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Subject category: Entrepreneurship
Published by: Stanford Business School
Originally published in: 2016
Version: 14 July 2016

Abstract

Faced with declining fisheries and ineffective government solutions, environmental organizations turned to market solutions in the mid-1990s to promote sustainable seafood. Broad-reaching, innovative leaders used a combination of consumer education efforts and corporate partnerships to transform attitudes and actions about sustainable seafood throughout the supply chain. This case tracks the rise of the sustainable seafood movement, focusing on efforts by organizations in the United States and Europe, while recognizing the movement's global scale. It explores how leaders within philanthropic foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business found creative strategies to mobilize consumers, forge novel partnerships, and bring together diverse actors around a common goal: sustainable seafood. The result of these inter-sector efforts was system-wide change in the way seafood was harvested, bought, sold, and consumed worldwide. Despite the successes of the sustainable seafood movement, challenges remain. Most pressing are the needs to further reform international fishing policy, incorporate social concerns into sustainable seafood certification standards, and ensure the benefits of the sustainable seafood movement ultimately reach producers on the water and restore marine ecosystems and fisheries populations. The case ends with optimistic advice from current leaders in the movement regarding potential ways forward as well as leadership traits needed to ensure the sustainable seafood movement retains its momentum in the future. This case is part of the Stanford Graduate School of Business free case collection (visit www.thecasecentre.org/stanfordfreecases for more information on the collection).

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Abstract

Faced with declining fisheries and ineffective government solutions, environmental organizations turned to market solutions in the mid-1990s to promote sustainable seafood. Broad-reaching, innovative leaders used a combination of consumer education efforts and corporate partnerships to transform attitudes and actions about sustainable seafood throughout the supply chain. This case tracks the rise of the sustainable seafood movement, focusing on efforts by organizations in the United States and Europe, while recognizing the movement's global scale. It explores how leaders within philanthropic foundations, non-governmental organizations, and business found creative strategies to mobilize consumers, forge novel partnerships, and bring together diverse actors around a common goal: sustainable seafood. The result of these inter-sector efforts was system-wide change in the way seafood was harvested, bought, sold, and consumed worldwide. Despite the successes of the sustainable seafood movement, challenges remain. Most pressing are the needs to further reform international fishing policy, incorporate social concerns into sustainable seafood certification standards, and ensure the benefits of the sustainable seafood movement ultimately reach producers on the water and restore marine ecosystems and fisheries populations. The case ends with optimistic advice from current leaders in the movement regarding potential ways forward as well as leadership traits needed to ensure the sustainable seafood movement retains its momentum in the future. This case is part of the Stanford Graduate School of Business free case collection (visit www.thecasecentre.org/stanfordfreecases for more information on the collection).

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