Salmon farmers celebrate five years of collaboration
“The Global Salmon initiative was a game-changer when it launched, but we never anticipated the level of impact it would have, not only on salmon farming, but on the food sector as a whole,”- Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Food & Markets, World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
Five years ago, a group of salmon farming CEOs came together to shape a sustainable future for the industry.
Their underlining philosophy was one of collaboration.
That group gave birth to the Global Salmon Initiative (GSI), which is focused on making significant progress on industry sustainability to support aquaculture which the UN states is the key to replenish our overfished oceans.
“GSI was a game-changer when it launched, but we never anticipated the level of impact it would have, not only on salmon farming, but on the food sector as a whole,” said Jason Clay, Senior Vice President, Food & Markets, World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
“GSI’s approach of identifying challenges and creating a frank and practical conversation on how to find solutions as well as a platform for exchanging information is what is really changing the game.
In no other sector have we seen change at the speed and scale as we have done through the GSI, and it’s the GSI members’ visionary outlook that is making that possible,” said Clay.
Betting on a model of pre-competitive collaboration and increased transparency, GSI members have ambitious targets of achieving the highest environmental and social standards (as set by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council [ASC]).
They share expertise and knowledge to promote accelerated change at speed and at scale, and – likely the biggest risk of all – sharing their progress via a publicly available and transparent reporting platform.
“When we started GSI we weren’t sure if it would work,” said GSI Co-Chair and Marine Harvest CEO Alf-Helge Aarskog (pictured)
“Different companies, different regions, coming together to focus on environmental improvements based on sharing best practices could be a win-win for the industry and the environment.
We quickly realized that we all had common challenges, and that by bringing together the best expertise in the industry and working collectively with those CEOs willing to take a risk and focus on the long-term future of the industry, we could actually start to see improvements industry-wide,” said Aarskog.
“Creating the GSI was an important move at the time,” added Alf-Helge Aarskog.
“We were stepping out and making commitments I’m not sure anyone expected us to achieve, but five years on we can proudly say the risk paid off, and the fact we are still going proves that the continuous work GSI is doing is important for the members.”
Over the past 5 years, the GSI has been shaping the future of salmon aquaculture through:
Collaboration: the first truly industry-wide global group involving salmon farmers, feed companies, and pharmaceutical companies
Accountability: demonstrating measurable progress in environmental, social and economic sustainability via the ASC Salmon Standard. Five years ago no farm had achieved today GSI has over 40% of production ASC-certified and continues to work towards 100%
Transparency: launching the first industry-wide, independently audited, annual transparent Sustainability Report, which shares data on 14 indicators.
Innovation: through sharing of knowledge and expertise, GSI has been able to identify and integrate new innovations and improved approaches to its members’ salmon farming operations, including both the launch of the GSI feed tender in 2016, which triggered significant development of non-marine omega-3 sources, and the continued testing of new non-medicinal approaches to disease management
To learn more about the GSI’s Pathways to the Future please click here.
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