Stakeholder engagement and key topics by region
Stakeholder dialogue takes place in both structured and unstructured ways and plays an important role in our reporting.
Identification of stakeholders for engagement
Cermaq’s approach to stakeholder engagement is to concentrate on entities or individuals that reasonably can be expected to be significantly affected by the organization’s activities, products, and/or services; and whose actions reasonably can be expected to affect the ability of the organization to successfully implement its strategies and achieve its objectives.
Stakeholders may have rights under national laws as well as under international conventions. Important international conventions related to indigenous rights are ILO Convention 169 and the UN Declaration of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
Other central conventions include the eight ILO core conventions of the "Declaration of Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work" and the International Bill of Human Rights, including the right to freedom of association, collective bargaining and human rights.
Our approach to stakeholder engagement:
Cermaq’s main stakeholder groups include our owner, employees and unions, customers, authorities, local communities, suppliers, civil society and NGOs.
Dialogue with our owner and Cermaq employees is continuous, through established management structures and practices.
Employee relations are comprehensibly regulated by law and agreement in the countries in which Cermaq operates. Cermaq applies one set of standards and values across its operations. The expertise, engagement and efforts of all employees are crucial to the success of Cermaq’s business. Cermaq’s relations with its employees and unions are described in more detail in the sustainability report (sections 102-8 and 102-41).
Customers include seafood wholesalers, processors and retailers in the main salmon markets. The sales organization in each local Cermaq company works directly with their customer in export markets,and many of our customers visit our operations.
Transparent reporting is a useful instrument in Cermaq’s customer relations. Dialogue with customers is based in Cermaq’s ambition to be a preferred supplier for its customer.
Authorities include regulators and politicians at the local, regional and national levels who define the framework conditions for the industry.
Cermaq believes transparent dialogue is a prerequisite for arriving at good and balanced decisions and policies. Cermaq reaches out to authorities and is always meeting requests for dialogue or information. The company will continue to prioritize the dialogue with authorities and politicians, in all the countries where Cermaq operates, describing the performance and challenges of the industry.Local communities are important to ensure acceptance for Cermaq’s local operations, support for future growth and recruitment of employees.
Cermaq contributes to local activity and employment and wants to be a reliable partner for the local communities in areas of operation. Regular dialogue and community meetings are conducted in all regions.Indigenous peoples are an important stakeholder group to Cermaq and have distinctive rights in some of the areas in which Cermaq operates.
The First Nations of British Columbia, Canada, have special titles and rights under Canadian laws and legislation. It is important for the Group to be aware of potential challenges its operations might represent, and Cermaq acknowledges First Nations as important stakeholders. Cermaq has participated in several conferences on First Nation relations. The main priority has been the Ahousaht First Nation with whom Cermaq has a protocol agreement, and also dialogue with other First Nations in the territories in which the company operates.
Mutually beneficial agreements with indigenous people in BC, Canada is a strong foundation for Cermaq’s operations in areas where indigenous peoples’ rights are affected by its operations.
Feed suppliers constitute a material stakeholder group in Cermaq, since feed constitutes about half of our total purchasing costs. Other main suppliers include suppliers of technical equipment and transport as well as local suppliers of goods and services.
The local Cermaq companies maintain contact with their suppliers with frequency adapted to the needs.Civil society and the NGO community is diverse and Cermaq is selectively concentrating on those NGOs that seek constructive improvements in the industry. This includes wide groups of environmental organisations, labour organisation and NGOs dedicated to other relevant topics. Cermaq reaches out to these groups when arranging events seminars, take direct contact for regular updates and when specific events occur. NGOs can provide positive input giving the company a broader perspective and Insight.
Cermaq sees industry associations necessary for ensuring the framework conditions for the aquaculture industry. Thus, Cermaq is actively participating in the industry association, normally represented by senior executives in the board of the association.
Although Cermaq is 100 percent owned by Mitsubishi Corporation, Cermaq still defines providers of capital a stakeholder group. Financial institutions also approach Cermaq on topics related to specific sustainability concerns, and Cermaq strives to meet the needs for information and clarification.
Some key topics discussed in our stakeholder dialogue in 2020:
|First Nations||How to grow a prosperous aquaculture industry while protecting the surrounding ecosystem.||Cermaq is committed to respectful dialogue and to working with First Nations to develop progressive and innovative relationships. |
The company works to operate in a manner consistent with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP).
As part of the partnership agreement with Ahousaht First Nation, Cermaq Canada financially supports their post-secondary scholarship program.
The company also provides other sports, cultural and community sponsorships to Ahousaht and other First Nations in whose territories they operate, most importantly ecosystem health is an increasingly frequent topic of conversation for co-management approaches
Through proactive communications, Nation leadership are provided with updates, relevant news and operational information on a consistent manner.
|Local Elected Officials||Local elected officials in areas where Cermaq farms want to secure local economic benefits, and in particular decent jobs and supplier contracts in aquaculture, which is one of the biggest local industries. |
They are also aware of environmental concerns from some constituents about impacts of salmon farming, on aspects such as interactions with wild salmon.
|Cermaq Canada executives and senior staff meet with all levels of elected officials – municipal, provincial and federal - in Tofino, Port Alberni, Comox Valley, the Cowichan Valley Regional District, Campbell River and Port McNeill, to provide updates on Cermaq’s operations and introduce the trial o the Semi-Closed Containment System (SCCS). The meetings are also an opportunity for the elected officials to ask questions, share constituents’ concerns and have opne dialogue. |
Through proactive communications, elected officials are provided with updates, relevant news and operational information on a consistent manner.
|Customers||Retailers want their suppliers to be more transparent and sustainable. They are looking for seafood from aquaculture operations that are environmentally and socially responsible.||Cermaq Canada is committed to sustainable salmon farming and has 8 third party certifications to prove its commitment:|
· 4 ISO certifications, (EMS, QMS, OHS, FS)
· Occupational Safety Standard of Excellence (OSSE)
· Best Aquaculture Practices (4 star)
· Many sites certified to the ASC standard and more pending
|Customers||Transparency and practical information about our operations and products||Cermaq Canada provides information directly to retailers who sell its salmon to help answer consumer questions. |
Cermaq Canada posts comprehensive public reporting data online and posts fact sheets, blog posts and news items providing information about common questions and topics.
|Local communities||Many interactions with local communities takes place through events or public meetings, both of which were impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020. Limited engagement continued through social media outlets, elected official presentations and participation in community meetings via zoom and teams when applicable. |
The majority of interactions continue to focus on questions surrounding Cermaq Canada’s operations and salmon farming in general, and continued information seeking on both sides (from Cermaq and from the community).
|Social acceptance of aquaculture is important to Cermaq Canada, and we continue to see varying levels of social licence, with those communities, organizations and individuals who are closest to the operations having the greatest understanding and knowledge. e. |
Cermaq maintains a policy of responsible corporate citizenship and proactively builds and maintains collaborative relationships between the company and its stakeholders, which includes in-kind support, along with education, community participation and a donation and sponsorship program aimed at supporting shared value projects in local communities.
In 2020, the focus of the was donation and sponsorship program turned heavily to basic community supports and providing over 60,000 pounds of freshly canned, premium salmon donations which were distributed first to those communities in which we have operations, followed by the province of BC and the across Canada. We also helped support rural and remote communities with logistical challenges and critical needs during the initial pandemic crisis.
|Trade unions||CSR Committee||Cermaq Chile has a CSR Committee chaired by the Chief Operating Officer, 4 company representatives in the HR, Environment, CSR, Quality and Sustainability fields, in addition to four representatives from company unions.|
|Indigenous peoples and local communities||Corporate Social Responsibility Program "Cermaq Puertas Abiertas"||We believe in working jointly with communities, keeping an open door policy and focusing on developing trusting relationships with our neighbors in all our facilities. There are five main lines of work that guide this area: environmental workshops in schools, sports and health lifestyle, skills training programs, preserving traditions (indigenous peoples) and Cermaq Open Doors. This last program consists on inviting our neighbors including indigenous people, to visit our facilities so they can get to know how we work and know our farming practices. |
This program involved all our Chilean operations during 2020 - a particular year, where social distancing has confined us in our homes and facilities. Visits to Cermaq are limited. However, we have not been far from our communities, meeting in a virtual way with some of them, reaching them through whatsapp, and focusing our efforts this year to support them with protection supplies for the corona virus, disinfection of common areas, and with supply of groceries for communities that have been economically affected. We have also supported students who are homeschooling with computers to connect to virtual classes. As every year we participate in beach cleaning activities (both lakes and sea) all through the year and along all regions, from La Araucanía to Magallanes.
|Communities||Working Group on Responsible Community Engagement||Since 2017we are part of the Social Salmon Initiative, a group of companies focused on developing good practices that allow responsible relationships between salmon industry and local communities beyond current regulations. Since then are working , to implement the "Toolkit for a Responsible Engagement with Communities" elaborated by “ WWF Chile, Rabobank and Consensus Building Institute”|
Our activities were mainly a Self - Diagnosis for to generate a baseline and a guide the group's work and its objectives.
This year work tables have been developed with two communities (Melinka and Calbuco) seeking to work together for the well-being of the community. All the meetings were virtual due the covid situation.
|Customers||Transparency and sustainable public information about our operations||Cermaq Chile provides information on e.g. sea lice, any escapes or wildlife interactions on its website for some farms to ensure easy access and to comply with requirements in the ASC standard.|
Also Cermaq Chile is committed to sustainable salmon farming has 3 third party certifications to prove its commitment:
ASC Social and environmental responsibility
BAP 4 Stars: Quality, food safety, environment, safety and occupational health and social responsibility
IFS: Quality and Food Safety
|Local communities||Positive ripple effects of the industry and local challenges||Cermaq has met with local administration and politicians in the municipalities where the company has operations to inform about and discuss current and planned activities as well as opportunities for growth and development.|
We buy all services and goods locally where they are available, from food, to carpentry, boat-service, net-repair etc.
Due to the Corona pandemic, we have not been able to arrange open days at any of our sea sites during 2020. Normally, we would invite local communities to visit us and learn more about our operations.
|Local communities||Impacts from the building of a new smolt facility||Meeting with local authorities and communities that may be affected by having aquaculture production in their local areas, but also to explore opportunities the new smolt facility can represent in terms of local activity and ripple effects, if we decide to build it.|
|Local communities||Beach cleaning campaign to reduce ocean plastics and improve local environment||Summer temps were hired to help us remove garbage and plastic waste and clean the beaches during summer.|
|Anglers and local NGOs||Joint projects||Joint projects with the angler’s association on monitoring presence of farmed fish in several salmon rivers (Repparfjordelva, Altaelva, Varpa). Financing of surveillance of wild stocks in cooperation with Varpa River system is ongoing. This project continues in 2021.|
|Customers||Transparency and practical information about our operations and products||Cermaq Norway continues to provide information on e.g. sea lice, wildlife interactions and any escapes on its website for some farms to ensure easy access and to comply with requirements in the ASC standard. We also use blockchain technology to increase transparency and traceability of our products|
|Municipalities||General public concern over fish farming in regions of operation||Open meetings addressing people’s concerns and answering questions about Cermaq’s operations and new sites.. Meetings regarding cooperation and development in the county.|
|Local communities||Sponsorship||Sponsorships of sports teams and events, clubs, foundations, schools, and local festivals in Finnmark and Nordland where Cermaq Norway operates. Due to the corona pandemic, the number of events decreased in 2020, making sponsorship commitments more important than ever.|
|Environmental R&D institutions||Research and surveys||Development of the competency cluster in Finnmark together with other salmon companies as well as research institutes and the municipality. The cluster coordinates research projects related with aquaculture and lice, ecapes etc. Akvaplan-niva is project manager.|
|Local communities in Nordland county, school children, students and the population in Nordland in general||General knowledge about the aquaculture industry||Cermaq Norway opened its viewing center, Arctic Salmon Center, in Skutvik, Nordland, to the public in 2020. The purpose of the Arctic Salmon Center is to provide knowledge about the aquaculture industry to the general public, with particular focus on school children and students. The center has, despite the corona pandemic, had many visitors, and has also hosted several events for the local population of Skutvik. The center also offers guided tours to Cermaq Norway’s sea sites nearby.|
|CERMAQ GROUP AS|
|Politicians and civil servants in Ministries and Directorates||Framework conditions, including impacts of growth of the industry||In meetings, Cermaq has presented its view on framework conditions, the role of growth in aquaculture to meet the SDGs and the criticality of sustainability in the industry. Cermaq has also submitted its view in writing to public hearings.|
|Owner||Sharing of best practices with other Mitsubishi subsidiaries||Sharing of the best practices with other Mitsubishi subsidiaries in the food industry is a relevant stakeholder engagement that we have with our owner.|
|R&D institutions||Technological solutions, vaccine development and other topics||Cermaq Group engages in research and development projects with fish feed and vaccine suppliers, working in partnerships. Cermaq Group is engaged in feed trials through the R&D licenses granted to Cermaq Norway.|
|Partners||SDGs||Cermaq Group works within several partnerships to strengthen sustainability in the sector and to develop frameworks for ocean practices to meet the SDGs. |
The key partnerships cover the salmon industry (Global Salmon Initiative), the seafood industries (SeaBOS), the ocean industries (UN GC Ocean Action Platform). Cermaq Group also engage in the advisory network to the Ocean Panel
|NGOs||Environmental impacts from salmon farming||Cermaq Group has engaged in the Cerrado Manifesto, addressing deforestation in Brazil, leading to a commitment from soy suppliers to salmon feed to be deforestation free in their entire value chain.|