The Age of Aquaculture

Sustainable and clean food production

Farmed salmon is a climate friendly food source, providing a solution to the world’s food needs in the coming years. A central objective in Cermaq's operations is to continuously work to minimize our negative environmental footprint while lifting our own and the industry's standards.

Farming salmon is an efficient way of producing healthy and nutritious food with a smaller ecological footprint compared with other animal proteins. By aligning our focus areas with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we prioritize areas where we can have a significant impact and make a difference.

Our approach is based on three pillars:

  • Performance - creating sustainable value through operational excellence, research and innovation
  • Transparency - to create trust, ensure traceability and be accountable to our stakeholders
  • Partnerships - share knowledge and engage in partnerships to find solutions to common challenges

Cermaq's five focus areas are shown below. Each area is linked to a corresponding high impact SDG. Although challenging and ambitious goals, Cermaq believes that sustainable aquaculture and salmon farming can contribute to sustainable development of the food sector and a solution to many of the goals.

Cermaq's focus areas

Healthy and nutritious food

Farmed salmon is rich in healthy nutrients such as marine omega-3, proteins, vitamins and minerals, and is a healthy food choice.

Cermaq is committed to quality, traceability and food safety at every level, from broodstock to the delivery of delicious, nutritious food. Salmon is one of the richest sources of omega-3 fatty acids, which are known to help lower the risk of cardiovascular disease. Experts recommend replacing some meat meals with fish, because it is a healthier source of protein and a good source for other essential nutrients. It's a healthy change, and an essential one for our planet.

The best salmon has a delicate color and perfect texture, exquisite flavor and is rich in healthy nutrients. We hold ourselves and our salmon to the highest standards, working with third-party certification bodies to build on the reputation for quality that our customers expect. Transparency and traceability is our promise to our customers. We report our sustainability performance quarterly on our web page and actively provide information related to our many certifications.

Healthy fish is a necessity in all fish farming operations and of crucial importance to Cermaq in delivering a high quality product. We work continuously to ensure optimal conditions for our salmon and the environment in which they live – in Patagonia, Tofino or the Arctic. Good routines adapted to the different environmental conditions determine the management choices we make on each farm every day, throughout the whole life cycle of the salmon. Keeping the fish in good condition, in a favorable location, is a key element in Cermaq´s fish health management. In our operations, we pay great attention to water quality, genetics and stress reducing practices to enhance fish welfare.

Our salmon receive the nutrients they need in each life stage through the feed. This is crucial to ensure a high quality product. We follow strict regulations and measures to ensure that our fish meet the highest safety and quality standards. The salmon diet consists mainly of protein and fats. About 30 percent of the feed come from marine sources, such as forage fish, fish trimmings and byproducts. By increasing the share of vegetable ingredients in the feed, the environmental footprint on marine resources is reduced without compromising nutritional value. Certified soy, gluten (from wheat) and rapeseed oil are some of the ingredients used. However, most marine omega-3 today comes from fish oil, and Cermaq is engaged in research and initiatives with the salmon industry and feed producers to develop novel sources responding to future needs.

We work actively with our customers and partners to deliver high quality salmon and create awareness of the role of sustainable seafood in healthy diets. As a business partner to initiatives such as EAT and the FReSH program of the World Business Council of Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we work together with companies in the food sector, research institutions and civil society to integrate both health and sustainability aspects into global food production and consumption.

E WEB Goal 02

Thriving Oceans

Cermaq depends on healthy oceans to produce sustainable salmon, both in our operations and through our feed supply. Ocean stewardship and SDG14 is at the top of our agenda.

To grow our salmon, Cermaq and the salmon industry rely on thriving oceans and healthy marine ecosystems. Ecosystem integrity and access to marine resources is a necessity for us to grow our salmon and for our industry to provide the world with healthy seafood. We work through partnerships and with strong commitment to transparent reporting to build trust, share best practice and drive progress on SDG14.

Responsible sourcing is a key measure to preserve biodiversity and natural resources, and to strengthen resilience to climate change. Our biodiversity impact is monitored and reported on our web page, where we also map species present on the IUCN red list in areas of operation. Cermaq monitors the benthic impacts of fish farming, and ensure that we comply with or exceed all fallowing requirements and have good benthic status. Wildlife interaction and sustainability indicators are reported monthly and in some cases weekly for our ASC certified sites. This information can be found on the ASC Dashboard on our webpage.

If fish farming is to be sustainable, the industry depends on sustainable feed resources. To reduce impacts on marine resources, an increasing share of the fish feed comes from agriculture (approximately 70 percent). Responsible sourcing in the agricultural sector is therefore increasingly relevant for fish farming. Our impact on fisheries is also through our feed supply, and to manage risks in our feed supply chain, we have established a Supplier Code of Conduct specifically for feeds suppliers. Measures include certified sources of the feed ingredients used and R&D on optimal fish diets.

We work with our suppliers and the industry to eliminate any Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing from the supply chain and promote transparency and sustainable practices in fisheries and aquaculture. One example of this is through our participation in the Seafood Industry for Ocean Stewardship initiative, established in 2016, together with some of the world’s largest seafood companies regarded as keystone actors in marine ecosystems. In our operations and through our engagement in the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) and the UN Global Compact, we work together with the industry to find solutions to key sustainability challenges in salmon farming, including feed and nutrition, biosecurity impacts and implementing best practices through standardization.

E WEB Goal 14

People leadership

In Cermaq, we rely on motivated employees and we want to be a responsible partner for the local communities where we operate, to earn the trust we need to grow fish in our common waters.

Salmon farming is often located in remote coastal areas, and our operations provide employment in local communities. Cermaq contributes to local value creation in many ways: we provide jobs, we purchase from local businesses, support community activities and events, and provide education and learning opportunities in our areas of operation.

Cermaq aims to be a responsible community partner with a long term perspective. People leadership involves establishing good relations with our stakeholders including employees, customers, local communities and suppliers. Establishing and maintaining good relationships based on dialogue, transparency and mutual understanding is important to us. Our stakeholder dialogue is reported on our webpage and we provide quarterly health and safety updates for all our operations. We conduct community meetings and reach out to different stakeholders including trade unions, environmental organizations and authorities, describing our performance and activities, and responding to requests for dialogue and information.

Important elements of our people leadership are also to ensure a safe and motivating workplace. Our performance depends on the wellbeing of our people, and it is our goal to be an employer of choice, attracting and retaining skilled and motivated employees who want to be part of a growing and innovative industry. We strengthen our health and safety awareness through a clear tone at the top of the importance of safety and visible leadership. ‘Health and safety first’ is reflected in Cermaq’s Leadership Principles and performance is reported monthly to Cermaq’s management.

An important part of being a responsible partner is being a responsible employer. This implies ensuring safe working conditions, respecting human rights and indigenous peoples’ rights, and working to ensure good labor standards in our operations and supply chain. One example of such dialogue is Cermaq Chile’s CSR committee, established with members from Cermaq Chile’s management team and trade unions to discuss key topics on a regular basis.

Cermaq is a member of the UN Global Compact and we work to ensure adherence to the ten Principles in our operations and supply chain, covering the topics of Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti-corruption. We encourage our suppliers to do the same and to integrate the UN Sustainable Development Goals in their strategies. An example of how we work on indigenous peoples rights, is the agreement between Cermaq Canada and the Ahousaht First Nation, which is based on Cermaq Canada’s Principles for First Nations relations.

E WEB Goal 08

Responsible production

Our aim is to be a responsible salmon farmer with a small environmental footprint contributing to a sustainable blue economy.

Current practices in food production do not provide sufficient responses to properly address natural resource constraints or the growing demand for food, water and energy. A transformation of the global food system is needed, and the ocean will contribute to a larger share of our food production in the future. Farmed salmon is an efficient food source, providing a high content of healthy nutrients with a small ecological footprint compared with other animal proteins.

Customers and stakeholders can be confident that Cermaq is working actively to meet environmental requirements and operate in a socially responsible manner. To strengthen our environmental footprint, we work to optimize our value chain and identify, manage and monitor risks. We seek to build trust and improve our sustainability performance by adheringto the most advanced standards for sustainable food production and being transparent about our choices.

A natural premise for sustainable growth is demonstrating our efforts for responsible farming through certifications and practices beyond compliance with laws and regulations. Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, BAP and Global G.A.P. aresome of Cermaq’s third party certifications which drive Our commitment to continuous improvement. All our certifications are approved and third party audited by certification bodies we work with including DNV GL, KPMG and Bureau Veritas. Examples of other standards where Cermaq can supply certified products include the Aboriginal Principles for Sustainable Aquaculture (APSA) certification in Canada, Halal certification in Chile and Kosher certification in Chile and Norway. Cermaq has a goal to achieve ASC certification on all our sites by 2020.

To address the challenges in our global food system, Cermaq has become a member of the FReSH program, initiated by EAT and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and engages with the largest seafood companies in the world in the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS). Our goal of advancing the role of sustainably produced seafood in the global food supply is a key element in this work.

E WEB Goal 12

Climate action

Farmed salmon is a climate friendly food source, providing a solution to the world’s food needs in the coming years.

The production of food is a major part of our climate challenge and contributes to a significant amount of global greenhouse gas emissions. Emissions from foodproduction and impacts of climate change on agriculture and the food system will deeply affect the way we produce food in the future. Currently only 2 percent of our food consumption comes from the sea. But sustainable aquaculture will need to play a larger part to respond to climate change and to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Growing sustainably is Cermaq’s long term strategy. This involves adapting to climate change and increasing resilience while, at the same time, playing a natural part in the low carbon future by providing climate friendly food to our customers.

We communicate our energy use and emissions in our annual report and conduct annual reporting to the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), describing our strategy and initiatives, targets, risks and opportunities. In addition, our ASC certified farms provide climate accounting at a farm level.

Growing sustainably means that we need to farm our fish within the environmental boundaries of the ecosystems in which we operate, build resilience to climate change and anticipate developments in environmental conditions. Our fish is directly affected by climate risks such as rising sea water temperatures, algae blooms, ocean acidification and extreme weather events. We therefore engage heavily in research and development initiatives e.g. working together with partners in the development of closed cage solutions, environmental monitoring, and vaccine development.

Efficient energy use is important to Cermaq and we are taking steps to lower emissions on our sites. Initiatives include connecting to land based electricity from hydropower on sea water sites in Norway, implementing low emission solutions on hatcheries, implementation of a carbon and energy management program in Canada and use of renewable energy on sites in Chile. In line with global climate agreements, we are working to reduce our emissions by setting a science based emission target.

A large part of emissions from salmon production is in the supply chain, through the feed production and in transportation to markets. Cermaq is working with feed suppliers to encourage climate friendly feed solutions, and engage with partners in the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) to encourage the production of oils rich in marine omega-3 from novel sources to build resilience. Increasing filletation instead of transporting whole fish is one way to reduce transport emissions as well as encouraging low carbon solutions in our supply chain.

E WEB Goal 13

SDG 2: Zero Hunger

In a growing world population with challenges related to obesity and hunger, farmed salmon may provide a solution to the growing demand for protein and encourage healthy diets. Farmed salmon is a healthy food choice and is rich in nutrients such as omega-3, proteins, vitamins and minerals.

SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth

Salmon farming contributes to rural jobs and local value creation. According to the UN, fisheries and aquaculture is supporting the livelihoods of 12 percent of the world’s population, and the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries accounts for about 5 percent of global GDP (FAO 2016). 60 million people are directly employed, with 140 million employed in the value chain.

SDG12: Responsible consumption and production

Farmed salmon is an efficient food source, providing a high content of healthy nutrients with a small ecological footprint compared with other animal proteins. High energy and protein retention, high edible yield and a relatively small carbon and freshwater footprint makes sustainably farmed salmon a responsible food choice.

SDG 13: Climate Action

Being at the forefront of sustainable aquaculture, salmon farming has the potential to drive innovation in climate friendly seafood going forward. The production of food accounts for a significant part of global greenhouse gas emissions. Farmed salmon has a small carbon and water footprint compared to other sources of protein, and can contribute to a solution to the climate challenge

SDG 14: Life below water

The farming practices in the salmon farming industry are more technologically advanced than any other fish farming practice. The salmon farming sector may offer knowledge and technology transfer to other aquaculture areas to enhance and encourage a sustainable use of the ocean in the rise of the blue economy.

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