|In a major step for the seafood sector, the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST) today announced its successful reorganization into a permanent new entity with full legal independence and a participatory, industry-based structure. The move will significantly strengthen the GDST’s role as the leading industry forum for the promotion of digital seafood traceability and as owner of the industry’s global traceability standards.
“The new GDST is open for business!” said GDST Executive Director Greg Brown. “With the strong support of companies and stakeholders worldwide, we are ready to expand our global partnerships to engage the future of seafood traceability.”
The GDST was originally convened in 2017 by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Institute of Food Technologists, bringing together more than five dozen companies from around the globe and across the seafood supply chain to draft traceability standards in support of responsible seafood production and trade. The standards were published in March 2020, and are already seen as game-changing, with scores of companies altering their traceability practices and solution providers rushing to offer enabling software. But much remains to be done to transform practices across the entire global industry. With its re-launch today, the GDST moves beyond its origins as an ad hoc, NGO-facilitated process, completing a transition that will secure its role for many years to come.
“The new GDST is critical for bringing the industry together around the standards we need to make universal digital seafood traceability a reality,” said Britta Gallus, Head of Corporate Responsibility at Metro AG and co-chair of the GDST Steering Committee. Adam Brennan, Group Director for Sustainability at Thai Union and also a Steering Committee member, agreed: “The re-launched GDST will play a vital role in the future of our industry, helping ensure that all seafood can be traced to trusted sources of supply.”
The reorganized GDST will focus on industry participation while including avenues for multi-stakeholder involvement. It will offer a range of tools and services to support adoption of its standards and promote mechanisms to verify compliance, while regularly updating the standards and examining their possible expansion to address climate change and labor conditions in seafood supply chains. It will also be a leading industry voice advising governments on emerging traceability regulations.
Bryan Hitchcock, Executive Director of IFT’s Global Food Traceability Center, celebrated the GDST’s new status: “The launch of the GDST as a full-scale, industry-led organization is an important and exciting milestone. IFT looks forward to continuing to work with the GDST and its partner companies.”
“WWF is proud to see the GDST emerge with strong industry support from its roots as an NGO initiative,” said David Schorr, Senior Manager for Transparent Seas at WWF. “This is the kind of industry leadership that is needed to secure a sustainable future for seafood.”
SEE ALSO the public statement issued today by the eleven companies forming the GDST Steering Committee, available here.
For more info about this important transition and opportunities for new GDST partnerships, click here.