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From Ocean to Packaging: Inextricable links between Sustainable Seafood and Eco-Friendly Packaging

Updated: Nov 16, 2023

Fish ready to eat

By Renata Massion

Sustainability Manager | Cruz Foam

With the Responsible Seafood Summit happening last week in New Bruswick, we are all eager to dive into conversations on the latest trends in sustainable seafood.

While seafood and packaging may seem unrelated at first glance, they are intricately connected through a web of responsible supply chains and eco-friendly practices.

The Responsible Seafood Movement

The responsible seafood movement is a global effort to ensure that the seafood we enjoy on our plates is harvested in a manner that is environmentally sustainable and socially responsible. It aims to address overfishing, protect marine ecosystems, and promote fair labor practices within the seafood industry.

While concerns about overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices existed for many years prior, it was during the 1990s and early 2000s that the movement began to take shape and receive broader attention.

In 1997, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) was established to promote sustainable fishing practices through certification and labeling. The MSC's certification program has become one of the most recognized and trusted symbols for sustainable seafood worldwide. Additionally, various environmental organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Monterey Bay Aquarium, began publishing consumer guides and seafood sustainability rankings to help consumers make informed choices about which seafood products to purchase.

Since the early 2000s, the responsible seafood movement has continued to grow, with increasing awareness and efforts by governments, businesses, and consumers to support sustainable fishing practices, protect marine ecosystems, and ensure the long-term viability of seafood resources.

One of the key components of the responsible seafood movement is traceability. Traceability involves tracking the journey of seafood from its source in the ocean to the consumer's plate. This not only helps combat illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing but also ensures that seafood is sourced responsibly, reducing harm to marine ecosystems.

In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need for companies to adopt comprehensive sustainability strategies. Embracing sustainability extends beyond sourcing products responsibly, such as sustainably sourced seafood, and encompasses a broader commitment to environmental stewardship. When businesses delve into other critical aspects of their supply chains, such as packaging, they can further illuminate how interconnected and impactful their sustainability efforts can be.

The Link to Packaging

With responsible seafood sourcing becoming more popular consumers and businesses are looking at the sustainability of the broader product space, including packaging. Sustainable packaging is a critical element of any eco-conscious business strategy, and it's directly influenced by responsible seafood supply chains in several ways:

1. Material Sourcing: Sustainable packaging often relies on materials that are eco-friendly and responsibly sourced. Many companies use recycled or renewable materials like paper, cardboard, and biodegradable plastics. When seafood suppliers prioritize sustainability, they contribute to the availability of responsibly sourced materials for packaging.

2. Consumer Preferences: The seafood industry's commitment to sustainability has led to increased consumer awareness about responsible sourcing. As more consumers make ethical choices in their seafood purchases, they also demand eco-friendly packaging. This shift in consumer preferences has prompted businesses to adopt sustainable packaging solutions to align with their customers' values.

3. Collaborative Efforts: Collaboration between seafood suppliers and packaging companies is another important aspect of this interplay. When both parties share a commitment to sustainability, they can work together to develop innovative packaging solutions that reduce waste and environmental impact. These collaborations can result in packaging materials designed specifically for seafood products, enhancing freshness and shelf life.

4. Environmental Impact: Responsible seafood supply chains help reduce the ecological footprint of the seafood industry itself. By mitigating overfishing and adopting sustainable fishing practices, the industry contributes to healthier oceans and marine ecosystems. These environmental gains indirectly benefit the packaging industry by reducing the overall environmental impact of the supply chain.

Our Role in the Journey

At Cruz Foam we understand the importance of responsible sourcing in both the seafood and packaging industries. We are committed to creating high-performing and earth-friendly packaging solutions while implementing practices that align with the values of responsible seafood supply chains.

Our foam products are designed not only to be effective and efficient but also to minimize their impact on the environment. By using responsibly sourced materials such as landfill bound chitin, we contribute to reducing the demand for new resources and help create a circular economy. Additionally, we take into account our impact from sourcing to disposal by only creating products that can be composted or recycled.

The Cruz Cool is our flagship insulated cooler made for products such as seafood, pharma, or any other cold chain product. We carefully engineered this product with the entire supply chain in mind - taking inspiration from the due diligence practices used in the responsible seafood sector. Cruz Foam, which forms the inner insulation layer of Cruz Cool, is home-compostable and made from 70% upcycled ingredients. The entire product is certified curbside recyclable meaning no part of the product should end up in landfill.

In conclusion, the responsible seafood movement and the sustainable packaging industry are two sides of the same sustainability coin. The responsible sourcing of seafood influences packaging choices, and eco-friendly packaging supports responsible seafood supply chains. This interconnectedness highlights the importance of collaboration and a shared commitment to sustainability across industries. By choosing responsibly sourced seafood and sustainable packaging, we can all contribute to a healthier planet and a more responsible future.

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