It is a rare thing for people around the world to come together and unite toward a common vision for the future. However, an exciting initiative from the United Nations is aiming to do just that on a scale never before seen. In this blog, we explain how we’ve stepped up to do our part.
In 2000, world leaders from 189 countries signed the United Nations Millennium Declaration, adopting 8 Millennium Development Goals aimed at reducing global poverty, hunger, and disease. Building on these original goals, in September of 2015, United Nations member countries came together to adopt a new set of development goals with three key objectives: end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all. The 17 goals created to achieve this broader mission were dubbed the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs, or the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development), each with specific targets–169 in total–to be met over an ambitious 15-year timeline. These goals touch on virtually all sectors, including the seafood industry.
Many diverse stakeholders, including industry actors, are increasingly making commitments towards and aligning strategies with the goals. North Atlantic and Bali Seafood International are proud to announce our own commitment to the SDGs, marking the first registered commitment from a seafood distributor.
Below is an overview of the three SDGs we’re focusing on, as well as the specific deliverables we hope to achieve.
A significant change from the previous Millennium Development Goals is the addition of a goal specifically focused on the world’s oceans. SDG 14 pledges to “conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources for sustainable development.” It focuses on ten specific targets for 2030, ranging in topic from pollution to ocean acidification to marine protected areas. At least five of these targets directly call for action pertaining to the seafood industry, including strengthening market access for artisanal fishermen and innovating mechanisms for sustainable fisheries management. For us, these targets couldn’t be more spot-on.
In addition to Life Below Water, one could hardly find a more relevant SDG for the seafood industry than SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. This SDG’s 11 targets focus on promoting the use of natural resources in a way that allows for viable ecosystems and better livelihoods. Given our work to increase value capture in the seafood supply chain, it’s only natural that we are zeroing in on the SDG 12 target pertaining to halving global food waste by 2030.
SDG 17: Partnerships for the Goals
While more subtle than the former two, the final SDG acknowledges that collaboration is vital for ultimately accomplishing the ambitious 2030 Agenda. More so than even the Millennium Development Goals, the SDGs are recognizing the importance of and seeking to convene all stakeholders–from governments to financial institutions to businesses to NGOs.
One especially exciting SDG convening is rapidly approaching. This June, action around SDG 14 will be catalyzed during the United Nations Ocean Conference being held at UN Headquarters in New York. The five-day conference will bring together stakeholders to discuss ways to achieve the “Life Below Water” targets and, ultimately, SDG 14 as a whole. Some of the anticipated outcomes of the Conference are a joint Call for Action and a list of voluntary commitments from governments, industry, NGOs, and others to address the goal.
This is where we come in.
North Atlantic Inc. and Bali Seafood International have officially published a time-bound commitment to SDG 14 (along with 12 and 17) on the Ocean Conference registry. In it, we pledge to:
- Build up to 4 private sector-funded fisheries centers to support management and use of defined nearshore fisheries in the Lesser Sunda region of Indonesia, which will benefit up to an estimated 26,000 fishers and families in artisanal communities once fully operational (Date: 2020)
- Develop, trial, and scale a prototype private sector-led investment model for socially responsible and sustainable fisheries management and use (Date: 2020)
- Collect data from each vessel in our supply chain (either through passive tracking units or e-log catch documentation) and utilize data to: 1) support real-time stock assessment, fishery controls, and community-based enforcement, and 2) guarantee no illegal, unreported, or unregulated fishing (Date: 2020)
- Re-engineer the seafood supply chain to eliminate the estimated 40-60% waste in product value inherent to the current system (Date: 2030)
You may notice these pledges look familiar–that’s because we have taken the strategies core to our work in Indonesia and aligned them with this globally significant initiative. By engaging on the SDGs, we hope to provide greater transparency into our efforts. Just as importantly, we hope the SDGs can be a valuable platform to share and scale our innovative model for responsible, business-led fisheries management.
The SDGs have created significant momentum in the global effort to ensure a sustainable, viable, and profitable future for all. We are excited to get to work with our partners to deliver on our commitments and look forward to seeing the innovative ways in which others in the seafood industry will take action.