About RISE

The Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE)

Created by FishWise with the support of the Walmart Foundation, RISE helps companies to navigate human and labor rights challenges and create the conditions for decent work across seafood supply chains. RISE is built specifically for the seafood industry and addresses this industry’s unique challenges and opportunities.

Aligned with International Norms

RISE provides a platform where companies may access credible, industry-specific tools, learning resources, and consultants and other experts to support the implementation of a robust social responsibility program. This approach, articulated in the Roadmap and Foundations, is aligned with the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, supports companies in upholding core International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions, and builds towards the ILO Decent Work Agenda and United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 8.

For more information on the different types of resources made available to companies through RISE, please visit the Roadmap, Resources, and Community pages.

Tailored for the Seafood Industry

Seafood is often sourced via a complex web of vessels, farms, processing facilities, and distributors, spanning multiple continents. The remote and hazardous nature of much of this work, coupled with a lack of supply chain transparency and the demand for low prices, compound the risks to workers and companies. At the same time, demand for responsibly sourced products is growing. Furthermore, governments are paying increased attention to human rights risks in multinational supply chains, resulting in stronger regulations and more consistent enforcement.

The complexity of these interrelated issues requires sophisticated and diverse solutions. Many companies are taking practical steps to drive progress throughout their supply chains. However, businesses committed to the fair treatment of workers should have a strategic, targeted approach for improving social responsibility in their supply chains.

Today, businesses need a one-stop-shop to learn about the human rights risks impacting seafood supply chains, find streamlined and usable guidance tailored to their operations, and identify organizations that can support them in their journey.

RISE is here to help companies meet these needs, by providing:

  • Eight simple and actionable steps companies may take to build comprehensive social responsibility programs.
  • Detailed information on the three RISE Foundations of a strong seafood social responsibility program, including Responsible Recruitment, Worker Engagement, and Decent Work at Sea.
  • Best practices for assessing risk, remediating issues, building capacity with suppliers, and communicating company successes.
  • eLearning modules tailored for retailers/brands, suppliers, processors, and producers to empower companies to get started or accelerate their journeys.
  • A self-assessment tool to direct companies to the most relevant information
  • The Social Responsibility Assessment Tool for the Seafood Sector (SRA) and associated resources for Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) implementers.

RISE is a Project of FishWise

FishWise’s mission is to sustain ocean ecosystems and the people who depend on them by transforming global seafood supply chains. For nearly twenty years, FishWise has worked closely with the seafood industry to advance leadership in sustainability. By convening government, industry, and civil society organizations to advance traceability and human rights in seafood supply chains, FishWise has become an authority on seafood social responsibility. Today, FishWise continues to work alongside its retail partners and a growing network of experts to understand and address these issues.

Both traceability—the ability to track the movement of seafood through supply chains—and social responsibility are core to FishWise’s work and expertise. To drive progress within the seafood sector, FishWise offers two free, publicly available platforms, the Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE) and the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT).

Learn more about FishWise.

Frequently Asked Questions

Working conditions and other social responsibility issues are a significant and growing concern for the seafood sector. Seafood businesses increasingly recognize that a proactive approach to protecting workers is essential for maintaining public trust and resiliency in supply chains. Overlooking human rights impacts in supply chains can create devastating consequences, both for the workers affected and for the value and ongoing viability of the businesses involved. RISE was created by FishWise to provide human rights guidance and resources, tailored to meet the specific needs of the seafood industry.

RISE serves to complement and increase the level of alignment and compatibility among existing recognized targets, initiatives, and frameworks. Among these are the ILO Decent Work Agenda, ILO Core Conventions, UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework.

RISE focuses on the most salient human and labor rights issues within the seafood industry. The Roadmap prioritizes three foundational topics necessary to implement meaningful improvements in seafood. RISE also provides guidance for companies assessing their impact and risk related to the most urgent human rights issues, such as forced labor, human trafficking, and debt bondage.

FishWise recognizes that there are additional aspects of seafood sustainability that companies need to consider, including traceability, fisheries management, and food security. Many initiatives and resources already address these topics, some of which are included on RISE. We encourage companies to apply or participate in other standards, partnerships, and initiatives focused on these topics.

Contact FishWise for more information about supporting your company’s environmental sustainability, traceability, and advocacy efforts for seafood.

RISE is a free resource tailored to meet the needs of seafood companies. It provides industry-relevant information and tools, coupled with connections to human rights experts to support implementation. Companies can use the Roadmap to identify and address human and labor rights abuses in their seafood supply chains. RISE is endorsed by industry leaders, human rights and labor organizations, and leading environmental nonprofit organizations (NGOs) because it provides credible and well-informed guidance and tools to support implementation, mitigate risk for companies, and make improvements that positively impact the lives of workers.

RISE is more than a due diligence (<Glossary>) tool. While the Roadmap steps are modelled upon traditional human rights due diligence in line with the ILO Core Conventions and UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, RISE also addresses key issues affecting the seafood industry, such as responsible recruitment, worker engagement, and decent work at sea. RISE promotes a dynamic and iterative approach to human rights, specific to seafood supply chains.

RISE also provides guidance on topics such as making social responsibility commitments, building supply chain capacity, communicating on progress, and collaborating with others to accelerate sector improvements.

Traceability—the ability to track the movement of seafood through supply chains—is vital to the verification of many of the actions and steps included on RISE. Information about traceability is found throughout the RISE website, including:

  • Special Topics – a page devoted to traceability
  • Assess Risk RISE Step – includes information about mapping supply chains and traceability
  • Build Capacity RISE Step – includes information about building or supporting supply chain traceability
  • Community – features organizations supporting traceability efforts, including Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT), The Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability (GDST), and Future of Fish

Traceability and social responsibility are both core to FishWise’s work and expertise. To drive progress within the seafood sector, FishWise offers two free, public-access platforms: this Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics (RISE) and the Seafood Alliance for Legality and Traceability (SALT).

SALT is a global alliance for knowledge exchange and action to promote legal and sustainable fisheries through improved transparency in seafood supply chains. SALT brings together the seafood industry, governments, and non-governmental organizations to accelerate learning and support collaboration on innovative solutions for legal and sustainable seafood, with a particular focus on traceability. Implemented by FishWise, SALT is a public-private partnership between the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the David & Lucile Packard, Gordon & Betty Moore, and Walton Family Foundations.

Visit the SALT website

The RISE Foundations are core building blocks of a seafood company’s social responsibility program. While companies may face different human rights risks within their supply chains, some challenges are common across the seafood industry. By implementing responsible recruitment policies and practices, developing meaningful worker engagement programs, and fostering conditions for decent work at sea, seafood companies minimize human rights risks and maximize opportunities to create value for workers.

Responsible Recruitment

Companies ensure that workers are voluntarily recruited into their supply chains through legal and ethical processes, with worker safeguards and transparency built into the hiring process. Workers do not pay fees to secure a job.

Worker Engagement

Companies establish processes to meaningfully engage workers in developing and implementing relevant policies, protocols, and practices. Workers or their representatives are consulted to contribute and verify data in a human rights due diligence process.

Decent Work At Sea

Companies provide at-sea workers access to resources and protections equivalent to those of workers on land, especially given the dangerous and often remote nature of fishing. Seafood products are traceable to the vessel level.

Seafood retailers and brands, suppliers, processors, and producers are the primary audiences for RISE. However, there are many other stakeholders whose participation is essential for enabling, supporting, and incentivizing progress in social responsibility. NGOs that partner with seafood businesses play a key role in educating companies on their social responsibility risks and how RISE can support them in making improvements. Governments may use RISE to develop and strengthen public policies and regulations for protecting human and labor rights. Funders may use RISE to identify the leading organizations working on human and labor rights to fund increased impact.

RISE provides specific guidance and resources for retailers and brands, suppliers, processors, and producers. Companies may find additional guidance on special topics like distant water fishing, traceability, and aquaculture in the Resources section of RISE.

It is crucial that companies eventually adopt all elements of RISE that are applicable to their operations or role in the supply chain. That said, many companies will need to adopt a stepwise approach to making improvements to their supply chain practices, policies, and procedures. A commitment to progress is critical, and RISE offers a structured approach to improve performance and to demonstrate progress along the way.

RISE is not a compliance standard, certification system, or benchmark, so it is not possible to be certified or verified against RISE. Companies may use the guidance, resources, and tools found in RISE to guide their due diligence process which may include certification as one component.

Companies that wish to demonstrate their use of RISE are encouraged to do so, and should at minimum:

  • Align their social responsibility commitments with content included in the eight steps outlined in the Roadmap and three Foundations
  • Develop robust programs that meet the guidance included in the Roadmap Steps and Foundations
  • Publicly report progress

Companies that are interested in sharing their experience working on these issues may submit a case study to RISE@FishWise.org

Companies are encouraged to publicly communicate their support for RISE and their use of RISE to establish, implement, and monitor their commitments. RISE can help companies demonstrate that their policies and practices are aligned with current best practices and expectations for socially responsible seafood businesses. Public support for RISE will also help accelerate broader adoption and demonstrate its value to supply chain partners and stakeholder groups working on human and labor rights.

 

The RISE logo/brand may not be used in consumer facing product, packaging, or marketing materials, nor as a claim of responsible practice – see Disclaimer.

Acknowledgment

FishWise offers special thanks and recognition to Verité and Issara Institute for contributing technical expertise, content, and strategic recommendations to the original Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics.

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FishWise promotes the health and recovery of ocean ecosystems by providing innovative market-based tools to the seafood industry, supporting sustainability through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.

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