The market is requiring social sustainability. Soon the industry may have to prove that it is socially sustainable. Photo: Frank Gregersen © Nofima

Project Year 2017

Social sustainability requirements

 Marketing research  

The Norwegian fisheries industry may soon have to prove that it is socially sustainable.

Social sustainability includes decent pay, health and safety standards, absence of forced labour and child labour, anti-corruption, and fair treatment of suppliers – at all levels in the supply chain. The market is increasingly requiring social sustainability.

Leading the way

“The international backdrop is serious human rights violations on fishing vessels in SE Asia, including slave labour and maltreatment. Retailers in Europe are now also demanding social sustainability, which will be reflected in requirements for the fisheries industry,” says Pirjo Honkanen, Research Director at Nofima.

In Norway, the Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF), on behalf of the entire fishing industry, wants to lead the way and commissioned Nofima to gather knowledge about social sustainability certification schemes in catch-based fisheries. What do customers want? What do existing standards say? How do Norwegian regulations compare with international voluntary standards? And not least: how should the Norwegian fisheries industry relate to the requirements for increased social sustainability?

Together with Honkanen, scientists Bjørg Helen Nøstvold from Nofima and Anne Mette Ødegård from FAFO have charted the status in the markets.


Their findings have been published in a brochure, along with a concrete recommendation:

“The Industry in Norway must work together to hammer out a document that shows how social sustainability is ensured throughout the entire value chain in Norway. The international standards for social sustainability are still in the design phase, and by addressing this issue early, we can help set the agenda and influence the end result. Representatives from shipowners, fishermen, land-based industry, workers and possibly supervisory authorities should participate”.


The Fishery and Aquaculture Industry Research Fund (FHF)

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