The Vision

What is more important to the world - food or sport?

We can live without sport but we cannot survive without food. Yet, have you ever considered how we govern these two matters? Food and sport are governed entirely different.

By the end of this century we will need to produce the same amount of food as we produced in the past 10,000 years. So have reached a time when we should be querying the myriad of rules which add burdens of cost and inefficiency?

Let us take soccer/football considered tobe the ‘world game’.  

global standards1Soccer is played under the same rules in every country.

Once you have learned the game then you can travel anywhere in the world to play and the rules are the same. There are so many benefits in this method. Even people who do not play can easily understand the rules. Governments are rarely seen as intervening in the rules and the game continues to expand.

Many believe, due to the extraordinary amount of publicity it obtains that soccer is run by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA ; "International Federation of Association Football"), however, this is the international governing body of association footballfutsal and beach soccer only. FIFA is responsible for the organisation of football's major international tournaments, notably the World Cup  and the Women's World Cup.

It is the International Football Association Board (IFAB) which is the body that determines the Laws of the Game of association football. IFAB was founded in 1886 to agree standardized Laws for international competition, and has since acted as the "guardian" of the internationally used Laws; since its establishment in 1904 FIFA, the sport's top governing body, has recognized IFAB's jurisdiction over the Laws. IFAB is known to take a highly conservative attitude regarding changes to the Laws of the Game.

It is a separate body from FIFA, though FIFA is represented on the board and holds 50% of the voting power. As a legacy of association football's origins in the British Isles, the other organisations represented are the governing bodies of the game in the four countries of the United Kingdom. Amendments to the Laws require a three-quarter supermajority vote, meaning that FIFA's support is necessary but not sufficient for a motion to pass.

I would suggest that whilst many people know about soccer and the rules they would not have been aware of who actually governs those rules.

The key here lies in the word ‘standardized’. We may not be aware of them, but we use standards every day, in all aspects of our daily lives – in communications, media, healthcare, food, transport, construction, furniture, energy, etc.

Using standards can offer a set of powerful business and marketing tools for industries and organizations of all sizes. You can use them to fine-tune your performance and manage the risks you face while operating in more efficient and sustainable ways; they’ll allow you to demonstrate the quality of what you do to your customers; and they help you to see how to embed best practice into your organization.

Last year research was done in the UK and a report published, ‘The Economic Contribution of Standards to the UK Economy’. The research found that standards boost UK productivity and improve performance, kick-start innovation, and support UK domestic and international trade. Conducted by independent experts the report was a very comprehensive study on the economic benefits of standards and looked at economic data from 1921-2013.

The report analyzed the macroeconomic and microeconomic impact of BSI’s consensus-based voluntary standards across the UK economy. It concludes that they are a vital part of the strength of UK industry and play a crucial and often invisible role in supporting economic growth.

The research found that:

  • £8.2 billion is the amount that standards contribute to the UK economy
  • 37.4% of UK productivity growth can be attributed to standards
  • 28.4% of annual UK GDP growth can be attributed to standards, equivalent to £8.2 billion
  • £6.1 billion of additional UK exports per year can be attributed to standards

The UK food and drink manufacturing sector saw an increase in turnover by £10.2 billion per year through its use of standards. Standards increased total turnover in all seven sectors studied by £33.3 billion per year.

Of those companies surveyed 84% say that using standards enhances their reputation; 73% say that standards allow greater control of environmental problems; 89% say that standards contribute to the optimization of compliance with regulations, such as health and safety legislation; 50% say that standards encourage innovation through the diffusion of knowledge; and 70% say that standards contribute to improving their supply chain by improving the quality of supplier products and services.

The research also identified that investing in standards pays dividends for organizations that use them and that standards always generate more benefits for companies than they cost to implement.

Wow….think of how we as an industry could benefit if we created global standards as an industry and you will start to understand how we could then have a global model in much the same way as soccer.

Governments will always say that they are keen to reduce red tape for both the private and public sectors, and yet there are always barriers put in the way. A key way to break this down is to have regulators and their inspectors concentrate their efforts on those organizations who present the highest risk – rather than putting the burden on everyone, as has often been the case in the past.

This is where standards play a major role. Not to replace regulations, but to complement them. Standards are shaped by best practice, so if an organization is using them, it’s probably being well managed. This makes it easier for regulators to decide where to focus their attention. Standards are the foundation on which a risk-based approach to regulation can be built.

Using global standards also helps the government’s own processes become more efficient, for example eliminating waste and achieving maximum value for money in areas like its procurement processes. 

Using standards benefits government organizations in many ways, from streamlining their own processes to helping build alternative approaches to regulation.

Surely food is much more important that sport and there is a call to action now to take our industry to higher status and your engagement on this journey is required.

This is our vision:

Global Seafood Standard

This Standard brings in all aspects of world’s best business practicies such as food safety; sustainability; animal health and welfare; occupational health and safety; traceability; fish names; logistics; biosecurity, etc, etc. This is how we play the ‘game’ – the overriding rules.

Global Species Standards

These Standards cover all aspects of species from pre-harvest through to retail. This can be done species by species but also group by group. It can engage in higher level processes if members of the industry want to show leadership. There is a minimum ground level but there is no ceiling. This is about what we play the ‘game’ with.

Global Development Standards

These Standards cover how we develop our industry and our people; how we communicate; how we engage with our consumers. This is about how we look after our ‘game’ and the players within and the community.