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About GDST

What is the objective of the Standard?

The GDST Standard defines what data must be collected (KDEs – Key Data Elements) and when that data must be collected (CTEs – Critical Tracking Events) as products move through seafood supply chains. It also defines how that traceability data must be formatted and communicated digitally.

Do GDST KDEs cover labor and human rights issues?

The current list of GDST KDEs focuses specifically on supporting companies in carrying out due diligence as it pertains to Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing and ensuring avoidance of sourcing from IUU fisheries. The Standard includes KDEs to reveal whether human welfare policies are in place and subject to audit.
GDST adoption and implementation is a journey that partners and other stakeholders are on, and the Standard is continually evolving through our dialogue process.

Does supporting the GDST Standard mean a company has to comply with all aspects of the Standard immediately?

No. It is clearly understood that implementation of the Standard is a journey companies pledge to complete and that companies will move through implementation at different speeds.
GDST Partners must make a specific implementation goal, based on the Standard – a clear ambition for the future, but not an immediate requirement for today. We share and celebrate these commitments on our website and in external communications.

What roles do WWF and IFT play in the GDST now?

WWF and the IFT’s GFTC are distinct organizations with different missions, but they share a strong desire to promote full-chain seafood traceability. Working together through a series of preparatory workshops around the world, they refined the vision for the GDST, in consultation with seafood industry leaders. Although preparations for the first ‘Global Dialogue’ were organized by WWF and IFT’s GFTC initially, the GDST is now a standalone, permanent platform – with a dedicated team and leadership structure, and year-round engagement with the supply chain, going beyond the Dialogue meetings.

Who funds the GDST?

The Global Dialogue was initiated with seed-funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Oceans 5 collaborative. Now in a new phase, the GDST is a Partner-driven organization, and will sustain its activities based on fee-paying Partners who become part of the GDST’s movement for interoperable digital traceability in seafood supply. The GDST is currently in a transition period between its previous and future funding model – we are building our community and welcome new Partners; offering distinct benefits for those who join.
During this transition period we are grateful for ongoing support from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation.

Is the GDST a campaigning organization, or a coalition of campaigning organizations?

No, the GDST is not a campaign body and it wasn’t set up for advocacy purposes. It is a non-profit foundation offering a business-to-business platform, facilitating pre-competitive discussions (through Dialogues) that are focused on voluntary measures to drive interoperable digital traceability within seafood supply chains.
Since 2022, the GDST has been part of the seafood industry meta-coalition – joining the Global Tuna Alliance (GTA), International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), SeaBOS, SeaPact, and the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI). Through this coalition, we carry out and support government advocacy in support of greater traceability and transparency in seafood supply chains.

Who does the GDST serve?

The GDST community serves not only the seafood industry and its related constituencies, but also civil society and governments who believe in the need for healthy, responsible, and ethical seafood supply. Through the impact of our mission and annual Dialogue process, we reach a broad coalition of invested and engaged stakeholders.

Where did the GDST come from?

The Global Dialogue was born in 2017 out of seed-funding from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and the Oceans 5 collaborative, responding to a recognised need for greater supply-chain traceability in the seafood sphere – as part of an effort to drive improvements in sustainability across the sector. The framework for establishing the Dialogue was created through workshops organized by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Institute of Food Technologists’ (IFT) Global Food Traceability Centre (GFTC), with the participation of dozens of industry stakeholders from around the world. What was an informal Dialogue between partners coalesced into the GDST – a formal, permanent platform for sharing information on interoperable digital traceability, driving progress against the Standard, and creating a movement of Partners to deliver that mission. At the heart of what we do, our Dialogues continue – helping the Standard to evolve, and drawing practical insights of stakeholders into all of our work.