a collection of notes, ideas and suggestions related to the transparency experiment

Sustainable Seafood Finance Initiative (SSF) further details about the Sustainable Seafood Finance Initiative

Windward http://www.windward.eu/#/solutions - Shipping transparency project presented at the Economist World Ocean Summit.

Global fishing watch http://globalfishingwatch.org/ - this is in development. The tool uses a global feed of vessel locations extracted from Automatic Identification System (AIS) tracking data collected by satellite, revealing the movement of vessels over time. The system automatically classifies the observed patterns of movement as either “fishing” or “non-fishing” activity. A great project but it only shows movement and ownership. It doesn’t give an idea of how much is being caught or what species. It aims to celebrate legally operating boats ‘- By consistently using an AIS transponder, those operators might be able to fetch a higher price for their catch – or get access to markets that some day may be closed to any fishing vessel that doesn't meet this basic transparency standard.’ Which is great but in combination with something like Greenfishers and actively linked to markets and incentives this could be a powerful, transparent tool.

Fish Online http://fishonline.org website is all about transparency. it is looking at rating fish based on environmental impact. There are over 150 species on there which translates into over 500 listings. so there's a lot of content! So much that, although it has had a huge impact at the retail level, individual consumers may find it difficult to engage and remain abreast of which are the best choices….though we do our level best to make it as easy as possible.

Green Fishers http://www.greenfishers.org/ - which attempted to highlight sustainable fishermen within the UK. It hasn’t had a great take up as there was no follow through to market which I think was an essential missing bit.

Traceability - is what you are being sold in the supermarket ACTUALLY what it says it is? Where did it really come from? What checks are actually made? What accountability is there? Would it be possible to actually do some detailed traceability studies - ocean to plate. Is that dolphin friendly tuna really dolphin friendly?

Welfare - there are significant welfare at work issues related to fisheries (I believe Seafish and EJF work on this) and aquaculture (latter strong UK market link in the shape of one of the UK's top 5 favourite 'fish' - the juicy king prawn.)

Social impacts - e.g. impacts of governments selling off licences to international tuna fleet on local fisheries.

And then there's water quality again, the MCS Good Beach Guide http://www.goodbeachguide.co.uk/ has, for the last few decades been promoting transparency about water quality. standards have improved enormously, but there are still issues particularly around what happens to excess water during wet weather. A problem that is likely to intensify with increased extreme weather events.

MCS has been giving some attention to this issue for a number of years. e.g. this from 2009 http://news.bbc.co.uk/panorama/hi/front_page/newsid_8236000/8236957.stm

This from SAS (Surfers Against Sewage), who also focus on CSO's

“There are approximately 31,000 Combined Sewer Overflows (CSOs) around the UK. Their sole purpose is to discharge untreated human sewage and waste-water when the sewerage system is overloaded. CSOs act as emergency discharge valves in our sewerage system, discharging untreated sewage and wastewater when the system comes close to bursting, supposedly during periods of intense rainfall. Without CSOs, sewage could start backing up in our houses and gardens, so they are a vital part of our sewerage infrastructure. However, SAS is increasingly concerned that they are being used to regularly dispose of untreated sewage, even during times of low rainfall or none at all. In theory, CSOs should only discharge a maximum of 3 times per bathing season (May - September) but worryingly many CSOs discharge far more frequently than this.”

As another example to have a look at, how about a look at the way transparency around worker rights and environmental impacts has influenced the clothing industry? Both cheap and high end. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/green-living-blog/2012/jul/06/activism-nike

interesting when considering transparency as a potential lever of change by engaging the public. http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/02/coalition-review-of-consumer-laws-may-ban-environmental-boycotts

What are water companies actually doing? What environmental and health and wellbeing impacts does that have?

Shareholder action:

ClientEarth has worked with institutional investors and other organisations to create shareholder resolutions to require Shell and BP to report on how they plan to deal with the impacts of climate change.

http://www.clientearth.org/news/press-releases/shareholder-resolutions-150-investors-challenge-bp-and-shell-to-face-climate-change-risk-2759

http://www.clientearth.org/news/latest-news/shell-follows-bp-with-climate-change-resolution-2871

http://www.clientearth.org/news/latest-news/pension-funds-must-confront-climate-risk-2838

Company reporting

ClientEarth worked on using the Companies Act to improve company reporting on environmental impacts (concentrating on the extractive industries):

http://www.clientearth.org/company-law/company-transparency/