2021 - CEO Letter
Sustainability is at the top of the agenda at Austevoll Seafood ASA (AUSS). We assume our share of the responsibility for solving global challenges in relation to sustainability. This entails practising active ownership of our portfolio companies, ensuring that they comply with fundamental ethical values and show respect for people, society and the environment. This is also in line with our vison of being a:
Passionate owner of globally leading seafood companies.
We have had yet another challenging year with the pandemic, Covid-19. The past two years the pandemic has substantially affected our daily lives, both at home and at work. Also, in 2021 our focus has been on having routines that protect the safety of our employees, whether they are carrying out their tasks at Group locations, on vessels or from home. An impressive effort has been done by our over 7,900 employees to keep the Group’s value chain open and
continue deliveries of the Group’s products during this challenging period. I wish to thank all our employees for their effort and hard work in 2021.
The core of our operations is to create lasting values. Our work is important for both our societies and for AUSS’s long-term value creation, and is described in our Sustainability report through our focus areas. These are: “Protect our Ocean”, “Improve our Climate”, “Empower our People” and “Strengthen our Communities”.
In this year`s report we have improved our reporting by further explaining the Group’s area of activity and value chain in addition to introduction pages covering our Portfolio companies. We have further expanded our report with a chapter dedicated to “Creating lasting values”, which describes AUSS as both a company and as an owner, as well as our governance structure and governance model. Creating lasting values and sustainable growth places stringent requirements on AUSS and its Portfolio companies within Corporate Governance, finance, climate and environmental and social issues. Sustainability is essential for gaining access to capital and is of decisive importance for the Group`s continued development. AUSS as a holding company has a relatively limited footprint and our greatest opportunity to produce positive effects and reduce negative impacts is through the Portfolio companies. We emphasize the importance of setting a good example to our Portfolio Companies and “set the tone at the top” for how we want our operations to be carried out and our main focus as an active owner is to be closely involved in the monitoring and follow-up of the Portfolio Companies.
The operations, or the value chain, in the Group’s portfolio companies originate from exploitation of the oceans. Creating lasting values via healthy oceans therefore represents the core of our operations. In our work to produce sustainable marine products, we continuously work on strengthening sustainable fisheries, responsible farming and restrictions of our impact on the marine eco-systems.
The Group contributes to solving the global sustainability challenges by producing healthy seafood, described by the UN as one of the most sustainable food products. Moreover, seafood is an important part of a good diet for our health. Consumers become increasingly aware of what they eat, where the food comes from, and how it is produced. We place the spotlight on reducing food waste and developing new products that represent sound environmental daily choices. Also, in 2021 the Group’s largest Portfolio Company, Lerøy Seafood Group ASA, set and adopted science-based climate targets (SBTs) for its operations. As a result, we have made significant progress towards achieving our goal of establishing science-based climate targets for the Group going forward.
We have reviewed the materiality analyses during 2021, and the updated materiality analysis has been approved by the AUSS Board of Directors. In 2019 we began a project to map our climate risks. This initial risk assessment at the Group level was inspired by the recommendation of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), and assesses both physical and transitional risks. This analysis covers both the Group’s aquaculture and fisheries operations in all our geographies, and has previously been done independently by our Portfolio Companies. In 2021 we have further developed our risk assessment and started the process of identifying and assessing significant climate risks and opportunities. It is AUSS`s ambition to perform a climate risk assessment in line with TCFD in 2022.
Another initiative in 2021 is the assessment of the taxonomy-eligibility of the Group’s economic activities. The main economic activities that generate turnover for the Group are related to fisheries and aquaculture. Technical screening criteria (TSC) for fisheries is expected to be finalised and adopted in the EU by the end of 2022. As for aquaculture, TSCs are yet to be developed. Hence, the significant economic activities for the Group are per 31.12.2021 taxonomy noneligible. We have performed a preliminary eligibility assessment based on the draft criterias for fisheries published in 2021. This process will proceed once the final TSC are available. We continue to follow the development of the EU taxonomy closely.
We hope you enjoy reading this year’s report and appreciate any feedback from our stakeholders – to help us improve!
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