SUPA Study- Chapter II: A summary of trends and key stakeholder sourcing policies

The EU is reliant on imports to meet its demand for fish and seafood. “For the EU as a whole, fish dependence day is now 8 July (2013), indicating that almost one-half of fish consumed in the EU is sourced from non-EU waters.” For example, figures from 2011 show imported species such as Alaska pollock, tuna and Pangasius contribute to 40.3% of total fish consumption in Germany. Another example would be in the Netherlands where tuna was listed 2nd followed by Pangasius as 3rd for volume in 2012.

SUPA Study- Chapter II: A summary of trends and key stakeholder sourcing policies

ASC-certified River Cobbler of Sainsbury

With the EU population (27 countries) estimated to increase from 501,044,066 in 2010 to 522,342,413 in 2030, this represents an additional market of 21,298,347 which is almost the equivalent of the 2010 populations of Belgium and Greece combined.4 When the FAO forecasted growth of 2 kilos in per-capita- consumption from 22 to 24 is factored in, Europe will continue to represent an important marketplace for fish and seafood products.

However, FAO’s Globefish summed up the current Pangasius situation in Europe as follows in their June 2013 Pangasius market report:

Eurostat reports that in 2012 the EU imported 22% less pangasius than a year ago totalling 143 200 tonnes at a value of USD 376 million, down 24% from 2011. The average import price also weakened by 2.4% to USD 2.63/kg in 2012. The largest markets in the EU were Spain, the Netherlands, Poland and Germany; all of them experienced declines in imports from Viet Nam. However, several markets within the EU showed positive growth; these are Belgium, Greece and Latvia.

Against this backdrop, there have been other positive developments.

In Germany (highlights added):

“Although imports into the German market declined in 2012, pangasius remains popular among consumers. It is the fifth most consumed fish in Germany. Recently pangasius products bearing ASC certification have been available on the market. The certification recognises farms that subscribe to farming in a responsible and environmentally friendly manner. The first pangasius products to obtain the ASC label come from 13 certified farms in the Mekong Delta area in Viet Nam. Together they are responsible for 10% of total production. Products with this label are now available in many supermarkets across Germany. Brands and companies, such as Topsea, Frosta, Femeg, Queens and Profish, offer pangasius products with the ASC logo.”

In France (highlights added)

“Carrefour has been actively improving the quality of its seafood products for over 10 years. Aware of the global urgency to preserve marine resources and to safeguard the future of the industry and its immense workforce–200 million people rely on the seafood chain production–Carrefour has pledged its contribution to the sustainable consumption of fish products.

To achieve its goal, Carrefour has created a large offer of fresh and frozen seafood products that incorporate environmental concerns and are certified against high quality standards. One example is that all their fresh and frozen pangasius (freshwater catfish) is GLOBALG.A.P. certified.

As part of its policy to preserve transparency and provide information to its consumers, Carrefour will actively link its customers to the GLOBALG.A.P. aquaculture consumer website, which has been set up as part of GLOBALG.A.P.’s consumer awareness campaign.

Starting in 2013, Carrefour will print the website address directly on the packaging of all frozen 3angasius available in Carrefour’s supermarkets in Europe and sold under Carrefour’s own brand. The aquaculture site will give Carrefour customers information on the Good Aquaculture Practice that GLOBALG.A.P. certifies. Customers will also be able to find the exact farm origin of the fish they eat. They can do this using the GGN on the packaging, the 13-digit unique number that GLOBALG.A.P. assigns to each certified producer. This data is available on the GLOBALG.A.P. Database and searchable via a public search tool, which has been added to the aquaculture consumer website.”

In the UK (highlights added):

“Sainsbury’s will be the first major retailer in the UK to launch Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified River Cobbler from this week. Farmed in South East Asia, this white fish is a step towards more responsibly farmed alternative fish being available in the supermarket.

The fish, which is an alternative to Cod and Haddock, is native to the Mekong Delta and has been commercially farmed there since early 2000. Sainsbury’s has been working with ASC since 2011 to ensure the fish from Vietnam can be certified. The process involves assessing the comprehensive environmental and social criteria as set by ASC standard – this includes the need to conserve local biodiversity and impact on the local communities. Of particular importance is to ensure the feed used is sourced from known and sustainable sources.”

Additionally, the European Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed showed a decline in notifications regarding Pangasius raised in Vietnam from 24 in 2010 to 4 in 2012. During the same timeframe border rejections were reduced from 14 to 2.

European retailer sourcing policies often involve input from the international NGO community.

The sourcing policies developed by retailers often include commitments to aquaculture certification schemes. Within Europe there are 5 primary aquaculture certification schemes to choose from: the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC); Friend of the Sea (FOS); the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA); GlobalG.A.P. and organic schemes (whether EU or other). On the ASC’s “Partners and Supporters” webpage the following European retailers are listed as supporters: Ahold (the Netherlands); Metro Group and Edeka (Germany); and Migros (Switzerland). Friend of the Sea lists suppliers of certified product in Europe on their website. For Pangasius, 3 suppliers are listed serving greater Europe, these suppliers are based in the Netherlands and Switzerland.13 The GAA website features a webpage devoted to market endorsers. European retailers listed include among others: Aldi UK, ASDA, The Co-operative, Morrisons, Tesco and Waitrose (UK); Delhaize (Belgium); Metro Group and Rewe (Germany). GlobalG.A.P. has a number of European retailers serving on their Aquaculture Technical Committee these include: Aldi Süd, Metro Group and Rewe (Germany); El Corte Inglés (Spain); Aldi UK, ASDA, Morrisons, Sainsburys and Tesco (UK); Ahold (the Netherlands) and Carrefour (France and Spain).

The European marketplace is highly consolidated and comprises the overwhelming majority of the top 25 retailers globally.

Seafood sustainability uptake varies by retailer and country. Some retailers incorporate seafood sustainability as a part of broader initiatives such as the UK retailers Marks & Spencer Plan A or the Sainsbury’s 20 by 20 Sustainability Plan. Other retailers, such as Rewe (Germany) have developed their own proprietary label – Pro Planet to communicate sustainability.

Retailers sourcing criteria for aquaculture products can exceed a single certification scheme scope. Key issues encountered were animal health and welfare, feed free of GMO ingredients and traceability.

Finally, A new initiative the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) has been launched to help retailers assess certification schemes with the following mission and objectives.

GSSI Mission:

The mission of GSSI is to deliver a common, consistent and global bench-marking tool for seafood certification and labelling programs to ensure confidence in the supply and promotion of sustainable seafood to consumers worldwide as well as promote improvement in the certification and labelling programs.

GSSI Objectives

–       Creating an internationally agreed set of criteria and indicators to measure and compare the performance of seafood certification and labelling programs, in order to facilitate their implementation and use;

–       Providing an international Multi-Stakeholder Platform for collaboration, and knowledge exchange in seafood sustainability; and

–       Reducing cost by eliminating redundancy and improving operational efficiency of seafood certification and labelling programs, thereby increasing affordability and flexibility within the supply chain.

GSSI is currently in the development phase with the goal of being fully operational by 2015. A number of European stakeholders are directly involved in the initiative.

Study on market potential of sustainably produced Pangasius in Europe

Project: Establishing a Sustainable Pangasius Supply Chain in Vietnam

Author: Carson Roper, Independent Consultant

Contracted by: WWF Austria

September 2013


Three SPIN enterprises attend as speakers in EcoAP 15th forum on cutting waste

On November 12th 2013, at Hilton Opera Hanoi hotel, the 15th forum of Eco-innovation Action Plan was organized with the theme Cutting waste…Resource efficiency and eco-innovation for sustainable food chains. At the forum, SPIN consultants who have worked with Vietnam enterprises attended to share their challenges and opportunities in 3 sub-sectors: Food processing, Packaging and Retail.  


Dr. Marcel Cruel at the forum

There are 4 consultants from SPIN project attending the forum, including: Dr. Marcel Cruel (Delft University of Technology), Mr. Nguyen Hong Long – representing GreenChoice company, Mr. Tran Duy Long – representing VietLien Group and Mr. Doan Minh Quang – reprensenting I-Nature Knowledge Farm. The spearker held palarell roundtable discussions on 3 sub-sectors mentioned in Vietnam enterprises to find a new creative way to cut down food waste in Vietnam in particular and worldwide. At these discussions, speakers and representatives of enterprises, government and NGOs in Vietnam and other countries sat down to share their difficulties, exchange knowledge and lesson learned to improve the situation in their own countries.


Mr. Tran Duy Long – representing Viet Lien Group – share food packaking and preserving


Mr. Doan Minh Quang – representing I-Nature – present food processing

 The forum was organized to address an urgent and practical global issue – food. According to Food Agriculture Organization (FAO), food waste has occupied up to 1/3 of the amount of food produced for human demands, which causes 750 millions USD losses every year. Resources have become exhausted, world population has increased and global warming has caused negative impacts; all of these factors will exacerbate current market conditions regarding the balance of supply and demand.

Despite the fact that the amount of food produced all over the world has exceeded world population’s demand in 2013, approximately one million people are suffering from starving and two million people have malnutrition.

Food manufacturers of locals, regions and worldwide now have the opportunity to adjust their strategies and turn market challenges into opportunities by eco-innovation and creative methods to access to new market segments, improve technical capacity and profitability for businesses.

The EcoAP 15th Forum is co-organized by United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) and European Commision in collaboration with Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development and Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

News available at, November 2013

Press release of the workshop “Product Innovation – Key to Sustainable Future”

anh 4-Dong Gia

Sustainable products have been collected and displayed in Green Street, located at 45 Bat Su, Ha Noi

Project Sustainable Products Innovation (SPIN) organize a workshop on “Product Innovation – Key for Sustainable Future” with the aim to report the project’s achievements and share its experiences in product innovation in the four-year implementation in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The workshop would provide a comprehensive overview of product innovation practice and the prospects towards sustainability in Vietnam in particular and in Southeast Asia in general.




HA NOI November 14th 2013 – Project Sustainable Products Innovation (SPIN) organize a workshop on “Product Innovation – Key for Sustainable Future” with the aim to report the project’s achievements and share its experiences in product innovation in the four-year implementation in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. The workshop would provide a comprehensive overview of product innovation practice and the prospects towards sustainability in Vietnam in particular and in Southeast Asia in general. 

SPIN has worked with more than 500 small and medium entrepreneurs in 4 sectors, namely Textile, Furniture, Handicraft and Packaging; supported them to innovate products at the link: Product design (Re-design and New-design), Product strategy, Clean technology consultancy and transfer. As a result, under the tight collaboration between these companies and SPIN’s experts and designers, 2000 products have been re-designed and new-designed to be friendly to the environment, non-poisoned to human’s health, specially, potential to be massively launched to the market.

Based on the methodology of Clean technology and Efficient Natural resources Use, 85 Laos companies have innovated their products in design and 85 Cambodia companies have focus on inside-innovation. In Vietnam, the process of product innovation has not been limited in the sphere of a company but expanded to form a value chain of companies who operate in the same sectors to support each other in production. In Laos and Cambodia, the companies have been oriented to be adaptive to changing environment, in parallel; Vietnam companies have an active access based on transferred technologies which are clustered and developed by SPIN to be suitable for specific contexts of companies and the natural conditions of Vietnam.

This model and innovative business practices would help entrepreneurs enhance their competitiveness and social responsibility as well as environmental friendliness of products.

Entrepreneurs who involve in SPIN project have been raised their awareness and capacity of product innovation and production towards sustainability. Regarding this, Mr. Nguyen Hong Long, Regional Coordinator of SPIN project, shares: “Through SPIN’s workshops and training courses, most of companies have comprehended that it would be not too difficult to innovate their products and still ensure their competitiveness. These companies have been motivated to take action in product innovation with knowledge equipped and technologies transferred in order to use efficiently natural resources and utilize the waste to create the input materials for production.

More than 30 sustainable technologies have been developed, utilized and clustered into smaller groups to be applied in specific contexts of business and natural conditions of Vietnam. In details, there are three most successful applied groups which are Renewable Energy, Renewable Materials and Zero-waste Knowledge Farm. The group of renewable energy includes solar energy and gasifier for residents and industry which are applied in companies producing mushroom, bamboo products such as Ngoc Dong, Hiep Hoa…The group of renewable materials has been implemented in producing furniture, green composite pots, coiling bamboo products…

Specially, the model of zero-waste knowledge farming named I-Nature embodies 25 sustainable technologies to create circle processes to keep the balance of the environment for the growth of plants and cattle. This model has been developed from traditional agricultural model with applied new technologies, resulting in zero-waste organic farming which causing no harm to environment and human’s health. Now, the model has been deployed at 10 households in Ba Vi and Soc Son, which contributes to their income.

According to Mr. Nguyen Hong Long, SPIN has created groups of sustainable technologies and a community of entrepreneurs with strong commitment to sustainable development, which would be the foundation for sustainable future in Vietnam.

At the workshop, Dr. Marcel Crul, Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, presents the methodology of product innovation used in SPIN project and the typical case study in Vietnam. Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Hoa, Vice-director of Asian Institute of Technology Center in Vietnam, shares about Building product innovation capacity for entrepreneurs in Vietnam. As a result, Sustainable products have been collected and displayed in Green Street, located at 45 Bat Su, which was official open in September 2013.

Available at

World Bank funds Vietnam’s largest wastewater treatment plant in HCMC

The government has approved a World Bank-funded project to build the country’s largest wastewater treatment plant in Ho Chi Minh City.



The US$524 million project is in fact part of the second phase of the HCMC Environmental Sanitation Project, which began in 2001. The bank will provide $450 million and the rest will come from the city. Work will begin next year on the sewage treatment plant with a capacity of 480,000 cubic meters per day .

Also to be built is an integrated sewer system to collect sewage from District 2 and the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal Basin in Districts 1,3, 10, Phu Nhuan, Tan Binh, Binh Thanh and Go Vap, and take it to the plant for treatment instead of being dumped into the Saigon River.  The work is expected to finish in 2019.

 The HCMC Environmental Sanitation Project, which included dredging of the Nhieu Loc-Thi Nghe Canal, finally finished last year after much delay.


WWF about Establishing a Suitanable Pangasius Supply chain in Vietnam – SUPA

Ms Sabine Gisch – Boie, Project Leader of International Program, WWF Austria, emphasized the importance of quality and food safety in Establishing a sustainable Pangasius supply chain in Vietnam