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ASC opens public consultation for Farm Standard and Certification and Accreditation Requirements

March 14, 2019

As part of the ongoing alignment process which began in 2014, ASC has launched the second round of public consultation for the Farm Standard and consultation regarding updates to the Certification and Accreditation Requirements v2.2.

Interested parties are invited to review and share their feedback through an online consultation which will conclude on 14 May 2019.

Consistency and efficient guidance key to continuous improvement

Once finalised, the ASC Farm Standard will take the place of the nine current species standards. As part of this revision, the standard has been updated to capture evolving best social and environmental aquaculture practices and streamlined to ensure a clarified, consistent audit process. The updates will introduce a higher level of coherence by aligning the applicability, criteria and indicators across all species currently eligible for certification.

The introduction of a single farm standard will also allow for a more consistent introduction of new species into the programme, and will strengthen the standards review process as a result of aligned criteria.

Notably, the draft of the Farm Standard includes an update to the 7 Principles in the current standards. All the principles and criteria of the programme have been retained but the requirements have been more efficiently grouped into the following 3 Principles:

  • Principle 1 – The UoC operates legally and applies effective business management

Includes criteria that cover legal business operation, effective management and traceability indicators.

  • Principle 2 – The UoC operates in an environmentally responsible manner

Will include all criteria related to the environmental performance of the UoC, including species-specific metrics where relevant. This Principle is not yet open for consultation (see below).

  • Principle 3 – The UoC operates in a socially responsible manner

Includes criteria that cover an inclusive set of labour and community interaction indicators.

ASC is in the process of making updates to Principle 2 which is expected to be released for consultation in Q4 of 2019. The release of the final criteria for Principles 1 and 3 is expected in early 2020, with the final version of Principle 2 to follow no later than December 2020.

With this restructuring of the programme, ASC has also taken steps to strengthen the assurance system for social auditing with updates to the Certification and Accreditation Requirements v2.2 (CAR). Today also marks the start of the public consultation period on these revisions which will provide conformity assessment bodies (CAB) with clear and consistent guidance on the social auditing process that tie in with the new ASC Farm Standard Principles 1 and 3.

Robust consultation process following credible Codes of Good Practice

The ASC is the only aquaculture certification scheme to be recognised as full member of ISEAL (International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labelling Alliance), the global membership association for credible sustainability standards whose members must meet internationally accepted best practices.

The ASC’s public consultations follow ISEAL’s Code of Good Practice for Setting Social and Environmental Standards guidelines for credible, inclusive and transparent standard setting, which stipulates that stakeholders have sufficient time and opportunity to provide input on the standard and can see how their input has been taken into account.

All comments received during the public consultation period will be considered, included in a written synopsis that will be made publicly available and shared with all parties who have submitted feedback, and will potentially be included in the final standard.

Providing feedback during the consultation period

We welcome all feedback during the consultation period and encourage stakeholders to submit comments to Principle 1, Principle 3 and the Certification and Accreditation Requirements.

The following possibilities for feedback submission are available:

  • Feedback on the aligned ASC Farm Standard:

Via the Stakeholder Comment Submission Portal

  • Survey on the ASC Social auditing methodology
  • Feedback on the strengthened Social Auditing Methodology:

Via the Stakeholder Comment Submission Form

The documents for public consultation can be found at Alignment process: ASC Farm Standard and Review: CAR, and are also listed below:

The consultation period for the ASC Farm Standard and the runs from 14 March until 14 May. Stakeholder comments must be received before 15 May.

ASC has also scheduled a series of webinars so stakeholders can learn more about the upcoming changes to the programme. Please find the dates of these sessions, and register to participate, at the ASC website.

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