20 December 2017
An area we are focused on as part of a wider sustainability plan is ‘green business’. How can seafood companies and processors operate in a manner that is kinder to the environment while also saving costs and improving efficiencies?
Water usage; energy consumption; transport costs and waste management are key overheads, and through BIM’s ‘Green Seafood Business Programme’ established in 2012, we have already assisted over 30 companies to achieve significant cost savings and efficiencies.
What has been particularly exciting is how this programme has evolved and how seafood companies have embraced it, achieving a great deal in a relatively short time.
Irish seafood companies should be applauded for their work in this area; many of them going over and above what is required, including Island Seafoods and Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-op who beat off stiff competition from multinational companies at the Green Awards to win ‘Green Business of the Year’ in the last three years.
With water representing a significant cost for seafood processors, identifying leaks can save businesses over €1,000 per year based on a leak of 1 litre per minute. Energy is the largest overhead cost associated, and transport is responsible for the majority of seafood C02 emissions.
Improving efficiencies in these areas presents a great opportunity to reduce emissions while increasing profit.
Waste management is often overlooked in seafood processing as a potential area for cost savings. BIM recognises the importance of innovative reuse and recycling and how it can transform wastes into valuable by-products.
This year, BIM organised two cross-sectoral ‘knowledge sharing’ visits in collaboration with Bord Bia. In June, seafood processors visited Silver Hill Farm to learn from a successful company that embraced green practices and a robust sustainability plan to increase efficiencies and protect the local environment. In October, Island Seafoods – an Origin Green member based in Killybegs —welcomed a delegation to their plant to showcase innovations and achievements in the area of sustainability.
The day demonstrated how the company has changed operating procedures to be more efficient and environmentally friendly. A tour showcased their waste water treatment plant and hydro-electric turbine that produces approximately 60% of Island Seafood’s annual electrical demand.
Island Seafood’s are also commencing a pilot ‘anaerobic digestion study’ to test different waste fish species and investigate the methane yields.
‘Green Business of the Year’ in 2017, Castletownbere Fishermen’s Co-op, was founded in 1968 by a group of fishermen with the initial aim of purchasing fuel in bulk. The Co-op has evolved and expanded to become a highly profitable business with a turnover of €60m last year.
The Co-op catches high-quality fish direct from its own fleet of fishing trawlers. Their processing plant comprises 60 tonnes of chill, 200 tonnes of cold storage and 50 tonnes of freezing capacity.
Working with BIM’s Green Seafood Business team has resulted in a 3.5% reduction in electricity usage for the company and a 36% reduction in waste to landfill, despite a production increase of nearly 400 tonnes.
The Co-op also installed solar panels that are expected to save €18,000 a year in electricity costs. In addition, all their fish are certified, traced and fished within EU quotas with many vessels certified to the Marine Stewardship Council and BIM’s Responsibly Sourced Standard.
From small changes in water usage on the factory floor to innovative energy solutions, seafood companies are leading the way, and we can expect further progress in 2018 as more companies work with BIM on the Green Seafood Business programme.
Not only are they protecting the local environment, they are saving costs. In a competitive sector like seafood, greening your business must be an integral part of your overall business plan.
If you are a seafood company and have made significant progress in going green, don’t forget to enter the annual Green Awards sponsored by BIM on February 20, 2018.
To apply visit www.greenawards.ie
BIM and an Industry Delegation Visiting Island's Seafood's in Donegal, winner of the Green Award 2016.