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Australian Senate Inquiry into Greenwashing

June 5, 2024


Transparency is at the heart of everything we stand for and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) condemns greenwashing and any form of manipulation of stakeholders, especially consumers, who want to make the shift to responsibly produced seafood.

As a global not for profit organisation with a mission to transform aquaculture toward best practice, our criteria for certification are detailed, well-researched and science-based and require farms to operate with best practice demonstrated through record keeping, monitoring and clear parameters for important indicators of environmental and social performance.

In 2023, ASC entered a submission to the Australian Parliament’s inquiry into greenwashing, outlining our position and concerns on the issue in aquaculture and describing how

Following that submission, Duncan Leadbitter, ASC Market Development Manager for Australia and New Zealand was invited to give evidence to the Australian Parliament’s inquiry on behalf of ASC.

ASC submitted an to Parliament to support Mr Leadbitter’s evidence, describing ASC’s certification programme and how its operations follow international best practice in terms of transparency, demonstration of impact, multistakeholder involvement and fact-based decision making.

The theory of change used by ASC is that informed consumers can help improve the management of aquaculture by selecting products that are linked to high environmental and social production standards. They can do so by chosing products that carry the ASC label.

Whilst ASC welcomes the growing commitment by companies and industry to improving the environmental and social performance of products and services, there is clearly a growing potential for false and misleading claims. Cheap self-claims and labels that have no substance not only mislead consumers but undermine the market driven environmental improvements model.

Devising a logo and making a claim is cheap and easy but backing these up with independent, science-based and credible information requires organizational structures that coordinate science and technically led standards development and assurance systems that support the ASC claim.

As a market-led programme, ASC draws its revenue from the licensed use of the ASC label on products.  Its communications efforts are oriented towards encouraging informed and motivated consumers to ‘look for the label’. ASC makes no money from the certification of farms.

When consumers buy an ASC labelled product, they can be assured that it came from a farm that has been independently certified against ASC’s standards and has met ASC’s global standard for responsible seafood.

We look forward to hearing the findings of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment and Communications inquiry into greenwashing and how the work of ASC can continue to be part of the solution in supporting consumers to make responsible decisions when buying farmed seafood products.

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