The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations is a specialized agency of the United Nations that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and a founding member of GSSI. Acting as a neutral forum where FAO Member States meet to negotiate and debate policy, they supported the development of a common benchmark for seafood certification schemes. GSSI used the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF), the FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine/Inland Capture Fisheries and the FAO Technical Guidelines on Aquaculture Certification, which were endorsed by the Committee on Fisheries (COFI), because these guidelines are globally accepted instruments that set the bar for responsible fisheries and ecolabelling.
Initial Draft of the Global Benchmark Tool
In 2013 and 2014, the Expert Working Groups developed initial drafts of the Benchmark Framework and the Benchmark Process. These documents were approved by the GSSI Steering Board in June 2014.
June – August 2014
First Consultation Period
The first consultation period included a series of consultation workshops and webinars, as well as online outreach for gathering stakeholder comments.
August 2014 – March 2015
Revised Draft of Global Benchmark Tool
The Expert Working Groups used input from the first consultation period to develop a revised draft of the Global Benchmark Tool.
Pilot Testing Program
The pilot testing program was conducted with eight seafood certification schemes worldwide using the revised draft of the Benchmark Tool. The schemes gave particular attention to major issues flagged in the first consultation period. The pilot testing program helped pressure test the key steps of the Benchmark Process and to assess the applicability of the Components in the Benchmark Framework.
April – June 2015
Second Consultation Period
The second (60 day) consultation period ran from April to June 2015 and included webinars and electronic outreach for gathering stakeholder comments.
June – September 2015
Final draft of Global Benchmark Tool
The Expert Working Groups used input from the second consultation period and pilot testing to develop a final draft of the Global Benchmark Tool, which was approved by the GSSI Steering Board in September 2015.
Launch Global Benchmark Tool
The Global Benchmark Tool was launched with the FAO at the 20-year anniversary of the adoption of the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.