Eco-Labels: The biggest threat to the eNGO Business Model?

cropped-yellow-fin-tuna-school3

Today I was going through a considerable Backlog of Seafood.com stories when I came across the Seafood.com “Top Story” for 21 February, 2013. Once again I felt compelled to share what I found; but first permit me a little rant…

There has been a notable and demonstrable increase in public relations type attacks by eNGOs on eco-labels. Some of them quite cynical… I remember the slanderous PR attacks on Global Trust last year, and this year has already seen sustained pressure on the MSC label…  

It isn’t difficult to deduce why these attacks are occurring

Oceana banner

Oceana Banners (see Oceana.org)

Marine Resource eco-label companies like MSC, Friends of the Sea and Global Trust are in the solutions business. They certify conformance to internationally accepted standards, and recognise progress and improvement. On the other hand, eNGOs  are in the problems business. Their business model requires the identification of problems, and then the seeking of funding (usually by donations from supporters who back them) to address those problems (mostly through public relations and public ‘education’ campaigns).

HERE IS THE RUB (as I see it):

ECO LABEL COMPANIES LIKE MSC ARE A CONDUIT BY WHICH INDUSTRIES AND GOVERNMENTS ARE ABLE TO DEMONSTRATE TO THE PUBLIC THAT NOT ONLY  HAVE THEY BEEN ADDRESSING PROBLEMS THEMSELVES, BUT ALSO THAT THEY HAVE MADE VERIFIABLE PROGRESS & /OR CHANGE FOR THE BETTER… AND SO ONE BY ONE THE PROBLEMS [IDENTIFIED BY eNGOS] ARE GOING AWAY… AND WITH THEM THE eNGO BUSINESS MODEL.

So anyway here is the article for you… ( I inserted the bold text for emphasis).

Oceana attempts to use seafood labeling issues as wedge to sow consumer distrust

A new report on DNA testing by Oceana that found 40% of restaurants sampled had some form of mislabeled seafood is getting a lot of media play today. We ask why would Oceana spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on DNA testing to show that there are labeling issues with red snapper, escolar, and that sometimes pacific cod is substituted for Atlantic. These are well known issues. We think it is because prior tactics of scaring consumers about overfishing are failing. No longer does the American public believe that commercial fishing is emptying the oceans, or driving stocks to extinction. Facts have proved the doom sayers wrong. So now, undermining trust in seafood is a new wedge issue – aimed to help in their campaigns to restrict bottom trawling, establish more protected areas, to reduce international trade in seafood, and to eliminate bycatch.

At issue is whether these problems are addressed through science, or emotionally through innuendo. The study was not a scientific sample – but was deliberately skewed to produce its results -and then apply those results across the board to the entire industry. This does not bode well for a science based approach to problem solving. We address this in our video today .

In other news […]

California is reporting the best chinook harvest since 2005, which kind of proves our point above, given the fishery was closed for two seasons due to poor returns. Furthermore, numbers for 2013 are very encouraging as well.

In the UK fishermen are crying foul over the Fish Fight Campaign, as celebrities disconnected from the seafood industry make more and more outrageous demands. The latest one was that England should turn to diver scallops (less than 2%) of their total supply due to the dangers of dredges.

John Sackton, Editor And Publisher Seafood.com News

What’s my Point

Recently I have become quite interested in business model of eNGOs and how this model plays out operationally. With solutions based initiatives now firmly part of the market, are we seeing ‘companies’ (and I say this on purpose) with a problems based agenda finding themselves increasing marginalised?

I wager that very soon only those eNGO ‘companies’ that have adapted to the solutions based approach that has emerged from public private partnerships between government and industry will prevail. 

Advertisements

7 thoughts on “Eco-Labels: The biggest threat to the eNGO Business Model?

  1. Pingback: Provocation: The use of imagery by some eNGOs to obtain an appropriate responses from customers | Green Fish Blue Fish

  2. Pingback: Can Fish Eco-Labeling be Trusted? An MSC Label Can!! Right? | Green Fish Blue Fish

  3. Pingback: Tuna Tales: Yellowfin stocks look good in WCPO – Sealord aim to keep it this way | Green Fish Blue Fish

  4. Pingback: Save the Sea? Is it getting ridiculous? | Green Fish Blue Fish

  5. Pingback: Eco-Labels: According to a Report commissioned by MSC co-founder WWF, MSC is still the best eco-label for wild caught fish, | Green Fish Blue Fish

  6. Pingback: Alaska: According to US consumers Alaska is setting the gold-standard for sustainable seafood | Green Fish Blue Fish

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s