BEST PRACTICES FOR SUSTAINABLE FINANCING IN THE SEAFOOD SECTOR

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Sustainable seafood can be the key element to ensure secure food supply in the low carbon future. This week world leaders gather in Tokyo to attend the Tokyo Sustainable Seafood Summit to discuss the latest developments in the area. The Blue Economy (ocean economy) offers a variety of options for private finance that allow you to invest and lend in a sustainable and eco sustainable method.

In this article, we will look at some of the most successful examples of environmental and social sustainability within the sector of seafood that insurers, banks and investors could seek out. It is essential to transform the majority of fisheries in the world from being unsustainable to sustainable. At present, 21.3 percent of the worldwide fisheries are being overfished and this indicates that the SDG 14.4 goal of eradicating overfishing by 2020 hasn’t been accomplished (FAO 2020). From a financial point of view the mechanisms and institutions need to change their approach from providing cash or insurance to companies engaged in over-exploited fisheries.

The most important concerns for aquaculture are lessening the industry’s environmental impacts while increasing production worldwide to meet growing demands for animal proteins, specifically in the growing middle class. Efficiency and profitability gains mostly by sustainable intensification and improvement in feed conversion and the introduction of new species that are commercially available are other factors that contribute to the long-term viability of aquaculture.

The main issue is how financial institutions can benefit from a sustainable approach to seafood without exposing themselves to risks that could lead to environmental and social repercussions.

To help you understand the recent changes to the seafood industry, we’ve put together eight examples of innovative best practices in the field of seafood that you might not have heard of.

Cross-cutting

Eliminating the amount of waste

Recycling is the most efficient method to reduce waste throughout the seafood production chain. Find businesses that provide products or services that can help reduce and eliminate waste from food like cold-chain storage, quality control or even the production of by-products. For instance, Icelandic Ocean Group’s 100 percent fish initiative encourages creativity throughout the value chain of seafood to create new economic by-products.

Resilience

Climate change can have a variety of effects on the industry of seafood and the seafood industry, including extreme weather conditions that can disrupt the business and even the people. However, certain products and services may help the aquaculture and fishing industries increase their ability to adapt to extreme weather by offering financial protection or new solutions. Find companies that provide these kinds of products and services that are available to industry (such in risk-based finance as well as more resilient tangible assets) and companies which are already using these products, like those that use the Caribbean Ocean and Aquaculture Sustainability Facility.

Fisheries captured in wild

Transparency

Sustainable fishing demands transparency and traceability. the products and solutions that enhance their effectiveness are continually evolving. Look for companies that provide an alignment with global best practices recommendations and traceability standards like traceability standards such as the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability framework through its products or services.

Methods for fishing

It’s as crucial the way we fish as it is the fish we are fishing for. Certain types of gear have less environmental impact and low-impact fishing gear is currently being developed. Find companies that offer low-impact fishing equipment or technologies for the fishing industry, or permit significant reductions in accidental species that are not targeted for catch, like lighting in nets.

Sustainability of the environment

The sustainability of the fishery depends on the long-term viability of the fish. While the majority of global fisheries are either completely or overfished, financial businesses that source their supplies from sustainable and certified sources or participate in time-bound improvement of fisheries and recovery programmes have plenty of choices. Seek opportunities to fund the transition to sustainable fisheries on a large scale, such as those described on www.fisheryprogress.org, and work toward a leading – and, where possible, benchmarked – fisheries standard.

Investors are starting to realize the importance of sustainability in fisheries. In September of 2020, Credit Suisse established the Ocean Engagement Fund in partnership with Rockefeller Asset Management, a new investment fund. This equity investment fund is expected to be focused specifically on SDG 14 (Life Below Water) in conjunction and with the Ocean Foundation to restore global ocean health, including the sector of seafood, and providing investors with positive returns. Companies that invest in the fund will be involved by the fund’s management who will encourage the companies to adopt actions to reduce negative effects and shift to more sustainable methods of operation.

Aquaculture

Nature

The Aquaculture industry and Nature Aquaculture can help with restoration of forests and environmental clean-up.

Companies that take active steps to restore the natural capital and replace it could increase the sustainability of their business models as well as the natural environment. It is the Seaweed for Europe coalition, that focuses on the ecological benefits that are derived by the production of seaweed and has identified potential for companies to provide ecosystem services to make money.

Biosecurity

Recirculating aquaculture systems as well as other closed-loop systems that stop diseases from spreading or escapes provide more secure, low-impact aquaculture development possibilities. Consider options that comply with international standards for aquaculture like the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s specific species-based biosecurity standards.

Feed

Aquaculture is connected to a variety of industries, such as agriculture and wild-catch fishing. This is done via feed. Innovation is inspired by feed standards, conversion supply, waste, as well as alternatives to feedstocks that are already in use. Be sure to look for companies that follow the best practices in the feed industry and source or produce innovative and low-impact alternatives for feed, like algae and insect-based food.

Dino S. Williams