Austral Fisheries – Proud To Be Carbon Neutral
Our journey began in 1997 when Austral Fisheries became the first fishing company in the world to sign up to the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) with Unilever and WWF. We did that, believing it was critical to the health of our fisheries to ensure sustainable management, science and conservation were the base elements of our business.
We refined this in February 2011, when we made an official change to our logo to incorporate ‘Sustainable Seafood’ as our by-line. By 2012, our icefish, toothfish and prawn fisheries were all certified as sustainable and well managed by MSC, and we had identified approaches to either improve other fisheries we were in, purchase products from sustainable fisheries, or work to promote the need for sustainable fisheries. And that has helped transform our approach and commitment to sustainable fishing practices, as well as encouraged others to do the same.
Nineteen years after our journey began, we’ve identified another step. We wanted to build on the great work, and solid base of sustainable seafood that has been created and maintained by our crew, staff and organisation.
We wanted to take sustainability to the next level, and so this has led to becoming certified as carbon neutral as an Organisation, and for the wild capture fish and prawn products we catch and sell.
As part of being carbon neutral, we hope that we will influence others in the fish business to do the same. We also hope to influence our suppliers to take similar steps. Further, we’d like to see our customers extend our efforts at being carbon neutral for our products all the way through to a piece of fish being identifiably carbon neutral when it is on the plate of those who enjoy our high quality seafood.
What is Carbon Neutral?
Carbon neutrality, or having no carbon footprint, refers to achieving a net zero carbon emission by balancing the amount of carbon released from our business, with an equivalent amount sequestered, or offset. In our case, the vast majority of the carbon we emit is from diesel fuel on our fishing vessels, with the rest made up of refrigerant gases on board, electricity in our offices, staff and crew travel, transport of our products, and so on.
Being certified as carbon neutral under the Australian Government’s Carbon Neutral Program is based on an annual cycle of measuring, reducing, offsetting and reporting. To adhere to the Program’s National Carbon Offset Standard, we must:
- Measure the amount of carbon dioxide that we produce each year;
- Monitor and reduce emissions where ever possible;
- Purchase and cancel eligible offset units to offset the remaining emissions;
- Have all steps subjected to independent periodic audit; and
- Transparently report the steps taken so the public can objectively assess our carbon neutral claim.
We will also encourage our suppliers and customers to do the same. We have provided some answers to some frequently asked questions regarding our journey towards carbon neutrality
We care. Together, we can make a difference.
Austral Fisheries is continuing its journey of high quality, sustainable seafood by becoming carbon neutral.
We care about our staff and our crew, the fish we catch and sell, and the environment.
Together with our customers, suppliers, and other industry leaders, we can make a difference to the way we provide seafood for the future.
How we achieved this
We believe it’s important to acknowledge that we are relatively heavy contributors as a result of our fishing operations being in remote areas. We feel that we have a duty to ‘do our bit’ to limit our impact, so we have immediately moved to offset our carbon emissions, even before we take steps to reduce them, which we will also be doing.
To offset our CO₂ emissions, we have purchased Gold Standard carbon credits under a five year contract from an Australian company, Carbon Neutral Pty Ltd, who on our behalf will be planting around 190,000 trees annually in the eastern wheat belt area of Western Australia, under a reforestation program. This area was cleared for farming around 50 years ago, but has now been reclaimed and will become revegetated with native plants, allowing native insects, birds and animals to move back into this area in time, while also creating local and indigenous jobs in the region.
At the end of this five year period, we will reassess the project, as we’re also very interested in ‘Blue Carbon’ projects. Blue Carbon projects would store (sequester) carbon into marine environments and examples for offsets might include the regeneration of wetlands, estuaries and mangroves. Those concepts are closer to our business at heart and what we do, so we’d like to support them, too. Unfortunately, there are currently no Blue Carbon projects that are certified by Gold Standard in Australia, so we’ll be working with a number of groups to encourage development of Blue Carbon offset programs, which we may use to help offset our emissions in future.
Our Carbon Footprint
We have measured and calculated our carbon footprint, using the baseline of the 2014 calendar year (that being the most recent period for which full accounts were available). These calculations were based on the National Carbon Offset Standard (v3.0), and have been independently audited by Ernst and Young, and approved by the Australian Government.
In the 2014 baseline year:
- our total direct catch was 4,632 t of processed fish and prawns,
- our total carbon footprint was 27,422 t CO2-e, and
- our emissions intensity was 5.92 t CO2-e per tonne of fish and prawns caught.
For further detail, please see our Carbon Neutral Media Pack:
- Public Disclosure Summary
- Ernst and Young’s Auditor Assurance Statement (Organisation, LCA)
- Austral Fisheries Carbon Neutral Media Release 11/03/16
- Austral Fisheries on becoming Carbon Neutral (one page flyer)
- Austral Fisheries Carbon Neutral Background Information
- Austral Fisheries logos
- Austral Fisheries pictures