ENVIRONMENTAL & SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
Recognizing the need to demonstrate sustained, improved practices for downstream buyers and wider stakeholders, as well as incentivize and reward improved practices in production, SARCA is developing an Assurance Framework, which aims to articulate and provide assurance to the key components of a sustainable and responsible reptile trade.
SARCA is applying a standardized approach and methodology to the assurance framework, based on ISEAL Standards, and underpinned by robust science and stakeholder engagement. The Assurance Framework will define minimum and best practice standards of performance, an approach to assessment against the agreed standards, and revision of the merits and practicalities of further performance assurance.
In 2021, SARCA initiated the Responsible Reptile Sourcing Standard (RRSS) in order to define levels of environmental and social performance required by reptile processing facilities and farms, covering four modules: business integrity, animal welfare, and social and environmental responsibility.
The intention is for the RRSS to be:
Outcome-oriented: Enable and enhance positive outcomes for the reptiles and people involved in the trade, and their supporting environments and communities.
Inclusive of all players: Ensure the standards are cognizant of the characteristics of operations in production countries, with varying levels of ability on the issues, capacity, and resources to invest in improved practices.
Geared for continuous improvement: Incentivize standard uptake and continuous improvement by recognizing and rewarding achievements.
Aligned with stakeholder expectations: Ensure standards are feasible, meet local regulatory and industry development priorities, meet the needs of business and wider international stakeholders, and leverage international guidelines and best practices.
To ensure the robustness and completeness of the RRSS, SARCA has an ongoing multi-stakeholder consultation process in 2021, to inform and build the credibility of the standard, in accordance with ISEAL Alliance guidance. The consultation is open to the public via a web portal here. In addition, SARCA has identified and mapped a representative group of stakeholders to participate in the consultation process based on a range of stakeholder types (e.g., science/academia, international development organizations, NGO/CSO, industry, regulators, etc.) and areas of expertise (e.g. human and labor rights, animal welfare, conservation, policy/economics, etc.).