SINGAPORE - The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) has reached a milestone in its development with the finalization of the ASIC Social and Gender Standard for aquaculture producers. Built by stakeholders from the seafood industry in the region and overseen by the ASIC Executive Committee, the 70 page document outlines a new vision for social responsibility that is gender inclusive. Despite challenges presented by the global pandemic, the program’s development continued and the standard was finalized this month. “We are celebrating this important milestone, but we recognize that this is actually the first step of a much longer process to ensure the successful implementation of this standard,” said Rosanna Bernadette Contreras, ASIC Chair.
ASIC is now in the process of recruiting new members for its Social and Gender Standard Technical Advisory Committee (TAC) that will oversee its implementation. “We are looking for anyone to join our committee who is interested in contributing to this important initiative for our region,” says Contreras. ASIC plans to expand its committee to include users, technology companies, auditors, or anyone that can help support the implementation of its vision. ASIC is hopeful that it can continue its goal to be a leader in the place-based sustainability space and through this initiative find a way to promote a significantly underrepresented issue in mainstream supply chains.
The ASIC Social and Gender Standard has undergone a series of public consultations since 2020 to provide an opportunity for feedback, ensuring the comprehensiveness and feasibility of the draft standard. The standard is available in two versions (fisheries and aquaculture) but currently only applies to aquaculture operations. The fisheries version needs more time to complete but ASIC is moving forward with the aquaculture version so that it can begin recruiting for the TAC.
Although there have been recent efforts by major industry players to improve working conditions, there is still a great need for a comprehensive approach for local small-holders to secure an inclusive, ethical, and fair workforce treatment into their processes. With this latest improvement-oriented tool, ASIC aims to reach a broader scope of stakeholders, enabling them to gain new knowledge and skills and implement best practices for the benefit of their businesses and the welfare of those working in seafood production.
The Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative is a burgeoning regional collaboration between private sector stakeholders from Indonesia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, and the Philippines to tackle social and environmental sustainability challenges facing the industry. To support Asian stakeholders in becoming agents of their own empowerment and through collaboration, create pathways for seafood improvement that account for the social, environmental, and traceability challenges facing the region.
GRAISEA is a regional program that aims to transform opportunities for women and men small-scale producers in the agriculture sector in Asia by acting as a catalyst for the emergence of inclusive value chains and responsible business practices that respect human rights and drive women’s economic empowerment and climate resilience. It operates in Cambodia, Indonesia, Pakistan, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
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