In the first version of our fish oil guide, Just Kai said we couldn’t be confident Swisse fish oils were slave free. We knew that they were Friends of the Sea certified, but limitations to that certification meant we couldn’t be confident of Swisse’s oils. However, today we received further information from them and we are now reasonably-certain they are slave free.
”Our People are not one of the reasons we succeed. They are the reason we succeed. That’s why our people are our first priority. Our team has access to free personal training in our office gym, meditation and yoga classes. Team members also enjoy an extra ‘Health and Happiness’ day of leave each quarter to spend time with their families and friends.
We include our customers and our partners when we talk about ‘our’ people. Making sure we build long-standing relationships is an important goal at Swisse.”
That seemed hopeful: long-standing relationships with partners (such as suppliers) are important in forming a slave-free supply chain, as is valuing people in general.
From correspondence with them we have learned that all Swisse fish oil are Friends of the Sea certified. They also told us that they source their fish oil from “South and Central America, Africa and the Mediterranean” and that is made from whole sardines, anchovies, mackerel and tuna. That was excellent news. As noted above, Friends of the Sea certification for fish oil only covers working conditions on fishing boats if two conditions are met: that the boats are flagged to ILO member countries and that whole fish are used. It seems Swisse meets these conditions :-) Due to the regions in which they fish, the fish are fairly likely to be being caught by vessels from ILO-signatory countries. We cannot be certain, as ”flags of convenience” are very common in the fishing industry; however it seems unlikely that such vessels would be being used by a company that favours long-term relationships with suppliers.* And they are definitely using whole fish.
* Swisse didn’t explicitly answer our question on this, but we doubt it was because they were being cagey. We asked a lot of questions, and it clearly surprised them that we were asking questions about working conditions rather than sustainability.
Swisse also produces red krill oil, which Just Kai also recommends. As krill oil is always made from whole fish and is fished exclusively by ILO member countries, we are confident that Friends of the Sea certification is sufficient to indicate any krill oil is slave free.
Our full findings are summarised in the graphic below:
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