08 Prawn Farming - Ben

Raw materials

Pioneering sustainable standards

We are creating independent standards that address the environmental, social and economic challenges that impact our suppliers, growers and farmers.

The challenge

Not all of our key raw materials have standards in place  that address the economic, environmental and social challenges that suppliers, farmers and growers face all around the world. In 2011, we committed to source our key raw materials sustainability to independent standards.

What we're doing

We are creating our own independent sustainability standards to build upon existing standards and to fill in any gaps.  Working with SAI Global as our standards development body, we are creating an overarching sustainability standard to work across all of our product manufacturers. This is underpinned by specific key raw materials standards that focus on our agricultural value chains, including cocoa, timber and prawns.

We now have our first standard in place for farmed prawns that works for our prawn farmers in Thailand and spans environmental factors including water quality through to social impact, worker welfare and the productivity levels of the business.  To form the standard we collaborated with non-governmental organisations, the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and the Marine Conservation Society, alongside our supplier as well as our wider Thai prawn supply base.

Dominique Gautier, Ph.D., who is the Director of Sustainability for our supplier, Seafresh Group, commented on how the farmed prawn standard is helping our farmers: “The new Sainsbury farmed prawn Sustainability Standard and Supplier Assessment tool is an innovative approach to standard compliance and supporting continuous improvement. It is designed as a management tool to be used by producers themselves to drive improvements in their production system and overall business. One very exciting application is providing a practical tool for supporting disadvantaged small operators in developing the capacity of to access the higher standards of retail supply chain routes to market.”

Our approach means we can complement existing standards while ensuring we address the key issues to ensure our products and materials are sourced in a way that is environmentally, economically and socially sustainable.

What's next 

The Farmed Prawn standard has been recognised by our suppliers as a way to improve, while adding value by capturing data. The standard improves our warm water prawns supply chain by making production more efficient and reducing environmental impacts.

We currently have 13 of our standards completed ready for our supply chains and in the year ahead we’ll continue to develop the remaining key raw material standards and roll out the application and assessment of our standards through our supply chains. This will support the continuous improvement of our suppliers, farmers and growers in 35 global value chains.