Current stage:

Development
Issue Prioritisation Development Selection Implementation

Improvement overview

In recognition of widespread concern about labour abuses in the global seafood supply chain, the MSC is working to extend our existing provisions on forced labour and provide greater assurance that forced and child labour violations are not taking place in fisheries and supply chain companies that hold MSC certificates.

Current status

Current consultations:

This consultation is now closed.

Off-shore supply chains

A solution for new fisheries and off-shore supply chain requirements was selected after public consultation in March 2018.  

As of August 2018, as part of the MSC assessment process, fisheries and off-shore supply chains will be required to provide a self-disclosure document that reports on measures, policies and practices in place to ensure absence of forced and child labour. 

The objective of the self-disclosure document is to require companies to communicate how they address any potential risk of forced or child labour. It is not a declaration of the absence of forced labour violations. The self-disclosure form will be made public and posted within or alongside the full assessment or surveillance report. 

The wording of the proposed new requirements will be open to public consultation in August 2018. We expect new supply chain requirements to be released by February 2019. 

Following extensive stakeholder consultation, the MSC Executive Committee has selected a proposed solution for providing greater assurance that forced and child labour are not taking place in supply chain companies that hold MSC certificates. 

This risk-based approach will require certificate holders in high-risk countries who are engaged in certain scope activities to undergo an on-site audit against a recognised third-party labour program. 

The currently proposed programs are SAI’s (Social Accountability International) SA8000, BSCI (Business Social Compliance Initiative) or SEDEX SMETA (Supplier Ethical Data Exchange (SEDEX) Members’ Ethical Trade Audit).  

Certificate holders identified as ‘high risk’ will be required to show evidence that their audit meets the minimum requirements set by the MSC to have that audit recognised  in order to remain part of the MSC program. 

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Planned work

Phase II for fisheries proposed for implementation in 2020

As previously agreed, there will be a phased introduction for fisheries and off-shore operations. Phase I introduced a self-disclosure form in Fisheries Certification Requirements v2.1. This second phase will see high risk fisheries and off-shore supply chain entities being required to undertake an audit against a third-party labour standard. 

Defining ‘high-risk’ fisheries and off-shore supply chain entities is part of the Phase II workplan. The MSC is closely monitoring the progress of labour standards such as the Responsible Fishing Scheme (RFS) and FairTrade USA. Currently, these schemes are not applicable internationally, so would not be appropriate across all MSC certified fisheries. 

For on-shore supply chains, the MSC will be organising training events for CABs and CoC certificate holders in 2019 to support the revised CoC requirements including the new labour requirements. The MSC will also closely monitor the implementation and impact of the changes, and whether further changes are needed for the next CoC Program Review.