Nutreco is an animal nutrition and aquafeed producer that currently operates in 40 countries globally. The company is part of SHV, a Dutch family-owned holding company, and has over 12,000 employees between its two divisions. One division (Trouw Nutrition) is dedicated to terrestrial animal nutrition, while the other (Skretting) produces aquaculture feed. Skretting provides feed for over 60 species of shrimp and finfish – primarily salmon and tilapia – across 19 subsidiaries worldwide.
Governance and management of stewardship practices
Nutreco’s sustainability programme Nuterra is a leading example within the seafood industry. It includes three main components: a corporate roadmap that sets targets for 2020; a standard to measure annual progress made against these targets; and a product assessment tool that demonstrates sustainability performance. The standard is particularly noteworthy, as it allows relevant internal stakeholders to map and monitor progress on the company’s sustainability targets, which then can be included in the company’s overall reporting. This tool demonstrates evidence of corporate oversight and responsibility for its sustainability agenda.
Nutreco also stands out for its high level of stakeholder engagement. In 2018, Nutreco completed a detailed materiality assessment in preparation for a new Nuterra 2025 roadmap. The company invited 700 internal and external stakeholders to participate and mapped their key concerns and relevant topics against current and potential impacts on company operations. It then publicly disclosed detailed information about this assessment in its 2018 sustainability report.
The use of fish in aquaculture feed is an often-discussed issue in the aquaculture industry. Plant-based alternatives can play an important role. Skretting has introduced an innovative feed product for salmon that contains no fish meal or fish oil, relying on algae for the key oil necessary for fish growth. This enables salmon aquaculture to develop without using fish from wild-capture fisheries, thus reducing the potential risk of overexploiting marine resources for aquaculture feed production.
Nutreco has notable capacity building activities – namely a Catfish farming project in Nigeria’s Ibadan area through which the company states to have assisted over 270 small rural farmers to increase their production and a Tilapia farming project in Zambia’s Mpulungu area with an aim increase livelihoods and income of 40 local small-scale farmers by sustainably producing tilapia alongside focusing on promoting aquaculture development. Through its project in Zambia, Nutreco also reports to promoting women empowerment in aquaculture.
Implementation of human and labour rights policies
Although Nutreco commits to respecting workers’ human and labour rights through its code of conduct and supplier code of conduct, its performance in implementing these commitments can be improved. It lacks a corporate approach detailing how working conditions are being monitored. While the company has an internal whistle blowing line called ‘SpeakUp’ the company should disclose how it provides remediation for potential adverse human rights impacts.
Nutreco discloses detailed information on the origins of marine ingredients used for its Norwegian salmon feed, including certiﬁcation status, ﬁsh species and country of origin. However, the same level of detail is not available in other locations; for instance, the company states that it has difficulties in obtaining management and catch data from some Asian fisheries. Nutreco could increase transparency in its reporting to ensure that it includes the origins of a greater proportion of its marine ingredients and could also set related targets to increase accountability.
Traceability of terrestrial ingredients
Nutreco states that it does not know the exact percentage of soy it supplies from Brazil, as it does not maintain a system to trace the source of its soy products back to the country or region where the soy was cultivated. This lack of insight is a potential risk to Nutreco’s sustainability performance, given soy production can have potential negative environmental and social impacts. The company acknowledges this potential risk and states that its priority is to improve its traceability in 2019.