The eleven companies and producer associations that serve on the GDST Steering Committee are proud to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the release of the GDST 1.0 Standards & Guidelines for Interoperable Seafood Traceability Systems.
The past year has been unusual and intense for all of us. The COVID-19 pandemic overtook daily life just as the GDST standards were being launched last March, affecting so many families, communities, and economies across the globe. The disruption has had profound impacts on the seafood industry. Some companies have done well in the midst of this global crisis, while many others have faced severe challenges as supply chains dried up or markets collapsed. Today, we are hopeful that we are turning the corner, but we recognize that for many companies the road ahead still looks uncertain and filled with change.
It is a real tribute to the strength and value of the GDST that in the middle of this very difficult time so many companies are showing strong interest in the GDST standards. The reason for this is clear: the GDST standards make good business sense for our industry, making us more adaptable for whatever lies ahead while addressing our long-term sustainability.
Reliable traceability is becoming something all seafood businesses should pursue to maintain and grow their businesses. And the future of traceability is digital.
Some companies are already out ahead on digital traceability; others are just starting the journey. But wherever a company is on the curve, the GDST standards make digital traceability easier, more advantageous, and more secure:
- easier because GDST clarifies the path forward, and it comes with a growing list of tools and third-party vendors to support implementation (see GDST website here for details);
- more advantageous because GDST interoperability can help you secure your supply base while meeting the traceability demands of multiple customers more easily and with increased brand value;
- more secure, because GDST standards are designed to endure for many years across generations of different technologies. And the standards are also aligning well with important trends in national regulation. So using GDST standards is a way to ensure that the traceability systems you invest in today will still be able to function in the markets of tomorrow.
All this means that adopting and implementing the GDST standards is smart business, starting right now.
Still, the transition to GDST-based digital traceability can raise significant questions, even for companies committed to best traceability practices. As representatives on the GDST Steering Committee, even our companies face hurdles to overcome. But the good news is that implementing GDST can be taken one step at a time. In fact, the GDST has excellent tools to help chart a step-by-step course that can be individualized to make sense for your particular company.
As the GDST 1.0 standards celebrate their first birthday, we encourage all companies who have not already done so to get on board. Take a look at the standards. Take a look at who is already endorsing and beginning to implement them, and at the growing number of service companies lining up to provide GDST-compliant traceability systems. Our goal is to make digital traceability based on GDST standards part of the future for a sustainable seafood industry. The first step of this journey is to adopt the GDST 1.0 standards now.
The GDST Steering Committee represents the diversity of the global seafood industry. We include well-known and respected supermarkets and wholesalers, such as Metro in Europe and Asia, Sainsbury’s in the UK, and Whole Foods Markets in the United States. We represent fishers and aquaculture farmers through the participation of the Indonesian Pole & Line and Handline Fisheries Association and the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers. We include boutique entrepreneurs like Culinary Collaborations, which is one of the leading distributors of sushi products across the United States. With the participation of Thai Union based in Bangkok, our steering committee has one of the largest, vertically integrated seafood companies in the world, involved in processing, branding, and distribution at a global scale. Similarly, Labeyrie Fine Foods, based in France, owns major brands with a strong market presence in over sixty countries. And of course, our committee includes several leading representatives of the medium-sized, mid-supply chain companies that are the vital backbone of the seafood industry, including The Fishin’ Company and Orca Bay Foods in the U.S., and New England Seafood International based in the U.K.
To adopt the GDST 1.0 standards, visit https://traceability-dialogue.org/get-involved/
To download GDST materials to help you assess implementation, visit https://traceability-dialogue.org/gdst-1-0-implementation-roadmap-toolkit/