Global Salmon Initiative celebrates a decade of transparency and transformative action

The Sustainability Report now contains a decade’s worth of data across global operations providing a unique oversight to industry-wide sustainability performance.

June 28, 2023

Global Salmon Initiative (GSI) celebrated the achievement of publishing ten years’ worth of open-access data in its annual Sustainability Report. The 10th report provides a unique and transparent insight into global salmon farming operations. Documenting over 2000 independently audited data points, GSI members showcase how they stand up against 15 consistent environmental and social indicators.

“Global Salmon Initiative’s annual Sustainability Report demonstrates how a sector can work together to identify its biggest impacts, share global sustainability performance information in a common database, and identify what practices work best under what conditions, to reduce those impacts,” Jason Clay, senior vice president, Markets at World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “When sustainability is precompetitive, companies can work together to measurably reduce their biggest impacts. The companies in GSI use a best-in-class database where they use the same methods and metrics to address and accurately track performance individually as well as collectively, and then report on their progress as a sector. GSI has already influenced other sectors of food production. Read the report and see what they have done in a decade –changing the footprint of food production doesn’t have to take a long time.”

In its tenth edition, the GSI report highlights where GSI’s pre-competitive collaboration platform has supported the salmon farming sector in achieving measurable progress in its environmental footprint, and strengthened farmed salmon’s role within a responsible and sustainable food system:

  • GSI members continued to improve the eco-efficiency of feed ingredients, including continuing to use only certified marine ingredients, utilizing sustainable byproducts and assessing the role of novel ingredients. This has resulted in an average 20% reduction in marine ingredients since 2013.
  • Over half (55%) of GSI members’ production was Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certified in 2022 (as average of total production), resulting in greater access to salmon farmed to the most stringent environmental and social standards.
  • GSI members drove a 67% decrease in the average use of antibiotics across operations since GSI’s founding in 2013. This is due to a commitment to the highest levels of antibiotic stewardship for optimal fish health and sharing best practices on holistic approaches to fish welfare.
  • Continuing their focus on diversifying approaches to fish health management, GSI members have demonstrated a 56% reduction in combined average in-bath and in-feed medicinal treatments for sea lice since 2013.
  • GSI members employ over 24,000 people providing employment, investment, training and support to often remote communities where they operate. In addition to their employees, GSI members support local communities through educational infrastructure, funding research and development, promoting good health within the community, and protecting nature and supporting environmental sustainability in surrounding areas. These case studies are included in the community engagement section of the 2022 sustainability report.

“Where the GSI has been successful is in uniting a significant proportion of the industry under a shared vision to improve the sector’s sustainability performance. But beyond that it is that they have held true to their commitments – transparency, collaboration, innovation and measurable sustainable progress. They have set the goal posts for the sector and continued their march forwards. Their leadership extends beyond the membership, and even non-members follow the GSI reporting protocols as the accepted frameworks for progress,” said Dag Sletmo, SVP, DNB Bank.

As GSI approaches its 10th anniversary later this year, members continue to look to the future and where they use GSI’s model to drive further industry advancements in sustainability. Using the progress highlighted in the report, members take the data to develop frameworks for continued efforts, and seek advancements for a more sustainable future for salmon farming.

“While there are lots of positive stories to tell about salmon farming, from healthy food to climate-friendly sources of protein, there is further improvement to be made. The numbers we see for environmental performance and welfare are not where we want them to be, the benchmarking and reporting is vital for us to understand where and how we can improve. We will continue to work hard to ensure salmon is raised and farmed in the most ethical and sustainable ways possible,” said Aino Olaisen, chair of the Board of Directors of Nova Sea AS, and GSI co-chair.