We are in a new food world. Increasingly, consumers want to understand what they're eating – from its origin to the values of the producer – and rightly so. At the same time, we have millions of people who cannot make make any such food choices. What does this new landscape mean for us, a global leader in aquaculture feed and services, looking to supply the industry with sustainable nutritional solutions produced in a safe and ethical way? It’s unquestionably an issue that’s high on our minds as we continue to prepare for the future. So while many people may be tired of hearing that the world is in the midst of a digital transformation, at Skretting, as a world leading supplier of nutritional solutions and services, we are embracing and responding to this change. Precision farming, the way that we use big data, artificial intelligence and blockchain transparency are all part of our daily conversations and will have a huge impact on the way we move forward.
In our market, we operate in a system where we don't necessarily control the whole value chain. This raises the question of how do we ensure that our suppliers, or the suppliers to our suppliers, are undertaking their business in an ethical and safe manner? Although we are a small fish in an agricultural sense, we are a global leader in aquaculture and will not ignore our responsibility. One way in which we are active in this space is through our partnerships, including pre-competitive initiatives like the Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS). The new partnership of SeaBOS and the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability shows that we are taking this commitment one step further. Using blockchain technology, we can develop one of the most transparent supply chains in the world.
"Everybody everywhere must be able to eat, and our responsibility is to make sure that we provide the most sustainable solutions – in both an environmental and economic sense – for an industry that is expected to play a significant role in providing safe, healthy and delicious protein to the world. That is our mission."
Therese Log Bergjord, CEO Skretting
At the same time, as the global population continues to grow, we know that there will be a shortage of raw materials for feed and food production.
During past years, and particularly in 2018, we have been mapping the potential impacts on our industry and increasing our focus on a sustainable raw material supply chain.Indeed it's likely that some of the new macro and micro ingredients that we will use in the future are not even known in today's landscape.
With the aquaculture industry becoming more substantial, we are finally at a place where we are able to have an impact on the development of novel raw materials.
Understanding and developing novel raw materials to a stage where they can be implemented in commercial feed was a big ambition for Skretting in 2018, and we achieved that milestone with both algal oil and insect meals in Norway and France. Seeing the resulting fish reach retailers and therefore consumers was a major highlight for us. What’s obvious is that we cannot do this alone, and so we have also been working with a number of different stakeholders in the value chain, from raw material suppliers to customers to retailers to realise this achievement.
While we have made some excellent progress, we must also acknowledge challenges that we face, including serious allegations against our soy supply chain in 2018. After a report alleging our suppliers were engaged in illegal activities was released, we conducted an independent audit against our Supplier Code of Conduct. At the same time, we requested the auditor examine other allegations. The audits found no evidence based on recent transactions that any of our suppliers have bought from soy farms engaged in illegal activities linked to deforestation, "slave like" labour or illegal pesticide use. Although this was a positive outcome, we see this as an ongoing process. We have a responsibility to ensure that the products we purchase are developed in a sustainable and ethical manner and are continuing a number of actions through 2019.
Our partnerships are critical. From SeaBOS to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) and Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) – it's extremely important that we work with other leaders to continue to instigate real change. Another concrete example of this is the new collaboration model we are undertaking with Cargill to reduce the fleet of feed delivery vessels in Norway – essentially halving our CO2 footprint for this aspect of the business. This model will be executed in 2019. We are also very proud that the Pincoy Project was recognised at AquaSur in 2018 for its contribution to the environment. The project was initiated by Skretting and six other partners in 2016 as a collaborative response to reduce the use of antibiotics in the Chilean salmon industry. In 2019, we will see the implementation of Pincoy 2.0. Stay tuned for more on that.
Another great achievement in 2018 was our AquaVision conference. We were honoured to host more than 400 distinguished guests from all over the world, including Ban Ki-Moon, former Secretary General of the United Nations, as well as HRH Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden. Both left a lasting impression on all those in attendance and the strong message that we must continue to improve by working together.
Skretting, together with Nutreco, also received the 2018 edie Award for Sustainability Product Innovation of the Year for MicroBalance FLX – our ground-breaking salmon feed that contains no fishmeal. For us, this recognition represents more than 20 years of research. At the same time, we are working with fisheries, because we know that when well-managed, fisheries will remain an important source of protein. To this end, we are engaged in a number of fishery improvement projects, read more here.
This year at Skretting, we are defining the road ahead. We know that we must keep focus and respond to the needs of the industry, but also look further beyond. Everybody everywhere must be able to eat, and our responsibility is to make sure that we provide the most sustainable solutions – in both an environmental and economic sense – for an industry that is expected to play a significant role in providing safe, healthy and delicious protein to the world. That is our mission.