Austevoll Seafood ASA (Austevoll) is a Norwegian group that owns and operates fishing vessels, salmon farms and fishmeal and fish oil processing plants across 18 countries. The group produces salmon, whitefish and pelagic products for human consumption, as well as fishmeal and fish oil. Through its ownership of Leroy Seafood Group, Austevoll produces farmed salmon & trout through its subsidiaries in Peru, Chile and Norway, Austevoll operates fishing vessels catching pelagic fish and whitefish.
In the animal proteins segment, Austevoll ranks overall among the top 15, and has a similar rank in both governance and strategy and nutrition measurement areas. It does best relative to its peers in environment, being in the top 10. While its performance in social inclusion is still above average in the animal proteins segments, it is the measurement where the company has the most to improve.
Animal welfare Austevoll discloses a fish health and fish welfare policy which addresses multiple animal welfare issues for its key species. This includes efforts to optimize nutrition, environmental conditions and slaughtering processes for fish. The company also includes its process for implementing this policy through third party auditing, including sector-specific certifications such as the Global G.A.P, ASC and MSC. Going forward, Austevoll could further improve by integrating the approach it has taken with other welfare issues, such as outbreaks of diseases and survival rates, i.e. disclosing time-bound targets and reporting progress against it, towards other animal welfare issues it has identified.
Antibiotic use and growth promoting substances Austevoll’s approach on antibiotics is leading within the Food and Agriculture sector. The company discloses a time bound target for zero use of antibiotics by 2021. This includes both the the prophylactic use of antibiotics and growth promoting substances, as well as antibiotics classified as “medically important”. Moreover, the company discloses the quantities of antibiotics used annually, demonstrating the company is measuring progress against the 2021 target. Finally, the company discloses its process for implementing this policy, through relevant third party and sector-specific certifications.
Sustainable development strategy Austevoll discloses its process for identifying and prioritising its most relevant sustainability topics as well as the outcome of this process in relation to its sustainability strategy. However, it has not set time-bound targets across all benchmark dimensions (environment, nutrition and social inclusion).
Governance and accountability
Austevoll has three board members who are part of the Committee for Social Responsibility and Sustainability. In addition, the variable pay in the senior personnel’s remuneration policy mentions sustainability goals, but these do not relate to the three dimensions.
While the company has conducted stakeholder engagement activities and discloses an overview of the issues raised via these activities, it has an opportunity also to disclose how it identifies its most relevant stakeholders, along with information on how the outcomes of the process are integrated into its sustainable development strategy.
Scope 1, 2 and 3 greenhouse gas emissions
Austevoll does not disclose time-bound targets for its greenhouse gas emissions. It does report on its scope 1 and 2 emissions, but scope 3 emissions remain undisclosed. The company could greatly improve its performance by setting ambitious science-based targets and beginning to work on its scope 3 reporting.
Sustainable fishing and aquaculture
Austevoll does not have a time-bound target to source exclusively sustainable seafood at the parent-company level. However, the company reports that the rate of sustainability certification participation of fisheries for the Group was of 93.84% in 2020. It also lists several initiatives, particularly involving its aquaculture subsidiary Lerøy. There is an opportunity for Austevoll to disclose a time-bound target on its sustainable sourcing at the group level.
Food loss and waste
Only one of Austevoll’s subsidiaries, Lerøy, provides some evidence of addressing food loss and waste in its own operations. Austevoll could increase its level of disclosure by providing quantitative evidence of reducing food loss and waste at the parent-company level.
Availability of healthy foods
Through its subsidiary Lerøy, Austevoll demonstrates that it is improving the nutritional quality of products by reducing salt (in Norway only) and undesirable substances such as dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyls. Austevoll could increase its performance on the topic by increasing the geographic scope of its activities and including all relevant activities under the parent company’s control.
Accessibility and affordability of healthy foods
Austevoll does not provide evidence that it is addressing food insecurity by improving the accessibility or affordability of healthy and nutritious foods.
Austevoll does not disclose sufficient evidence of a workforce nutrition programme or activities at the group level.
While Austevoll prohibits child labour in its own operations, it is not clear whether its code of conduct fully and equally applies to its suppliers. The company has an opportunity to clarify this by demanding its suppliers abide by the code.
Austevoll does not disclose that it pays its workers a living wage nor requires its suppliers to do the same. Neither has it set targets to do so in the future.
Health and safety of vulnerable groups
Austevoll does not disclose that it specifically recognises the health and safety risks to vulnerable groups, such as migrant and temporary labourers, women and young farmers.
Core social indicators
The core social indicators are part of the social inclusion measurement area. These indicators assess societal expectations of business conduct that companies should meet if they aspire to be part of a system transformation that leaves no one behind.
Austevoll provides a grievance mechanism for its workers but none for external individuals and communities. It is committed to respecting the human rights of its workers. However, no sufficient overall commitment to human rights was found in the public domain. The company does not provide evidence of a human rights due diligence process or substantial engagement with affected and potentially affected stakeholders.
Austevoll publicly commits to respecting the health and safety of workers but does not disclose how it monitors the health and safety performance of its suppliers. The company discloses information about collective bargaining agreements covering its workforce but not on its approach within its supply chain. Austevoll reports that three out seven of its board members are women but does not publicly commit to gender equality and women’s empowerment nor disclose the ratio of the basic salary and remuneration of women to men. No information was found in the public domain on living wage, working hours and workforce diversity.
Austevoll publicly prohibits bribery and corruption and takes steps to identify and address bribery and corruption risks and incidents, although it is unclear whether the whistleblowing channel is accessible to all stakeholders. The company has a global publicly available privacy statement relating to the collection, sharing of and access to personal data but no public commitment to protect personal data. No public global tax approach and disclosures on corporate income tax payments on a country-by-country basis were found in the public domain. The company states that it does not support political parties but does not set out its lobbying approach.