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Marine Harvest is world’s top sustainable food producer

June 5, 2018

Aquaculture companies top first comprehensive sustainability assessment of world’s biggest food producers.

Aquaculture giant Marine Harvest, which has been targeted by anti-fish farm activists in B.C. has topped the new sustainable food producers’ index, which is based on criteria such as use of antibiotics, animal welfare and food safety.

Together with Leroy Seafood Group and other aquaculture firms, Marine Harvest led the first Coller FAIRR Protein Producer index, which was launched this week and measures 60 global intensive farming companies against eight criteria.

The Norwegian aquaculture company Marine Harvest was highlighted for its approach to antibiotics.  The company tracks antibiotics usage on a gram of active substance per ton of product basis, and only uses antibiotics when fish are at risk.

Marine Harvest company officials and scientists will be at the upcoming The BC Seafood Expo.

The company aims to have “minimal” use of antibiotics by 2022, said the ground-breaking new index for investors analyzing a $300bn group of 60 global food companies.

The Coller FAIRR Protein Producer Index is the world’s first comprehensive assessment of how some of the world’s biggest, listed suppliers of meat and fish are managing critical sustainability risks from pollution to the Paris Agreement, food safety to worker safety.

Norwegian firm SalMar, was praised for having a comprehensive target to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 10% by 2020. Overall, European aquaculture producers led the sector on sustainability.

On the other end of the index, major suppliers to fast food giants McDonalds and KFC, including Chinese firm Fujian Sunner and Indian firm Venky’s, were among those graded ‘high risk’. Sanderson Farms, third largest poultry producer in the US, was also given bottom-tier ranking.

Jeremy Coller, Founder of the FAIRR Initiative and Chief Investment Officer of Coller Capital said: “Investors need ESG data and transparency to make better investment decisions, yet this information is lacking in the meat, fish and dairy sector. This is the first index to help investors bridge that knowledge gap.”

“As megatrends like climate change, antibiotic resistance and food technology radically reshape the way we produce and consume meat, fish and dairy, the Coller FAIRR index will help institutional capital identify both best in class companies and potential stranded assets in the food sector.”

The FAIRR (Farm Animal Investment Risk & Return) group is backed by $5.6 trillion in investment assets.

Marine Harvest Canada operates salmon farms and processing plants in British Columbia, Canada, where 600 people raise 45,000 tonnes of sustainable Atlantic salmon each year.

The company operates within the traditional territories of 24 First Nations and has formal agreements with 15 of these Nations and eight First Nation-owned businesses.

Globally it produces one-fifth of the world’s farm-raised salmon at facilities in Norway, Scotland, Canada, Chile, Ireland and the Faroe Islands, employing over 12 000 people.

Last April, Marine Harvest Canada’s Alexander Inlet farm in BC was the company’s 17th farm site to be certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

The site holds about 600,000 fish.

Marine Harvest said that with 17 active certifications now in B.C., it hopes to have 24 more certified by the end of 2018, and will certify a total of about 30, depending on production schedules, by 2020 to meet its global commitment.

Despite the company’s environmental record, anti-fish militants have targeted Marine Harvest’s operations in BC over the past few years.

The company is back in a BC court June 25 seeking injunction orders to keep its workers safe from aggressive and bullying behaviour by the protesters.

“In Canada everyone has the right to peaceful protest, but not when it interferes with legitimate activities or crosses the line into aggressive, bullying behaviour,” said Jeremy Dunn, Marine Harvest Director of Community Relations & Public Affairs.

“We asked for a court injunction after our employees endured many months of aggressive protest activities and Marine Harvest made numerous attempts at dialogue with protest organizers, which were rebuffed,” he said.

“Our staff must be able to work in a safe environment, free of harassment and intimidation,” said Dunn.

The court decision comes in the wake of an Angus Reid poll on the contentious Kinder Morgan pipeline expansion project which showed that the protesters do not represent mainstream views. Many of the protesters against the pipeline are also involved in the anti-salmon farm lobby, which gets funding from foreign interests.

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