The Global Seafood Supply Chain and the Importance of Transparency
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rfxcel transparency in the global seafood supply chain

The Importance of Transparency in the Global Seafood Supply Chain

This is the first of a global seafood supply chain Transparency Trilogy. Check back later this week for the second and third installments, as well as other food and beverage news!

The seafood you buy at your grocery store or eat at a restaurant made its way to you through one of the most fragmented food supply chains on the planet. The global seafood supply chain is like, if we may, an octopus: It’s many arms are spread out into international waters, are wrapped around waterways within nations’ borders, embrace millions of workers at all social strata, and move up and down through a notoriously opaque and difficult-to-manage supply chain.

For these and other reasons, most notably intense supply/demand and price pressure, the worldwide call for transparency in the global seafood supply chain has gotten louder and louder. From international environmental and conservation groups all the way to final consumers, the chorus is for better management, sustainability, and transparency.

rfxcel is committed to transparency in every supply chain — food and beverage, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, and government. This is why we’re proud to have been invited to sign a letter of support for an initiative put forth by The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST, or “the Dialogue”). Let’s talk about this and other important programs that want to bring transparency — and much more — to the global seafood supply chain.

The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability

The GDST is “an international, business-to-business platform established to advance a unified framework for interoperable seafood traceability practices.” It brings together seafood stakeholders and civil society experts to develop interoperable industry standards. Its goals include improving the reliability of product information, reducing the cost of traceability, helping minimize risk in the supply chain, and facilitating long-term social and environmental sustainability.

rfxcel was invited to be a signatory to its GDST 1.0 Standards. Launched on March 16, 2020, these standards aim to harness the power of data to support traceability and methods to guarantee that seafood products are sourced legally.

GDST 1.0 has two objectives:

  1. Harmonize the data standards so all supply chain actors can share data. To make interoperability possible, it calls for all nodes to create Electronic Product Code Information Services (EPCIS) events. (EPCIS is a GS1 standard that allows trading partners to share information about products as they pass through a supply chain.)
  2. Define the key data elements that trading partners must capture and share to ensure the supply chain is free from illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and to collect relevant data for resource management.

The Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration

Tuna is a universally popular protein, found on both the shelves of your local supermarket and at fine restaurants serving high-end sashimi. By 2014, the sector was catching 5 million tons of commercial tuna species worth almost $40 billion. Not surprisingly, such intense demand has put a huge strain on the species and marine systems in general.

The Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration is dedicated to “stopping illegal tuna from coming to market.” Under the aegis of the World Economic Forum (WEF), which believes traceability and transparency is one of the best ways to ensure a sustainable commercial future for tuna fishing,

the Declaration establishes a set of actionable standards and brings together companies, traders, government bodies, and civil organizations. A non-legally binding declaration, it focuses on implementation of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14, specifically Target 14.4, which is worth quoting in full:

By 2020, effectively regulate harvesting and end overfishing, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing and destructive fishing practices and implement science-based management plans, in order to restore fish stocks in the shortest time feasible, at least to levels that can produce maximum sustainable yield as determined by their biological characteristics

The Global Tuna Alliance

The Global Tuna Alliance is dedicated to improving the sustainability of the tuna sector. An independent group of retailers and tuna supply chain companies, it supports the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration commitments to tuna traceability, socially responsible tuna supply chains, environmentally responsible tuna sources, and government partnerships. It supports developing harvest strategies for tuna fisheries, avoiding products yielded from IUU fishing, and progressing work on human rights in tuna fisheries.

rfxcel is part of the transparency solution in the global seafood supply chain

We’re excited to be part of the team working on the GDST 1.0 Standards. It’s our mission to optimize traceability, transparency, efficiency, and quality so supply chain stakeholders and consumers alike can reap the benefits. We are definitely part of the solution.

For seafood and all other F&B supply chains, the latest version of our signature rfxcel Traceability System (rTS) is the most complete and flexible raw materials and finished goods traceability solution for the industry. Our rfxcel MobileTraceability app can track any batch, movement, and handler at any location, putting the power of a digital supply chain at your fingertips. And with our rfxcel Integrated Monitoring (rIM) solution, supply chain actors can see their products in real time and mine rich unit-level data about more than a dozen environmental conditions.

Learn more about these and our other solutions for F&B here. And be sure to visit again soon for the second part of our seafood supply chain transparency trilogy.

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