Food | WWF


The challenge is to produce enough food for more people without expanding the land and water already in use

© © Jürgen Freund / WWF

While essential to human life and culture, food production, distribution, management and waste threaten wildlife and wild places on a massive scale. Today, 7.2 billion people consume 1.5 times what the Earth’s natural resources can supply. By 2050, the world’s population will reach 9 billion and the demand for food will double. The challenge is to produce enough food for more people without expanding the land and water already in use. By improving efficiency and productivity while reducing waste and shifting consumption patterns, we can produce enough food for everyone by 2050 on roughly the same amount of land we use now. WWF’s Global Goal: Sustainable food systems conserve nature and maintain food security.

Why it matters

Vietnam is one of the countries predicted to be most affected by climate change. Mekong delta, a WWF-Vietnam priority landscape, is one of the 3 most vulnerable deltas to climate change on earth. This is linked to its large populations living in low-lying and coastal areas and a heavy dependence on its ecosystems and natural resources. Climate change is an ‘amplifier’ of Vietnam’s current environmental threats such as habitat loss, poorly planned infrastructure, and unsustainable natural resource extraction. Likewise, warmer temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and other manifestations of climate change directly stress ecosystems, rendering them prone to other human pressures including invasive species, fire, and changes in the distribution, and quality of water. By 2050, flooding, drought, storms will put more than 25M lives at risk.

© Nguyen Viet Thanh / WWF-Vietnam

What is WWF-Vietnam doing

Aquaculture is a major threat to natural wetland conservation due to land reclamation and pollution. For aquaculture to hold its promise to meet our future food demands, it will also need to demonstrate that it can produce seafood in a sustainable way. This means limiting the use of antibiotics and excessive feeding, avoid destroying ecosystems such as mangroves, seagrass, forested land or wetlands and ensure that the surrounding waters stay clean. 
Currently the large majority of certified products is destined for export: little/no certified products available domestically. However, Vietnam is home to 90 million people, with increasing income and consumption. The improvement of their economics situation comes along with an increasing concern for their health and living environment. This is a good opportunity to promote healthy and certified seafood into the national market.

© Nguyen Viet Thanh / WWF-Vietnam

The strategy developed by WWF-VN relies on the following points:

  • Better production: aquaculture (shrimp and pangasius) comply with international certification schemes (ASC) contributing to socio-economic and environmental sustainability in priority landscapes,

  • Sustainable supply chains: Sustainable supply chains with increased transparency, and improved performance of companies are established at sufficient scale on priority commodities,

  • Policies & frameworks: strengthened investment policies, regulations and better planning are implemented at local, regional and national level to promote sustainable production,

  • Accelerating domestic demand for certified products: positive progress made to shift the green sourcing, procurement, and local consumption of certified priority commodity products (aquaculture, fisheries)

  • Influencing financial flows: key financial institutions incentivise, support and demand better industry practices on priority commodities and supply chains.

WWF is working with major aquaculture producers and their supply chains to change the way key seafood are produced, processed, consumed and financed reducing their environmental and social impact and improving sustainability. We are encouraging demand and consumption for responsibly produced products across Vietnam through awareness campaigns and education.

A key instrument WWF is using is the ASC certification: Founded in 2010 by WWF and IDH (Dutch Sustainable Trade Initiative) the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent not for profit organisation leading certification and labeling programme for responsibly farmed seafood.

ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and consumers to:

  • Recognise and reward responsible aquaculture through the ASC aquaculture certification programme and seafood label.

  • Promote best environmental and social choice when buying seafood.

  • Contribute to transforming seafood markets towards sustainability.

With its partners, the ASC runs an ambitious programme to transform the world's seafood markets and promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance. This means increasing the availability of certified responsibly produced seafood to buyers and promoting the use of the ASC logo. The logo sends a strong message to consumers about the environmental and social integrity of the product they are purchasing.

The ASC programme promotes industry best practice to minimise the environmental and social footprint of commercial aquaculture. Through its consumer label the ASC promotes certified responsibly farmed products in the marketplace


Pangasius aquaculture:

  • Promote responsible farming initiatives through ASC certification. In June 2014, 30% of the exported pangasius products were certified with the ASC standard;

  • Keep strong collaboration with key partners to support sustainable aquaculture and to further achieve the main milestone of 50% ASC certified products by 2015;

  • Support and strengthen sustainable practices throughout the whole pangasius supply chain;

  • Promote sustainable seafood consumption;

  • Create policy initiatives for pangasius aquaculture development.


Shrimp aquaculture:

  • Support capacity building and better management practices for small-scale shrimp farmers.

  • Use demonstrative models of ASC certified shrimp practices to advocate for decision- makers and further expand responsible aquaculture practices. 

  • Promote consumption of ASC certified shrimp products in regional and global markets.

  • Study the socio-economic and environmental benefits created by ASC certified shrimp products.

  • Create policy initiatives for shrimp aquaculture development

© Nguyen Viet Thanh / WWF-Vietnam

Sustainable Aquaculture

During the last 15 years aquaculture has expanded rapidly in Vietnam and the nation is now one of the world’s largest producers of aquaculture products.

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Connecting European Consumers and Small Scale Farmers in Vietnam Through a Cost-sharing Model

Approximately 80% of export volume of Vietnamese shrimp originates from small-scale shrimp farms in the Mekong Delta. This area is under significant threat from negative environmental impacts such as pollution, natural resource loss, mangrove forest loss, etc. As a solution, WWF-Vietnam has recently signed a project agreement with a Vietnamese seafood company and an international seafood buyer with the objective of supporting small-scale shrimp farming households in Soc Trang province in adopting sustainable shrimp production practices.

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