In September 2023 we launched a review of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard to make sure our assessment process and certification scheme remain relevant and credible.
The MSC Chain of Custody Standard assures consumers that seafood sold with the blue MSC ecolabel comes from fisheries that are MSC certified as sustainable. It also provides assurance that products sold with the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) label have come from ASC certified farms.
To achieve certification to this Standard, supply chain companies must demonstrate that certified seafood products are separated from non-certified products as they make their journey through the supply chain before sale to the public.
Why are we reviewing our Standard?
The MSC provides the world’s most recognised sustainable seafood certification and ecolabelling program. There have been significant changes within our program and across wider seafood industry since our Chain of Custody Standard was last reviewed in 2019.
These changes include the publication of the MSC Fisheries Standard (v3.0) and Labour Eligibility Requirements, and introduction of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) supplementary Chain of Custody module.
We have seen best practices evolve, advancements in digital technology and changes to regulatory requirements. We will also consider learnings from the Covid-19 pandemic and how supply chain companies and the MSC responded to this challenge. These changes all provide opportunities to build on and improve our Chain of Custody program.
What will be revised?
The review will focus on the three versions of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard - Default, Group and Customer Facing Organisations (CFO) - and the Chain of Custody certification requirements.
The MSC will also review the ASC Chain of Custody module requirements with the aim of improving alignment with the MSC Chain of Custody program where appropriate.
What are the objectives?
Through the review we aim to:
- Address any challenges that have arisen from the implementation of the current Chain of Custody Standard to enhance credibility and legitimacy of our program.
- Empower Chain of Custody certificate holders to take action against food fraud risks in the supply chain.
- Enable certificate holders to demonstrate compliance with evolving traceability regulations.
- Improve the accessibility of our Standard by removing unnecessary complexity in language and clarifying requirements for different supply chain actors.
- Explore collaboration with other standard setters to efficiently satisfy market demand for scope extension.
How can you take part?
Stakeholders are at the heart of our review and help identify issues, develop solutions and test the possible impacts of any proposed changes.
In the initial phase of the review, we will invite certifiers, certificate holders and other standard setters to provide input and share expertise as we develop our revisions.
All stakeholders will have an opportunity to review the draft revised Standard. Details of public consultations will be published on the MSC website.
Watch our webinar
In January 2024 we held a webinar to discuss the aims of the MSC Chain of Custody Standard Review, the key topics that will be considered, and the project timeline. We also discussed the findings from a recent survey, which focused on how our stakeholders use the Standard.
You can watch a recording of the webinar below. Please note that you can watch the recording with subtitles turned on.
Reviewing the MSC Chain of Custody Standard
What is the timeline for the review?
The Chain of Custody Standard Review began in September 2023 and is expected to run until late 2025.Any revised program documents will be effective six months after they have been released and will apply to existing Chain of Custody certificate holders and those entering the MSC program for the first time.
- September 2023 - Terms of Reference published
- Late 2023 - Research phase begins and targeted consultations held
- Early 2024 - Policy development and testing through targeted consultation and pilots
- Early 2025 - Public consultation on the draft revised Standard
- Mid-2025 - MSC Board of Trustees sign off revised Standard
- Early 2026 - Revised Standard and other program documents in effect