Antarctic fishing proposals scuppered, supply chain fire safety and the mega costs of food waste

Russia holds back Antarctic sanctuary

An Antarctic Ocean conservation proposal put forward by the US and New Zealand has met opposition from the fishing industry, including Russia.

The Ross Sea proposal, which seeks to protect one of the world’s largest ocean sanctuaries in Antarctic waters, has been scaled back following objection from the fishing industry as well as from select members of the Commission for the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources (CCAMLR).

Steve Campbell, campaign director at the Antarctic Ocean Alliance (AOA), explains that the original Ross Sea proposal was meant to cover over 2m sq km including a very important 1.6m sq km no-take zone, where commercial fishing would be prohibited.

The proposal, which imposes strict limits on commercial fishing in and around the protected area and which safeguards critical breeding and foraging grounds for unique Antarctic species, has now been scaled back by 40% in an attempt to gain support from those in opposition. Campbell says: “Following a July meeting, the Russian delegation raised an objection, questioning CCAMLRs legal authority to designate large scale marine protected areas.”

The Russian delegation’s blocking of the proposal has been described as an extraordinary missed opportunity by environmental NGOs and marine conservation organisations. Andrea Kavanagh, director at the Pew Charitable Trusts, an initiative that aims to protect marine systems worldwide through the improvement of policies and practices, says: “The actions of the Russian delegation have stalled progress on protecting the Ross Sea and east Antarctica and have put international cooperation and goodwill at risk, two key ingredients needed for global marine conservation.”

AOA’s Campbell agrees, saying the international community has an extraordinary opportunity to establish visionary marine protection in the Antarctic. He still believes that Russia can be a leader once again in environmental protection by supporting the CCAMLR process.

According to Evan Bloom, the head of the American delegation to the Antarctic conservation commission, the revised proposal maintains a sufficient level of impact. He argues that the crucial parts of the initiative have remained intact and that the reserve will still be one of the world’s largest. 

Europe lagging on supply chain fire safety

A report by Sedex, a not-for-profit membership organisation dedicated to improving responsible and ethical business practices in global supply chains, has determined that supply chain risks are not confined to the developing world. The report, which found that fire hazard was the largest contributor to health and safety failings, revealed that while 6.6% and 12.7% of supply chains in Africa and Asia respectively failed to meet safety compliance standards, the figure was in fact highest for European supply chains. In Europe 13.5% of supply chains failed to meet safety compliance standards.

However, Sedex spokesman Mark Robertson explains that more stringent laws and regulations on fire safety can make risks appear more visible in Europe. He adds that while the most critical risks generally exist in emerging markets, widespread risks also exist in developed markets including Europe and the US.

When asked what companies – as well as buyers and suppliers – could do to improve these numbers, Robertson says mapping the entire supply chain, including subcontractors, to gain visibility of risks and opportunities to improve standards is key. He says significant fire risks can exist further down the supply chain, pointing to the importance of looking beyond tier one suppliers.

Food waste costs $750bn a year 

Staggering numbers have come out of a recent report from the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), revealing that the 1.3bn tonnes of food waste resulting from inefficiencies in food production, distribution and careless consumption are costing the global economy $750bn a year. And the waste is responsible for a yearly 3.3bn tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions into our atmosphere.

The Wastage Footprint: Impacts on Natural Resources report also highlights another unsettling reality. In parallel to this mammoth level of produce waste, environmental detriment and unnecessary cost, 870 million people are still going hungry every day.

A recent US-focused report revealed equally alarming figures. The Natural Resource Defense Council and Harvard Food Law and Policy Clinic have reported that 40% of food produced in the US is never eaten, wasting $165bn of mostly edible food each year.

While the FAO report mainly points to inefficiencies in food production and distribution, the report coming out of the US, entitled The Dating Game, highlights a lack of effective federal regulation around food labelling, especially “use by” and “best before” dates.

fishing  food waste  ngo news  ngo roundup  NGOwatch  supply chain 

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