Sustainability Policy

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Introduction

Albion Farms and Fisheries Ltd. is committed to creating a company culture that is not only focused on our company’s obligation to customer service and product quality, but also on sustainability of the seafood and meat products we provide our customers.  As Western Canada’s premium protein distributor, we supply all center of the plate protein items including Beef, Pork, Poultry, Lamb and Seafood. However the primary purpose of this policy is to focus on our commitment to providing Sustainable seafood to our customer base.

Albion Farms and Fisheries Ltd. recognizes its role in helping ensure an eco-friendly, sustainable future for the seafood we buy and sell, and the overall health of our oceans. We aim to be a model of sustainability in the Canadian seafood marketplace and to emerge as a proactive leader that is well positioned to supply sustainable seafood products. We believe in the continuous improvement process and will take an active role in assisting not only external fisheries and aquaculture projects but Albion Farms and Fisheries’ internal commitment to seafood sustainability.

What is Sustainable Seafood?

We believe Sustainability consists of three distinct pillars – Environmental, Financial and Social and that all three are essential for seafood to be deemed sustainable. Too often the industry and general public measure sustainability based off only the environmental pillar and while that’s certainly important, without the other two pillars our commitment to Sustainability would tumble.

We also acknowledge fisheries and aquaculture endeavors that are working towards a more positive sustainability position and are engaged in credible Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) and Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs).

Sustainable seafood is fish or shellfish that is caught or farmed in ways that consider the long-term viability of the resource and the communities they support.  Choosing sustainable seafood  and seafood that is on the way towards sustainability is an effective way to support best practices in the fishing and aquaculture industries to ensure the resource lasts long into the future.

Guiding Principles

The Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions Common Vision Statement, which Albion Farms and Fisheries publicly supports, has been used to provide the background and structure for this policy.  The guiding principles outlined in the Common Vision include:

Make a Public Commitment
Commit to developing and implementing a comprehensive, corporate policy on sustainable seafood.

Collecting Data on your Seafood Products
Assess and monitor the environmental sustainability of your seafood products and the labor risks with the supply chains you source them from.

Buying Environmentally Responsible Seafood
Support environmentally responsible seafood choices through purchasing decisions.

Be Transparent
Make information regarding your seafood products publicly available.

Educate
Educate your customers, suppliers, employees and other key stakeholders about environmentally responsible seafood.

Support Reform
Engage in and support policy and management reform that leads to positive social, economic and environmental outcomes in fisheries and aquaculture management.

Albion Farms and Fisheries, Ltd. (AFF)
Sustainability Mission Statement

 

  • We will profitably source and distribute the highest quality products for our customers while continually expanding our offerings of sustainable seafood.
  • We are fully committed to engaging our supplier partners, employees, customers and members of the conservation community to ensure a productive, sustainable future for both wild and farmed seafood products.
  • We will source, purchase and promote products that offer our customers alternatives for items that do not meet current sustainability criteria.  Additionally we will selectively work with those fisheries and aquaculture projects that do not meet current sustainability criteria to help assist these groups to improve their sustainability ranking.
  • We will work with our supplier partners to improve and provide complete, detailed and transparent seafood product traceability information for our customers.
  • We will openly collect and share current and relevant information regarding our sustainability practices with our customers, employees, supplier partners, and the public.
  • We will educate our employees, supplier partners and customers on our guiding principles associated with sustainably sourced seafood products.
  • We will encourage policymakers to improve and develop laws and regulations that support the improvement of fisheries and aquaculture management and enforcement.
  • We will encourage policymakers to improve and develop laws and regulations that support the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights  and the UN FAO Port State Measures in an effort to eliminate Human Rights abuses and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries.
  • We will work towards implementing and maintaining innovative business and operational practices that will minimize our overall impact on the environment.

Statement Details

We will profitably source and distribute the highest quality products for our customers while continually expanding our offerings of sustainable seafood.

Fiscal responsibility is a critical part of any business operation and is an essential component to ensuring a sustainable future.   Without maintaining a profitable operation, sustainability often falls to the wayside and runs the risk of becoming a footnote in a company’s policy and direction.  By pioneering ground-breaking solutions, working with our supply partners and customers, and maintaining open dialogue with environmental organizations, we will continually improve our offering of sustainable seafood products to our customers, while ensuring the economic success of our business.

We are fully committed to engaging our supplier partners, employees, customers and members of the conservation community to ensure a productive and sustainable future for both wild and farmed seafood products. 

We will support a model of continuous improvement for fisheries and aquaculture projects that includes all three components of Sustainability – Economic, Social and Environmental.

A workable and progressive policy on sustainability is not executable without a high level of focus and commitment.

AFF will work collaboratively with our vendors to develop improvement mechanisms and plans where social and environmental issues arise.

This dedication to a sustainable future and continuous improvement sends a strong, yet positive message to all areas of our business operations: supplier partners, employees, customers, and the conservation community.

We will source, purchase and promote products that offer our customers alternatives for items that do not meet current sustainability criteria. Additionally we will selectively work with those fisheries and aquaculture projects that do not meet current sustainability criteria to help assist these groups to improve their sustainability ranking.

Without the sourcing and purchase of sustainable products, we will not be able to offer sustainable options to our customers.  By connecting with current supply partners and reaching out for new sources of product that correspond with current sustainability criteria, we will be able to offer customers alternatives to items that may be deemed unsustainable.

Currently the following certification and rankings schemes meet our sustainability objectives:

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)
Global Aquaculture Alliance Best Aquaculture Practice (BAP) (two-star or higher)
Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)
Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch
Vancouver Aquarium Ocean Wise
Fair Trade USA

However, we will also commit to those fisheries and aquaculture projects that do not meet current sustainability ranking criteria to actively help move these groups to a more sustainable level. Preference will be given to those FIP’s and AIP’s that include social improvement criteria.

There are many creative steps that AFF can take that will allow a more robust and complete sustainability policy and we will annually audit ourselves on our performance:

  • Active engagement in external basic and comprehensive credible Aquaculture and Fishery Improvement Projects (FIP and AIP) that affect AFF’s current supply chain network.
  • Introduce a minimum of six new sustainable products per year and create appropriate sampling and marketing material for each one.
  • Supply sustainable product to sponsored events to help raise awareness and generate more interest in our sustainable seafood offerings.
  • Work with our Sea Pact members to help drive change by focusing on sustainability initiatives, projects and research with the greatest impact for the overall seafood industry.
  • AFF values our current long term supplier base. Work with our suppliers to create short, medium, and long term steps to convert AFF’s current unsustainable seafood options into becoming long term sustainable sources.
  • Commit to sharing best practices and approaches and actively participate in roundtables, workshops, surveys and seminars on key sustainability issues within our supply chain.

We will work with our supplier partners to improve and provide complete, detailed and transparent seafood product traceability for our customers.

Products need to be completely traceable back to the source for food safety objectives and in order to determine their sustainability.

Information for wild products would include common name (species name preferred), Latin name, country of origin, catch region, fishery name, gear type, processor/producer name, and sustainability ranking or certification (including names of FIP’s or AIP’s).

Information for aquaculture products would include common name of seafood (species preferred), Latin name, country of origin, production method used (including feed source details where appropriate), processor/producer name and sustainability ranking or certification (including names of FIP’s or AIP’s)

For both Aquaculture and Fisheries products and/or supply chains that are high risk for illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing or human rights and labour abuses, a supplier signed Supplier Social Assurance (SSA) (Minimum) and/or an Independent third party social audit (Preferred) is required.

We will openly collect and share current and relevant information regarding our sustainability practices with our customers, employees, supplier partners and the public.

AFF will aim to achieve a high level of transparency to assure our customers, business partners, and the general public that AFF is not simply “green-washing” but making a solid commitment to making a difference in the seafood industry. We will provide an annual public update on our progress.

We will educate our employees, supplier partners and customers on our guiding principles associated with sustainably sourced seafood products.

Education is another key aspect of a successful and comprehensive sustainability policy.

AFF will work with our conservation partners, management and employees to create materials and training programs to ensure our employees have a thorough understanding of seafood sustainability, assessments and certification programs so they can offer our customers well informed advice on sustainable seafood options.

We will encourage policymakers to improve and develop laws and regulations that supports the improvement of fisheries and aquaculture management and enforcement.

Reform in the policies and practices relating to the seafood industry can remove several obstacles that may be hindering the advancement of seafood sustainability.  As a leader in the Canadian seafood market, Albion Farms and Fisheries Ltd. has a respected voice in the business community and we want to play an active role in the reform of current laws and regulations.

Examples of policy reform include improving access to fisheries data, improved labelling for seafood products, and improved seafood traceability standards.

We will encourage policymakers to improve and develop laws and regulations that supports the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights  and the UN FAO Port State Measures in an effort to eliminate Human Rights abuses and Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fisheries.

Examples of policy reform include improving Seafood Country of Origin Importation and Traceability standards; supporting the continued consolidation by Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMO) of IUU fishing vessel lists and amending the Coastal Fisheries Protection act; support economic sanctions for countries with ongoing human rights issues and endorse and support international policies that enable safe and fair working conditions.

We will work towards implementing and maintaining innovative business and operational practices that will minimize our overall impact on the environment.

AFF is concerned not only about our oceans, but the environment as a whole.   AFF has already taken a positive step towards reducing our overall environmental footprint by designing an energy and resource friendly workplace. Reducing the amount of Styrofoam that has traditionally been used to transport seafood products through the reusable blue bin program and new packaging technology is one additional example of our commitment to our environment.  Implementing this type of environmentally responsible practice will also be extended to other areas of our operation, such as a reduction in the use of office paper, reduction of disposable wares, reduction of power usage, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, the initiation of an in-house recycling program and an employee driven “Green Taskforce”.

We also commit to leveraging our business actions in providing positive employment opportunities, economic development and overall social well being for the communities that we interact, service and source from on a day to day basis.

Conclusion

Albion Farms and Fisheries is committed to working closely with its member organizations, Sea Pact and other sustainable seafood initiatives and environmental groups to take positive steps towards the sustainability of the seafood products we buy and sell.  Albion Farms and Fisheries ltd. recognizes that this commitment to continuous improvement requires creative thinking, innovative approaches, and commitment from our employees, supplier partners and customers.

This document is designed to be a living document committed to developing a comprehensive and progressive policy around the sourcing and sales of sustainable seafood products for Albion Farms and Fisheries Ltd. 

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