FI: Mike DeCesare, you’re the communications director at the Marine Stewardship Council. Sounds impressive.
MD: MSC is the world’s foremost certification stewardship agency. MSC comes out ahead of others because the program is based in science and transparency and a rigorous open process with multiple checks and balances.
FI: And one of your more notable catches is Aker BioMarine, which is a leading company in the krill space.
MD: Aker took the extraordinary step, in my judgment, in being an extraordinary leader. Before “sustainability” had gone mainstream, Aker stepped up and said, “We’re going to get the most rigorous certification available.”
FI: Why is krill so important?
MD: Krill is a crucial creature that occupies the bottom of the food chain. So we need to get it right. Aker ensures 100 percent traceability from sea to shelf. That has implications for the health of the oceans.
FI: Sustainability is consumer driven. People want that information. They want to know what’s in their food, what they’re buying.
MD: The need for traceability, for consumers to understand, is a shifting landscape. You can pull up all of a company’s reports on our website. When a company enters the MSC program, everything at that moment on is transparent, so it’s a significant commitment to make.
FI: Tell me more about MSC’s uniqueness.
MD: Science, rigor, transparency, commitment to impartiality. Our governance is structured to ensure that all voices are heard, all points of view are aired. Accenture recently repeated a study they did in 2009, and they looked at Friends of the Sea and other certifiers. MSC was far above in terms of rigor and robustness. If you submitted a comment as stakeholder, we would have to respond.
FI: What’s a stakeholder? A yahoo online?
MD: If you were interested in a fishery, you can register and say you’d like to participate. NGOs kinds of things. Other companies can register. For stakeholder engagement, you participate.
FI: Do you work with other krill companies?
MD: Aker is the only krill fishery with MSC certification.
FI: Other than krill, what do you certify?
MD: Shrimp, salmon, cod fisheries, swordfish, Chilean sea bass. Globally something like 13% of fisheries are engaged in a Marine Stewardship Council program. The tonnage is extraordinary. If we all do this, we can all play a role in ensuring the world’s fisheries will be here for future generations.