Chinese online marketplace commits to sustainable seafood

MOU signing Ray Ho (left), general manager of Tmall Fresh and Nicolas Guichoux sign a MOU on Tmall’s commitment to sourcing and selling sustainable seafood

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has joined forces with Chinese organisations, including China’s largest online marketplace Tmall, to make a commitment to sustainable seafood procurement.

The MSC and Tmall, owned by Alibaba Group, signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) at an event in Hangzhou to confirm that Tmall will prioritise purchasing seafood from sustainable sources, while Tmall, which has more than 375m active buyers, also pledged to sell 20% of its seafood products with the MSC ecolabel by 2020.

Ray Ho, general manager of Tmall Fresh, Alibaba Group, said: “…We signed a memorandum of understanding with the MSC on World Oceans Day to signify our support towards sustainable seafood development and the importance of certified fresh seafood imported to our Chinese consumers. Alibaba Group’s Tmall will be the only primary platform to release new labelled certified products, and jointly organise a promotion program.”

More than 70 representatives from retailers, suppliers and NGOs attended the event, where Ole (part of Vanguard Group, owned by China Resources (CR) Group), Shenzhen Rainbow Grocery and the Shangri-La Hotel Chain also announced their commitment to sustainable seafood procurement and marketing.

“Sustainable seafood procurement strategies and goals are common in European and North American markets, especially for retailers, and they have had a critical role in driving the transformation of the sustainable seafood industry over the last 20 years since the MSC was established,” said Nicolas Guichoux, MSC global commercial director.

Pei Liang, general secretary of China Chain Store and Franchise Association (CCFA), added: “CCFA initiated the China Sustainable Retail Roundtable to develop market links with reliable certifiers to meet emerging market demand. Seafood is one area of priority and we encourage retailers to develop responsible procurement goals, recommend MSC certified seafood to the Chinese market, and provide more sustainable choices for Chinese consumers.”

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