fish. Pet food products, our main use of these raw materials, primarily uses fish by-products – the cuts and trim left after fillets have been removed for human consumption. Typical traceability mechanisms for whole fish are insufficient, and sourcing by-products makes identifying the origins even more complex.
Our approach to improving our fish and seafood supply chain
Nestlé Purina's pet food products use fish by-products, an environmentally and socially responsible practice that uses all the protein sources of a fish while not competing with the human food supply.
We understand the importance of sourcing from fisheries and aquaculture farms with healthy fish harvests and responsible labor practices. Our aim is to verify that the fish and seafood we source come from fisheries and farms that meet our Responsible Sourcing Standard requirements or are progressing toward them through engagement in improvement projects.
To best identify the origins of fish products, our buyers work closely with their suppliers to collect relevant data. This includes information on the species, country of origin and the fishery from where the fish originated, along with the fishing practices used. We provide seafood purchasing information to our independent, non-profit partner, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP), to assess risk at the origin of our seafood supply. We publish this list to hold our suppliers and ourselves accountable and drive industry-wide transparency.
To hold our suppliers and ourselves accountable and drive industry-wide transparency, we have published the list of our seafood fishing zones in our supply chain and countries of origin (pdf, 80Kb).
Working with industry partners to improve fishing practices and sustainability
Illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing is a key environmental challenge facing us all. Nestlé reviews all the species caught to avoid seafood from IUU fishing practices or critically endangered or endangered species of fish (according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature Red List or listed under CITES Appendix I).
We also aim to ensure that none of our seafood purchases are caught with highly destructive fishing gear or methods and that they do not come from ‘no-take zones’, Marine Protected Areas or from vessels practicing trans-shipment at sea (transferring goods from one vessel to another while in transit). We then work with our suppliers on sourcing from origins employing responsible fishing practices in line with our standards.
To support transformation at an industry level, we are a Target 75 Champion with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP). Target 75 aims to ensure that 75% of world production in key sectors is, at a minimum, either sustainable or making regular, verifiable improvements.
- Our objective is to work with our supplier partners to achieve the highest standards possible in concert with our environmental, social and governance objectives for sustainably sourced seafood. Our goal is to highlight the multiple positive aspects of sustainable seafood consumption for our pets and the environment, including low-carbon footprint, wild, natural nutrition, lack of soil loss, lack of freshwater and antibiotic use (wild fisheries), and healthy, complete proteins.
- As an example of our efforts, Nestlé sponsors the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California in a research project called the Chilean Salmon Antibiotic Reduction Program. The objective is to reduce antibiotic use in Chilean salmon farms by half by 2025, thereby reducing the wider effects of their use on the environment and food chain.
- Nestlé is a member of the Global Roundtable on Marine Ingredients, a pre-market entity whose objective is to increase the availability of marine ingredients over the long term. The Roundtable was launched in October 2021 and is actively supporting capacity-building efforts in West Africa and Southeast Asia.
- Nestlé is proud to be working with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership on the development of a new program, The Bycatch Solutions Hub. It will be an online, interactive platform that aims to highlight voluntary, industry-led adoption of best practices to protect ocean wildlife.
Labor rights violations have been identified as key challenges within the fish and seafood supply chain, representing a particular risk for Nestlé in Thailand. Issues such as trafficking, forced labor, lack of grievance procedures, workplace conditions, and poor wages and benefits need to be addressed urgently.
Working with our partners, the Royal Thai Government, industry association the Seafood Taskforce and our suppliers, we have been taking action to address these challenges in our supply chain. We also work with two non-governmental organizations – Verité, which specializes in tackling labor abuses in supply chains, and Issara Institute, which provides workers with grievance mechanisms.
Among the actions we have taken are:
- Developing a business case for safe living and working conditions on vessels
- Deployment of Issara Institute’s worker voice and remediation tools throughout our supply chains
- Requiring responsible recruitment of workers into Thai seafood processing facilities in our supply chain and supporting several initiatives to extend this practice further upstream
To further improve conditions in our supply chain, we have banned trans-shipment at sea – a significant risk factor for labor abuses. We are now working with our suppliers, who have committed to delivering on this.