Flatfish takes its ethical responsibilities to employees, customers, stakeholders, suppliers, and the environment very seriously. The company recognises that a balanced and committed approach to all aspects of corporate social responsibility (CSR) will bring benefits to each of the Company stake holders and strengthen its business position and credentials to facilitate sustainable growth and development.
The Company continues to look at CSR across the business to facilitate the recognition of best practice and shared learning which determines its core values and aspirations.
Flatfish recognises it has a responsibility to ensure sound social, ethical and environmental practices within its own operations, supply chain and in every market it operates. We are committed to ensuring that all our procurement practices are carried out in the most sustainable and responsible way possible and this includes the responsible procurement of all raw materials sourced to produce any product involved in the Flatfish business.
Flatfish understands the very real vulnerability of world fish stock and marine habitats due to an increase in fishing and in particular the use of irresponsible and unsustainable fishing methods. Flatfish is committed to working with its suppliers to ensure that all fish throughout the supply chain is sourced sustainably, using responsible fishing methods, that ensure marine ecosystems and healthy population levels of targeted species are protected, safeguarding the feasibility of future fish supplies.
The Flatfish policy “Responsible Sourcing of Fish and Seafood” ensures that all raw materials are sourced in compliance with the following principles:
Endangered or threatened species
Flatfish will not source any species which are considered to be ‘endangered’ or ‘critically endangered’ as outlined in the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.
Fishing management and operation systems
Fishing methods will operate in compliance with all applicable local, national and ratified international laws and regulations, including catch-levels and quotas.
Fishing vessels will continually seek to adopt ever increasing standards of: Safety, health and crew welfare; Training and professional development; Care of the catch, and; Environmental best practice, through registration to the Responsible Fishing Scheme or European equivalent with view to achieving and maintaining full certification.
Fishing operations will ensure that the structure, productivity, function and diversity of the ecosystem are maintained and local biodiversity of the natural habitat conserved. Any physical or ecological environmental damage shall be kept as minimal as is feasibly possible.
Fishing operations will not lead to over-fishing or depletion. Where populations are depleted, fisheries will be expected to commit to a management system that promotes recovery in order to secure long-term maximum potential yields.
As a means of promoting this recovery (and a precautionary mechanism for protecting population levels), fishing methods should be conducted in a way to protect the population’s genetic structure, age and sex composition to ensure that reproductive capacity is not damaged.
Fishing operations will involve methods designed to avoid the capture of non-target specifications (to include species, size, age, sex), to minimise the mortality of this catch where it cannot be avoided, and reduce discards of what cannot be released alive.
No destructive fishing methods such as poisons or explosives shall be used or those methods currently banned under European law i.e. electrofishing (pulse).
Measures should be taken to ensure that operational waste (e.g. Oil spills, on-board spoilage of catch or lost fishing gear) will be minimised.
In addition to the criteria above, all fish sourced from fish farms will be subject to the following policy requirements:
Fish farms will have procedures in place to safeguard against escapes.
All farmed species (where appropriate) should be or working towards farmed to Farm Animal Welfare Standards or equivalent.
Fish farms should allow for partial inclusion of non-marine feed ingredients for farmed fish. The partial substitution of marine ingredients with non-marine components such as vegetable proteins and oils; algae oils; land animal proteins and other innovative feed solutions will help reduce the dependence on marine resources.
Traditional, civil & human rights and labour standards
Flatfish will not accept violations of traditional, civil and / or human rights or non-compliance with labour standards as set out in the Responsible Sourcing Policy and in line with the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights.
Pesticides and any disease treatments (including antibiotics and parasiticides) will be administered responsibly and be target-focused. The storage, handling and disposal of all hazardous materials and waste will be done responsibly, legally and minimising respective potential environmental impacts.
Where fish is sourced from farms, fresh water resource requirements and discharge impact assessment should be conducted to understand the regional ecological impact fishing has. Nutrient levels should also be assessed to ensure local ecosystems are not negatively affected by fishing methods and no contamination occurs.
Certification and Accreditation
Flatfish considers the MSC (Marine Stewardship Council) to be the most comprehensive and widely accepted sustainable fish certification system globally for wild-caught fish and therefore is committed to supporting and giving preference to wild-caught fish and seafood certified against the MSC Chain of Custody standard.
However, as the MSC standard covers wild caught fish only and the Flatfish supply chain includes some farmed fish, we are also committed to supporting and giving preference to farmed fish certified against GlobalGAP standards. We do however also recognise that certifying against GlobalGAP standard is not always possible. With this in mind, we also accept farmed fish sourced to the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council) or BAP standards, along with the Alaska Seafood certification.
Flatfish will support their suppliers in this commitment and aim to continually increase the amount of certified fish within the supply chain. Where this is not currently feasible however, the Responsible Sourcing Policy will ensure that fish is sourced in the most sustainable way possible.
More information on MSC and ASC is available on the following links:
In addition, in-line with EU legislation, Flatfish will require evidence that all wild fish imported to the EU has a valid catch certificate.
Principles of Implementation
As a form of good practice and transparency Flatfish keeps a record of all fish suppliers and systematically monitors the performance of all suppliers covered by this policy through direct communication, desk based certification review and, where relevant, third party verification. We are committed to periodically reviewing this policy to ensure it is up to date, relevant and conducive to driving continuous improvement throughout our supply chain.
In order for suppliers to effectively implement the Responsible Sourcing Policy, Flatfish requires them to:
- Communicate the policy throughout their own supply chain.
- Confirm in writing a willingness to comply with the policy.
- Demonstrate traceability and legality of all fish sources.
- Provide evidence of efforts to ensure that fish is not procured from controversial or contentious sources.
- Provide documentary evidence confirming certification to the MSC or ASC, GlobalGAP or BAP standard, or where this is not the case, that a credible system working towards achieving full certification is in place.
- Ensure Flatfish representatives, including third party auditors are given uninhibited access to sites and that all documentation is accurate and complete.
- Accurately and transparently communicate when these standards are not being met or are unlikely to be met and when support is required to meet these standards.
- Commit to working towards continually increasing the amount of certified fish in its supply chain.
- Ensure transparency of performance against Flatfish’s target to sustainably source globally critical commodity products and demonstrate a proactive commitment to support Flatfish in achieving its targets through conformance with the policy.