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New Research Reveals Levels of Consumer Trust in Seafood Labelling

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Early results from the MSC’s latest survey of more than 16,000 seafood consumers show that more than half (55%) doubt that the seafood they consume is what it says on the packet. Across the 21 countries surveyed, 65% of those purchasing seafood say they want to know that their fish can be traced back to a known and trusted source, with six in ten (63%) saying they look to ecolabels as a trusted source of information.

The findings come as the organisation today released results from its DNA testing of MSC labelled seafood products. In 2015, the MSC commissioned the Wildlife DNA Forensics unit at Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA) to conduct DNA tests on a random sample of 257 MSC labelled seafood products from 16 countries. The test verifies that the species described on the packaging is the same as that in the product. The DNA test results show that over 99%* of MSC labelled products are correctly labelled.

Commenting on the results, MSC CEO Rupert Howes said, “Given a recent academic study showing that globally around 30% of seafood is mislabelled«, the results of the MSC’s DNA testing program are very positive. Seafood sold with the blue MSC label can be traced back to a sustainable source, and our robust chain of custody requirements provide reassurance that it’s correctly labelled.”

The latest round of DNA testing is the fifth to be commissioned by the MSC. Previous results also showed very little mislabelling of MSC labelled seafood. The MSC’s DNA testing program and results are captured in a new report, Ocean to plate: How DNA testing helps to ensure traceable sustainable seafood.

Mr Howes adds: “High profile food scares such as the European horsemeat scandal have left many consumers wary of claims made on food packaging. Food fraud undermines the efforts of reputable fishers and traders and has led to wide recognition of the need for credible traceability in the supply chain. The MSC Chain of Custody program is one of the most recognised and widely used ways of providing this reassurance to seafood consumers and businesses.”

MSC labelled fish is sold and processed by certified organisations operating in more than 38,000 sites in over 100 countries. Fishers, processors, retailers and chefs handling MSC certified seafood must follow strict requirements to ensure that seafood is traceable and correctly labelled. The MSC Chain of Custody Standard is used by international seafood suppliers, brands and retailers such as IKEA, McDonalds, Iglo and Lidl to ensure the integrity of the products they sell.

Alfred Schumm, WWF’s Smart Fishing Initiative leader said: “By preferentially purchasing sustainable seafood, consumers are rewarding responsible fishers and their efforts to safeguard our marine resources. A traceable supply chain, from the consumer back to sustainable fisheries, is fundamental to consumers’ trust and confidence in the seafood they’re buying. The MSC’s requirements for traceability are essential if we are to maintain healthy fish populations and ocean ecosystems.”

All MSC certified seafood comes from fisheries which have been independently certified to the MSC’s standard for sustainable fishing, widely recognised as the world’s most credible and robust seafood sustainability certification.

Martin Gill, Managing Director at Acoura Marine, an independent auditor accredited to certify organisations to  supply MSC certified products said: “Acoura certifies over 100 companies to the MSC Chain of Custody and it is our opinion that it is without doubt one of the most robust traceability standards within the food industry. Our clients go to great lengths to improve their practices to meet this standard. While at times it’s not easy for them, once they achieve certification they have all been able to benefit both commercially and reputationally.  The MSC certified badge is one which suppliers are extremely proud to have and these DNA results not only testify to their efforts to improve traceability, they also show us how committed they are in the aims and objectives of the MSC as an organisation.”

There are now more than 20,000 MSC labelled products available in around 100 countries. To accompany the test findings, the MSC has released a new animation for consumers showing the journey of MSC certified seafood from ocean to plate.

Follow the conversation: #OceanToPlate.

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Build, Buy, Or Retrofit? 3 Green Housing Considerations

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green housing techniques

Green housing is in high demand, but it’s not yet widely available, posing a serious problem: if you want to live an eco-friendly lifestyle, do you invest in building something new and optimize it for sustainability, or do you retrofit a preexisting building?

The big problem when it comes to choosing between these two options is that building a new home creates more waste than retrofitting specific features of an existing home, but it may be more efficient in the long-run. For those concerned with waste and their environmental footprint, the short term and long term impacts of housing are in close competition with each other.

New Construction Options

One reason that new construction is so desired among green living enthusiasts is that it can be built to reflect our highest priorities. Worried about the environmental costs of heating your home? New construction can be built using passive solar design, a strategy that uses natural light and shade to heat or cool the home. Builders can add optimal insulation, build with all sustainable materials, and build exactly to the scale you need.

In fact, scale is a serious concern for new home buyers and builders alike. Individuals interested in green housing will actively avoid building more home than they need – scaling to the square foot matter because that’s more space you need to heat or cool – and this is harder to do when buying. You’re stuck with someone else’s design. In this vein, Missouri S&T’s Nest Home design, which uses recycled shipping containers, combines the tiny home trend with reuse and sustainability.

The Simple Retrofit

From an environmental perspective, there’s an obvious problem with building a new home: it’s an activity of mass consumption. There are already 120 million single-family homes and duplexes in the United States; do we really need more?

Extensive development alone is a good enough reason to intelligently retrofit an existing home rather than building new green structures, but the key is to do so with as little waste as possible. One option for retrofitting older homes is to install new smart home technology that can automate home regulation to reduce energy use.

Real estate agent Roxanne DeBerry sees clients struggle with issues of efficiency on a regular basis. That’s why she recommends tools like the Nest Thermostat, which develops a responsive heating and cooling schedule for the home and can be remotely adjusted via smartphone. Other smart tools for home efficiency include choosing Energy Star appliances and installing water-saving faucets and low-pressure toilets. These small changes add up.

Big Innovations

Ultimately, the most effective approach to green housing is likely to be aggressive retrofitting of everything from period homes to more recent construction. This will reduce material use where possible and prevent further aggressive land use. And finally, designers, activists, and engineers are coming together to develop such structures.

In the UK, for example, designers are interested in finding ways to adapt period houses for greater sustainability without compromising their aesthetics. Many have added solar panels, increased their insulation levels, and recently they even developed imitation sash triple glazed windows. As some have pointed out, the high cost of heating these homes without such changes will push these homes out of relevance without these changes. This is a way of saving existing structures.

Harvard is also working on retrofitting homes for sustainability. Their HouseZero project is designed for near-zero energy use and zero carbon emissions using geothermal heating and temperature radiant surfaces. The buildings bridge the gap between starting over and putting up with unmanageable heating and cooling bills.

It will take a long time to transition the majority of individuals to energy efficient, green housing but we’re headed in the right direction. What will your next home be like? As long as the answer is sustainable, you’re part of the solution to our chronic overuse – of land, energy, water, and more.

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Environment

How the Auto Industry is Lowering Emissions

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auto industry to clean air pollution

Currently, the automotive industry is undergoing an enormous change in a bid to lower carbon emissions. This has been pushed by the Government and their clean air plans, where they have outlined a plan to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040.

Public Health Crisis

It is said that the levels of air pollution lead to 40,000 early deaths in the UK, with London being somewhere that is particularly bad. This has led to the new T-Charge, where heavy polluting cars will pay a new charge on top of the existing congestion charge. Other cities have taken action too, with Oxford recently announcing that they will be banning petrol and diesel cars from the city centre by 2020.

Eco-Friendly Vehicles

It is clear that the Government is taking action, but what about the auto industry? With the sale of petrol and diesel plummeting and a sharp rise in alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is clear that the industry is taking note and switching focus to green cars. There are now all kinds of fantastic eco-friendly cars available and a type to suit every motorist whether it is a small city car or an SUV.

Used Cars

Of course, it is the cars that are currently on the road that are causing the problem. The used car market is enormous and filled with polluting automobiles, but there are steps that you can take to avoid dangerous automobiles. It is now more important than ever to get vehicle checks carried out through HPI, as these can reveal important information about the automobile’s past and they find that 1 in 3 cars has a hidden secret of some kind. Additionally, they can now perform recall checks to see if the manufacturer has recalled that particular automobile. This allows people to shop confidently and find vehicles that are not doing as much damage to the environment as others.

Public Perception

With the rise in sales of alternatively fuelled vehicles, it is now becoming increasingly more common to see them on UK roads. Public perception has changed drastically in the last few years and this is because of the air pollution crisis, as well as the fact that there are now so many different reasons to switch to electric cars, such as Government grants and no road tax. A similar change in public opinion has happened in the United States, with electric car sales up by 47% in 2017.

Progress

The US is leading the way for lowering emissions as they have declined by 758 million metric tons since 2005, which is the largest amount by far with the UK in second with a decline of 170 million metric tons. Whilst it is clear that these two nations are doing a good job, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done in order to improve the air quality and stop so many premature deaths as a result of pollution.

With the Government’s plans, incentives to make the change and a change in public perception, it seems that the electric car revolution is fully underway.

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