The MSC has teamed up with the Non-GMO Project and Fairtrade America to launch their ‘Little Labels, Big Impact’ campaign to try to prompt consumers to pay more attention to such labels while grocery shopping.
MSC says: “Joining with Fairtrade America and Non-GMO Project is not only a great way to amplify the important work of our certification programs on sustainable food systems. It is an opportunity to encourage consumers to pay attention to the labels on food products they’re buying or already have in their kitchens,” MSC U.S. Program Director Nicole Condon said. “A lot of dedicated time and effort went into those labels – from the harvesters to the auditors, to the brands themselves – so that shoppers have a clear option to shop their values among products with trusted third-party verification. Looking for these three labels is a great way to start the new year on a positive foot, for both people and the planet.”
Our thoughts: While certification programs can serve as a helpful tool for consumers to make more sustainable purchases, it is important that messaging around sustainable seafood and the MSC does not lead consumers to believe that all MSC labeled products are created equal. Labelling on seafood products should include key pieces of information (common and scientific species name, where it is from, how it was caught or farmed, and who by), in addition to any certifications, to provide the consumer with information to help make the best decision for themselves. Sending the message that MSC products are across the board more sustainable than non-certified products is dangerous and does not take into account gear type or the scale of the fishery and, as we have highlighted, many certified fisheries continue to use practices that are not sustainable.