They are also key raw materials for our pet food products, which is why we work hard to ensure these raw materials 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.
Another challenge in sourcing seafood is identifying the precise sources for fish. Pet food, our main use of these raw materials, primarily uses fish by-products – the remnants left after fillets have been removed for human consumption. Typical traceability mechanisms for whole fish are already 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 and responsible labor practices. Our aim is to verify that the fish and seafood we source come from fisheries and farms meets 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 fishery from where the fish originated, along with the fishing practices used. We provide seafood purchasing information to our independent, nonprofit 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, 83Kb).
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 transshipment at sea. 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.
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 NGOs – Verité, which specializes in tackling labor abuses in supply chains, and the Issara Institute, which provides workers with grievance mechanisms to address these challenges.
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 transshipment at sea (transferring goods from one vessel to another while in transit) - a significant risk factor for labor abuses. We are now working with our suppliers, who have committed to delivering on this.
We have also partnered with other industry players, The J.M. Smucker Company and Mars Petcare, to fund two further projects. The first was to improve the conditions of fishermen on vessels with our supplier Thai Union, and the second worked to develop and implement legally binding illustrated contracts. Offering contracts in an illustrated form helps tackle language barriers and promotes simplicity, understanding and transparency.
We have initiated a partnership with The FAIR Hiring Initiative (TFHI) to conduct capacity-building for ethical and fair recruitment for agencies and employers enrolled in TFHI's On The Level certification program pilot. This partnership aims to support an increase in the pool of responsible recruitment agents and therefore, responsibly recruited workers in the industry.