Introduction to our ESG
Our mission is to create lasting value through healthy oceans and thriving communities. This is an introduction to the Austevoll Seafood ASA ongoing sustainability effort.
Austevoll Seafood ASA (Austevoll Seafood) as a holding company exercises active ownership in its operational subsidiaries; Lerøy Seafood Group ASA (LSG), Austral Group S.A.A (Austral), FoodCorp Chile S.A (FC), Br. Birkeland Farming AS (BFARM), and Br. Birkeland AS (BRBI), and the jointly controlled entity Pelagia Holding AS (Pelagia). Collectively, our operational subsidiaries form the financial segment reporting for Austevoll Seafood Group (referred to as the Group), a world leader within the production of Atlantic salmon and trout, covering the entire value chain from breeding to smolt, fish for human consumption and consumer products, harvesting, processing, sale and distribution. The Group is also a significant player within fisheries, both pelagic and whitefish, as well as a large producer of fishmeal, fish oil and products for human consumption based on own catch and purchase of wild catch from third parties.
1. Our focus areas
Our mission is to create lasting value through healthy oceans and thriving communities. This includes creating value for our customers, employees and our shareholders. We work towards this overall goal through our four strategic focus areas: Protect our Oceans, Improve our Climate, Strengthen our Communities, and Empower our People. This report outlines our approach towards managing our impact in these priority sustainability areas. For each focus area, we describe our overall approach and elaborate on key challenges, activities and results for a set of related subtopics. We also outline key priorities going forward within each focus area.
Collaboration, dialogue and partnerships with our stakeholders are critical to the way we work. As a global seafood company operating both within aquaculture and fisheries across several continents, our business affects a variety of stakeholders throughout our value chain. Simultaneously, the opinions and acts of our stakeholders affect the business decisions that we make. As such, the active involvement of key stakeholders is necessary to fulfil our mission of creating lasting value through healthy oceans and thriving communities.
Our most important stakeholders are individuals and/or entities that are either assumed to be affected by our activities, products or services, or who can themselves impact our ability to perform according to our strategic objectives. Below is a list of the key stakeholders we engage with, and a description of the nature of our dialogue.
Our subsidiaries have first-hand knowledge of how our aquaculture and fisheries activities impact the environment and society. We maintain regular dialogue with the management and boards of directors of all our subsidiaries. In addition, we have board representation in our subsidiaries.
We rely on good relationships with the local communities in which we operate. Stakeholder engagement with local communities is mainly managed by our subsidiaries through dialogue, cooperation and local initiatives to support strong and positive relationships. These are maintained on a regular basis to create mutual benefits from our local presence.
Austevoll Seafood does not support individual political parties or individual politicians. However, Austevoll Seafood does engage in discussions impacting the ground rules and conditions within our industry, including proposed changes in legislation. We expect all our subsidiaries to engage regularly with authorities and work to create knowledge-based solutions for the industry.
Investors and shareholders:
At Austevoll Seafood we keep continuous contact with our investors throughout the year, amongst others through one- to-one meetings, during quarterly results presentations and at our annual general meeting.
Stakeholder engagement with NGOs is usually managed by our subsidiaries and revolves around collaborations, partnerships, and gathering insight about important issues related to sustainability and our industry.
The subsidiaries have regular meetings with their customers to discuss innovation, sustainability, quality, traceability, as well as the expectations of the end consumers. Our subsidiaries also conduct customer surveys as a part of the continuous improvement work towards our customers.
The subsidiaries have regular meetings with our suppliers to discuss development projects and new solutions to our sustainability issues, in particular with regards to feed. We also keep a continuous dialogue with our suppliers to make sure that they comply with our Code of Conduct.
Our employees drive our business forward. The subsidiaries are expected to maintain a continuous and open dialogue between managers and employees, including union representatives, and facilitate learning and development for the Group’s work force.
Austevoll Seafood’s most material topics
Stakeholder engagement has been key to developing our materiality assessment. Both internal and external stakeholders have been involved in the process to identify Austevoll Seafood’s key material topics and to develop our sustainability strategy. Our materiality assessment helps to concentrate our efforts within the broad range of sustainability topics that affect Austevoll Seafood and our stakeholders. A sustainability topic is considered material when it has a significant impact on our long-term value creation and is of importance to our stakeholders. The materiality assessment forms the basis for our strategic sustainability work and reporting.
The key sustainability topics have been identified through a stakeholder engagement process, complemented by a desktop review of industry standards, ratings and analyses, as well as best practice. We have involved the following stakeholders through interviews: key personnel from subsidiaries, investors, suppliers, financial institutions, government bodies, NGOs and customers. The executive management of Austevoll Seafood and its subsidiaries have given their input on which topics significantly influence the Group’s value creation, while relevant external stakeholders have given input relating to our key economic, social and environmental impacts. The materiality analysis has also been evaluated by the board.
In order to structure and focus our sustainability efforts, we have grouped the resulting material topics into four strategic focus areas that form the basis for how we work with sustainability initiatives and sustainability reporting; Protect our Oceans, Improve our Climate, Strengthen our Communities, and Empower our People The focus areas and their corresponding materiality topics are shown in the matrix below.
2. How we contribute to the SDGs
Adopted by all United Nation Member States in 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a universal call to action to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure that all people enjoy peace and prosperity by 2030 . Today, the SDGs are recognized by 193 states and are as such the closest we get to a global action plan for sustainable value creation. For companies, the SDGs are a toolbox for identifying how to optimize the sustainability work, and a way to communicate to the outside world the impact the company has on society, climate and the environment.
At Austevoll Seafood, we are committed to do our part to reach these goals in our value chain, and thereby ensure that all stakeholder groups share in our value creation. The effort to define our priority SDGs is an extension of the materiality analysis. Based on the material topics, we can link the strategic focus areas to relevant sustainability goals. For each focus area, the priority SDGs shall reflect where our business has the greatest impact or possibility to contribute to solving the goals. Through our operations we also contribute to several others of the UN SDGs.
SDG 2 – ZERO HUNGER
By continuing to develop sustainable fisheries and aquaculture, both within our own company and in our research collaborations, we can contribute to expand ocean-based protein as part of a more sustainable food production system, and in turn help reduce hunger.
SDG 3 – GOOD HEALTH AND WELL-BEING
Nutritious marine proteins play an important role to defeat hunger and malnutrition, and to contribute to proper mental and physical development. In addition to contributing to the health and development of the general population, we are committed to ensuring health and safety for our employees, both in our factories and at sea.
SDG 8 – DECENT WORK AND ECONOMIC GROWTH
We have a zero tolerance for violations of human rights and social dumping. Our strategy sets out a clear mandate to create safe and meaningful jobs through our operations, and also to contribute to economic growth and development of the local communities that we take part in.
SDG 12 – RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION AND PRODUCTION AND SDG 13 – CLIMATE ACTION
Resource efficiency is key to our sustainability efforts, both in terms of limiting unwanted by-catch, making the most of the marine resources we harvest, and ensuring sustainable sourcing. We also aim to reduce the GHG emissions in our operations, choosing renewable energy solutions where possible and ensuring resource efficiency and limit our environmental footprint throughout our operations.
SDG 14 – LIFE BELOW WATER
Conservation and the sustainable use of the oceans and marine resources is the foundation for what we do. Through good fishery management, government dialogue and continued innovation, Austevoll Seafood has great opportunities to contribute to better use of natural marine resources and to protect marine biodiversity.
SDG 17 – PARTNERSHIP FOR THE GOALS
Knowledge enhancement is one of our core values. A common trait for all our strategic focus areas and the SDGs is that they cannot be reached without increasing knowledge and cooperation. We collaborate with a wide variety of actors, including research institutes, suppliers, NGOs, authorities and local communities.