Skip to main content

MSC Board strengthens stakeholder engagement and consultation

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Board of Trustees meeting in Hamburg, June 21 – 23 has agreed new measures to strengthen multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation in the MSC program.

The MSC Board includes representatives from across the seafood industry, NGO, market sector and science community. It agreed to recruit an NGO Development Director to strengthen the MSC’s capacity to engage effectively with the environment and conservation community. The Board also agreed to establish two new working groups to advise the Board; they will comprise members of the Board, Stakeholder Advisory Council and Technical Advisory Board. One will focus on the MSC’s systems, processes and certification performance, and the other on scope of the MSC program.

The Board has directed the Technical Advisory Board and these two working groups, with immediate effect, to consider the issues raised recently by NGO and commercial stakeholders. This includes the issues raised in the roundtable consultation on Units of Assessment (6-7 June, 2017), as well as those resulting from internal reviews of the program. These groups will report to the Board by the end of the year.

A decision on next steps, including the consultation and implementation timeframe for any modifications to the certification procedures or MSC Fishery Standard arising from these deliberations, will be taken in 2018.

Werner Kiene, Chair of the MSC Board of Trustees said: The MSC is a learning organisation: we’ve invested heavily in strengthening the rigour of our program, through extensive stakeholder engagement, and we welcome constructive dialogue and scrutiny. The MSC recognises that it is only by working with a diverse set of ocean interest groups that we can realise real and lasting change, bringing all points of views on-board and moving towards sustainability.”

Evolution of MSC’s Stakeholder Council

Following an independent governance review the Board has also agreed changes to the MSC’s Stakeholder Council.  The planned new Stakeholder Advisory Council will continue to provide critical stakeholder perspectives and advice to the Technical Advisory Board and the Board.

Members of the soon-to-be constituted Advisory Council will play a key role in the new working groups and in review of the fisheries certification process and Standard.  It will comprise 17 members including representatives from the seafood industry, conservation community, market sector and academia. Appointments to the Council will be made by the Board in later July 2017. The Stakeholder Advisory Council will ensure that input into the MSC’s review processes is representative of a wide range of views and opinions.

MSC Standards reviews

The MSC periodically reviews and updates its standards to ensure that they represent widely agreed, international best practice. Reviews are managed by the MSC Executive and the Technical Advisory Board on behalf of the Board of Trustees. They follow established international guidelines, such as those published by ISEAL, FAO and GSSI, and include extensive multi-stakeholder engagement and consultation.

The next release of changes to fisheries certification processes, and a revision of the MSC Chain of Custody standard, will be in 2018. The Board has agreed that it will review the need to revise the Fishery Standard in 2019.

To find out more about MSC program improvements or to make a comment or suggestion, contact [email protected].