Why was the GDST Reorganized in October 2022?
The GDST was originally convened in 2017 by two NGOs (the World Wildlife Fund and the Institute for Food Technologists) as an informal, ad hoc process with the principal mission of drafting the first-ever industry standards for interoperable seafood traceability. After the standards were released in March 2020, it became clear that a permanent institutional home was needed for the GDST so it can continue to maintain and develop the standards, deliver practical verification tools and support services to facilitate adoption of the standard, offer an ongoing forum for pre-competitive industry discussions around seafood traceability, and serve as a means for the seafood industry to engage governments around emerging regulations and policies. To do this, it was necessary to create an industry-based organization that could be independent of its NGO roots and financially self-sustaining. The newly re-organized GDST will fill this need, while continuing the multi-stakeholder that characterized the GDST from the start.
My organization was previously a member of the GDST. Do we have to re-join as a Partner to stay involved?
Yes. Participation in the new GDST requires all former members to re-join as Partners, to participate in GDST activities and in the new GDST partnership structure.
Are there fees for participation in the new GDST?
Yes. For six years, the GDST was supported almost entirely by grants from major philanthropic foundations. But as the GDST grows into an independent, industry-based organization, it is necessary for the industry itself (and other stakeholders) to step up and help make the GDST self-sufficient.
Even non-for-profit participants need to pay fees to participate?
Yes. The fee structure for non-industry participation are low to nominal, and are much lower than the fees being charged to for-profit companies.
But The philosophy of the new GDST is that all of its active participants should contribute to covering the costs of the Dialogue process. Even so, the GDST will offer needs-based discounts to non-profit organizations that are working in resource-challenged environments, especially in developing countries.
Does this transition mean that only paying partners will have access to the GDST standard?
No! The GDST standards and accompanying technical materials will remain free and openly available to the public, as will the many supportive materials that are posted in the GDST’s online Resource Library. Partners will enjoy access to non-public Dialogue activities (such as future processes to update or expand the standards, or to develop advocacy positions related to emerging regulations and policies). The standards themselves will always be available for free.
What are the legal organization and governance structures for the new GDST?
The new GDST has been reorganized as a not-for-profit Foundation under the laws of the Netherlands–the same legal format used by several other pre-competitive seafood industry platforms. The new entity will be governed in accordance with Dutch law, under the governance structures that assure a combination of strong industry responsibility and the appropriate involvement of non-industry stakeholders.
Who will run the day-to-day operations of the new GDST?
The new GDST is now led and staffed by a professional Secretariat, with many of its personnel drawn from within the seafood industry. For more information on the Secretariat, click here.
Will the founding NGOs remain involved?
Yes. Both WWF and the Institute of Food Technologists will remain actively involved as major stakeholders in the GDST.