December 7, 2016
Marine resources and their importance to the environment and a sustainable food supply
There are over one million species of plants and animals that call the world’s oceans home. They produce half of the oxygen we breathe and provide food for millions of people around the globe. Unfortunately, one-third of global fish stocks are overfished and another 61% are fully exploited, or being fished at capacity. And, production is only expected to increase: 17% by 2025.
This is a problem for several reasons – how do we protect the oceans and the ecosystems within them; how do we address a food supply chain for billions of people; and how do we ensure sustainable and fair practices in the industry?
Globally, the fishing industry is taking two to three times more fish from the oceans than can be replaced by those remaining. Large-scale industrial fishing methods such as bottom trawling, bleaching, and the use of explosives are destroying the habitats where fish find food and shelter. By-catch, or the marine resources that are caught or extracted from the ocean unintentionally, is also a consequence of unsustainable fishing methods.
At Green Century, we will be addressing this issue by working with companies to adopt, implement and report quantifiable and time-bound goals for removing from their supply chains marine species that are illegal, unregulated, and unreported (IUU); contribute to overfishing and habitat destruction; and/or associated with human rights abuses.
Given the purchasing power of large food service industry providers and retailers, we believe that this is the area where we and our investors can have a concrete impact. There is a strong business case for providing more sustainable seafood options. According to a recent survey of more than 16,000 seafood consumers across 21 countries, 68% said that “there is a need for brands and supermarkets to independently verify their claims about sustainability,” with 62% agreeing that by buying ecolabelled seafood they are helping to ensure plenty more fish for future generations.
Working to preserve marine resources and ocean health is a key element of our work toward a more sustainable food system, which you can learn more about by visiting our Sustainable Agriculture page. We know there is plenty of work to be done both on land and in the seas, and look forward to the opportunity of continuing to deliver impact for our investors and their families.
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