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Marine Stewardship Council triples income in less than a decade

Leading eco-label group relies mainly on logo licensing fees for its funding.

The Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) annual income has tripled since 2009, while the number of its certified products has surged from 2,387 in 2009 to 28,516 in 2018, a more than 1,000 percent jump.

In its 2017/2018 annual report released last week, the MSC reported a total income of £24.8 million ($32.4 million/€28.6 million). The group reported funds of just over £8 million ($10.4 million/€9.2 million) in 2009, according to its 2008/2009 annual report.

The bulk of the group's funding these days -- 73 percent -- comes from logo licensing fees paid by companies using the MSC eco-label. Another 24 percent of the MSC's income is derived from donations from charitable organizations, such as the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the Walton Family Foundation, WWF and others. In all, the MSC received charitable funding from more than 25 foundations, NGOs and corporations, according to its latest report.

This contrasts greatly with the revenue profile in the 2008/2009 report, in which 49 percent of the groups funding came from charitable organizations and 38 percent from logo licensing fees.

The group spent £20.2 million ($26.3 million/€23.2 million), it reported in its 2017/2018 report, largely across three program initiatives. It spent 23 percent of its funds on costs associated with "policy and maintenance" of the MSC standard; 31 percent was spent on education and awareness efforts; and 36 percent of the funding was spent on "commercial and fisheries servicing and outreach.

In its 2008/2009 report, the MSC spent just over £5.7 million ($7.4 million/€6.5 million) -- 39 percent on commercial and fisheries outreach; 30 percent on maintenance of its standard; and 21 percent on education and awareness programs.

In terms of the number of fisheries certified, the MSC now has 315 approved fisheries in its program, a steep jump from the 42 it reported in its 2008/2009 report. As of March 2018, 13 fisheries had certificates suspended.

Today's MSC certified fisheries account for 10.3 million metric tons of seafood, or 13 percent of the global marine catch. In 2009, the MSC reported more than 2.4 million metric tons of seafood came from MSC-certified fisheries.

The MSC is planning to have 20 percent of the global marine catch under its certification program by 2020.

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