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Rio 2016 to Support MSC and ASC Certified Seafood

December 3, 2013

The Rio 2016 Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games today announced a comprehensive agreement to promote Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified seafood at the 2016 Rio Games.

This landmark announcement means that all of the seafood served to the athletes, officials, press and at the onsite restaurants will be certified as sustainably wild caught (MSC) and responsibly farmed (ASC). With over 14 million meals served over 27 days, the Olympic and Paralympic Games’ catering represents a huge challenge for every host city and is described as the largest peacetime catering operation in the world.

Memorandums of Understanding (MOU) between Rio 2016 and the ASC and Rio 2016 and the MSC were signed today. The MOUs reflect the Rio 2016 Organising Committee’s commitment to organise and stage the Games in such a way as to minimize adverse effects on and maximize benefits to the environment, promote sustainable development, and raise public awareness and action regarding environmental protection.

“Rio 2016 aims to use the transformational power of the Olympic and Paralympic Games to enhance, promote and celebrate the fantastic variety of Brazilian seafood,” said Leila Luiz, Head of Food & Beverage for Rio 2016.

Julie Duffus, Sustainability Manager for the Rio 2016 Organising Committee, said: “We are looking forward to working in partnership with MSC and ASC to support the respected work that they have done, and continue to do, with the fisheries and fish farms of Brazil. This will ensure that our catering not only improves the local food industry but improves it to a standard that will leave a lasting, positive legacy post Games for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.”

The Marine Stewardship Council, the world’s leading certification and ecolabel programme for wild caught seafood, has made a strong, long-term commitment to Latin America. Rupert Howes, Chief Executive of the Marine Stewardship Council, expressed the MSC’s gratitude and excitement about the agreement with Rio 2016.

“The MSC is honoured to be working with the Rio 2016 Olympic and Paralympic Games. This partnership provides a great opportunity to promote and reward sustainable fisheries in Brazil. We will be working closely over the coming years with the State of Rio to encourage local fisheries into the third party assessment process and hope that fish and seafood caught from these and other fisheries that have met MSC’s standard for environmentally responsible and sustainable fishing will be available for the 14 million meals that will be served during the Games.”

Today’s announcement underscores the strength of the ASC in helping the aquaculture sector become environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. Chris Ninnes, Chief Executive of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, said:  “I look forward to seeing many small scale farms across the state of Rio recognised for their good management. The collective action of the farms that enter the ASC programme will undoubtedly have a positive effect for the future of aquaculture in the region as it moves towards environmental sustainability – this is an important legacy and I hope other states follow the example of Rio.”

Laurent Viguié, Brazil Manager for ASC and MSC, said: “The Rio 2016 Olympic Organising Committee recognises a common vision with the MSC and ASC to conserve, protect, enhance and support natural resources, including biological diversity worldwide, and to support efforts to source and supply responsibly farmed and sustainable wild caught seafood for the 2016 Games. The majority of which will be from locally sourced small scale farms and artisanal fisheries.”

The MOUs describe how Rio 2016 will make a commitment to prioritize local certified seafood from the State of Rio de Janeiro and Brazil.  Rio 2016 will also support MSC and ASC in their engagement of stakeholders and suppliers to promote certified seafood within Brazil and promote sustainable education and action.

The MOUs call for joint projects to be developed that will encourage participation in the certification programmes, recognise sustainable seafood achievements by the 2016 Games, and collaborate on projects to educate and encourage change by consumers.  The MOUs remain in effect until June 1, 2017.

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