Publix makes USD 130,000 FIP donation; Thai Union, BioMar publish sustainability reports

Thai Union led a global trash pick-up day on 6 June
Thai Union led a global trash pick-up day on 6 June | Photo courtesy of Thai Union
6 Min

SeafoodSource is closely following the sustainable seafood movement by compiling a regular round-up of sector updates about sustainability initiatives and certifications.

- Thai Union’s 2023 sustainability report has detailed the company’s progress in achieving its SeaChange 2030 sustainability strategy.

Thai Union unveiled the initiative in July 2023, naming 11 overarching sustainability objectives it aimed to pursue, backing it with THB 6.9 billion (USD 200 million, EUR 178 million) to ensure 100 percent of the company’s seafood comes from responsible sources by 2030.

Its annual sustainability report revealed the company reduced Scope 1 and 2 greenhouse gas emissions by 8.8 percent in 2023 compared to 2022 and launched the Shrimp Decarbonization initiative, developed with The Nature Conservancy and Ahold Delhaize USA.

In addition, Thai Union said it sourced 85 percent of its tuna by volume from fisheries that were either Marine Stewardship Council-certified, in MSC assessment, or in a credible fishery improvement program up from 81 percent from 2022. It also increased the percentage of tuna it purchased from vessels equipped with electronic monitoring or human observers from 71 percent in 2021 to 90 percent in 2023.

Thai Union said it published a human rights risk assessment and updated its human rights policy, as well as became a signatory to the Ocean Breakthroughs and Transforming our Food Systems pacts at the United Nations’ 27th Conference of the Parties (COP27) on Climate Change.

“Thai Union’s commitment to sustainability is stronger than ever, and the progress we have made in 2023 is a testament to our dedication to leading positive change within the seafood industry,” Thai Union Group CEO Thiraphong Chansiri said. “Our SeaChange 2030 strategy not only sets ambitious goals but also lays a clear path towards achieving them. We have a lot of work ahead of us, but I am proud of the strides we have made and remain deeply committed to driving further improvements not just across our operations but the industry around the world.”

On World Oceans Day, more than 470 Thai Union employees participated in a global trash collection initiative that picked up 11,036 kilograms of refuse from sites in Thailand, the U.S., Africa, and Europe.

“100 percent of our branded products will be in sustainable packaging by 2025, eliminating non-recyclable plastic from our brands. We also advocate for at least 60 percent of private-label products to be in sustainable packaging,” Adam Brennan, the chief sustainability officer at Thai Union, said. “We are addressing plastic on multiple fronts: within our operations, through our Global Ghost Gear Initiative partnership to recover and repurpose abandoned fishing gear, and through major collaborations to divert 1,500 tons of plastic from our oceans by 2030.” 

- Aquafeed producer BioMar has released its 2023 sustainability report, showcasing its efforts over the past year in advancing environmental responsibility and social impact.

In 2023, BioMar completed a double materiality assessment, which identified the impact of the company’s activities across its entire value chain and how environmental and other sustainability-related issues may affect the company financially in the short, medium, and long terms. Additionally, BioMar achieved “notable reductions” in its carbon footprint and increased its use of circular and restorative ingredients. It also advanced its BioSustain program, setting new benchmarks in sustainability metrics for the aquaculture industry.

- In honor of World Oceans Day on 6 June, Publix announced a USD 130,000 (EUR 121,000) donation to support fishery improvement projects (FIPs).

The funding will go toward supporting a mahi FIP in Costa Rica and Panama in adopting new gear to lower bycatch including whales, sea turtles, sharks, dolphins, and seabirds, as well as toward the CanFISH Gear Lending Program, which provides ropeless fishing gear through a lending program to commercial fisheries in Nova Scotia, Canada. Additionally, Publix has provided additional funding for the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership Bycatch Solutions Hub and the Gulf of Saint Lawrence snow crab fishery improvement project.

“Publix is committed to taking meaningful steps alongside our supplier partners to drive the responsible harvesting of seafood,” Publix Business Development Director of Seafood Guy Pizzuti said in a press release.

 -Storage equipment provider Palletower has switched its manufacturing from abroad back to its home in the United Kingdom, with the twin goals of attaining more control over its materials and offering environmental and cost benefits to its customers in the seafood sector.

The transition, completed in June 2024, has allowed the company to reduce its emissions “dramatically.”

“In an industry which is typically known as having its environmental challenges, we are keen to lead the way and spread awareness to our customers about the importance of investing in sustainable practices from the ground up, starting with the equipment they use to transport their goods,” Palletower Managing Director Matthew Palmer said in a press release. “By purchasing plastic boxes from Palletower, your company will be significantly reducing its carbon footprint and helping improve the environment as whole.”

Palletower conducted a study of the carbon footprint of U.K.’s seafood industry logistics, and found a reshoring of plastic box pallets and other plastic storage products, including collars and foldable boxes – previously manufactured in Turkey, Spain, Germany, and China – reduced the CO2 emissions required to ship their products for distribution in the U.K.

 - The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership (SSP) has joined the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) as an affiliated partner.

The Sustainable Shrimp Partnership, which recently celebrated its sixth anniversary, was created in 2018 to give Ecuador’s shrimp industry a pre-competitive platform to improve the country's reputation as a source of safe and sustainable product. GSSI is a global multi-stakeholder partnership that has developed a benchmarking tool for seafood sustainability programs and eco-labels, and Seafood MAP, a planning tool for seafood companies to improve their sustainability standards.

"At SSP, we recognize a strong alignment with GSSI. Both organizations share a vision of collaboration between industry and all stakeholders to drive significant improvement. Working hand in hand with GSSI allows us to expand the reach of Ecuadorian shrimp producers' efforts to address global sustainability challenges and continually raise the sector's sustainability standards,” SSP Director Pamela Nath said. “We’re excited about this collaboration, and confident that we’ll develop pathways for improvement in shrimp production and identify solutions and projects to advance proactively. Moreover, we aim to share our results to inspire other stakeholders to join the race to the top, ensuring safe and high-quality seafood for all."

- Oceanize is partnering with the Healix Group on a rope-recycling initiative, with the goal of reducing marine pollution cased by ropes used in the aquaculture and fisheries sectors.

Nærøysund, Norway-based Oceanize, a recycler of discarded plastic from marine industries, and the Maastricht, the Netherlands-based plastic upcycler Healix Group plastic will work together to produce Healix’s XPP-MR plastic granulate product from ropes sourced from Norway’s seafood industry.

“The strategic partnership with Healix marks an exciting step towards our common goal of a cleaner, more sustainable planet,” Oceanize Managing Director Johan Saugestad said. “Together, we can help the aquaculture and fishing industry to further reduce its footprint by recycling more and better.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Healix will transfer its certified plastic processing system to Oceanize, which will produce the recycled material from maritime rope. Oceanize will receive exclusive market rights to sell Healix XPP-MR in Norway, Sweden, and Finland, while Healix covers the rest of Europe.

“The collaboration agreement with Oceanize is a very significant moment in our quest to create a sustainable future for plastic fiber waste,” Healix Group CEO Marcel Alberts said. “By combining our technologies and expertise, the companies strengthen their influence to keep plastic in the economy but out of our oceans.”

The Spanish fleet, one of the most technologically advanced in the world, continues to lead the way globally to strengthen the sustainability of its activity

 - The Organization of Associated Producers of Large-scale Freezer Tuna Vessels (OPAGAC) will deploy 1,500 Satlink smart buoys in the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian oceans as part of Project SelecTuna.

The project, announced 18 June, has the goal of increasing selectivity and improving sustainable exploitation of target tuna species. The buoy uses a dual echo-sounder and acoustic technology system to differentiate between skipjack tuna and yellowfin and bigeye tuna.

“Project 'SelecTuna' will be key in improving the identification of the latter two, yellowfin and bigeye tuna, thanks to enhanced algorithms, contrasted with intensive sampling,” Satlink said in a press release. “This information will allow the Spanish fleet to focus on their target species, promoting the conservation of sensitive species stocks and increasing its efficiency by reducing fishing effort and generating significant savings in time, resources, fuel, and carbon footprint.”

SelecTuna will also increase knowledge about the biology, behavior, and distribution of tropical tuna populations, and provide data for the development of abundance indices implemented by regional fisheries management organizations (RFMOs), fostering data-driven decision-making, according to Satlink President Faustino Velasco.

 “SelecTuna is a perfect example of our commitment to developing technology solutions that contribute to the sustainability of the oceans and fisheries management, by promoting resource protection, improving scientific knowledge, and optimizing fleet operations,” Velasco said.

Satlink, a Madrid, Spain-based fisheries solutions technology company, acquired Xeos Technologies in January 2024.

- Deloitte announced a partnership to expand and enhance Sustell, a software-as-a-service platform operated by dsm-firmenich used to calculate the environmental impact of producing animal protein at scale, including seafood.

Sustell can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, nitrate pollution, water usage, and biodiversity impacts, as well as identifying more efficient means of using raw materials, according to dsm-firmenich Vice President of Sustainability and Business Solutions David Nickell.

"It is the standard that can help open the door to commercial opportunities by driving customer demand, enabling grants and preferential development finance, opening new income streams through carbon credits and data royalties, and lowering environmental impact,” Nickell said. “Our critical, on-the-ground insights on animal feed and farming, coupled with Deloitte's global leadership and cross-sector knowledge, will help unlock the missing ingredients needed to create a greener food ecosystem for everybody."

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