Mowi: “We are concerned that not being included in the taxonomy at an early stage will have a negative impact on the industry”

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Mowi has submitted a consultation submission to the European Commission regarding the new classification system (taxonomy) for green investments.

In October last year, it was reported that aquaculture and seafood were not included in the EU’s classification system for sustainable activities. The system, which is partially introduced in 2021 and becomes part of Norwegian law through the EEA Agreement, determines what can be defined as sustainable activity for investment purposes in the EU. The system should also make it easier to distinguish between the investments that are sustainable and which are not.

Hearing input
Mowi also asked in October for a meeting with Norway’s Ministry of Industry and Fisheries, where they wanted to know how the department worked to get the aquaculture industry included in the taxonomy, as well as how the company could best contribute to this in its work.

“As the EU has already come a long way in its work on the taxonomy, it is our view that it is urgent to get the aquaculture industry on the radar,” communications director Ola Helge Hjetland wrote to the Ministry.

Mowi has now also submitted a consultation submission to the European Commission on the matter. In the letter, which SB has been given access to, Mowi said it will address two concerns:

“Aquaculture should be included as activity in the taxonomy” and “The Commission should communicate that sustainable activities, and in turn companies representing such activities, that are not yet included in the taxonomy are nonetheless sustainable and green investments.”

“Important that aquaculture bridges the gap”
Mowi pointed out that the EU, including through the so-called “Farm to Fork” strategy, has stated that the production of seafood must be increased in order to feed a growing world population in a sustainable way.

Mowi also pointed out that for two years in a row, it topped the Coller FAIRR Protein Index, which ranks the largest global meat, dairy and fish producers by looking at risk factors from the use of antibiotics to deforestation and violations of workers’ rights.

“With wild-capture fisheries under increasing pressure and an increasing global population to feed, it is important that aquaculture bridges the gap, assuming an increasingly greater role in providing sustainable food security for the planet,” Mowi argued.

The expert group, which presented a final proposal to the labeling system last year, published a list of 70 economic activities defined as helping to cut greenhouse emissions and 68 activities that contribute to climate adaptation. In the letter Mowi writes that they acknowledge that fisheries and aquaculture are not included among these activities, but at the same time add that “…we believe that aquaculture and salmon farming should be included in the taxonomy already at this juncture because of their inherent greenness and substantial contribution to the climate goals”.

Mowi believes they also have unique knowledge of sustainability and best practices in aquaculture. That’s why the company offers expert assistance to the EU, in the form of sustainability director Catarina Martins, who they believe can help define future criteria for aquaculture in the sustainable economy platform.

Fearing negative impact
Mowi added that because the taxonomy is not an exhaustive list of economic activities in the European business community, there are many concerns related to activities that are not yet included in it.

Ola-Helge Hjetland.
PHOTO: Ole Alexander Saue/Medier24.no

“While we understand that these will be added gradually, we are concerned that not being included in the taxonomy at an early stage will have a negative impact on our industry,” Mowi writes, adding:

“Mowi proposes that the Commission develops a clear framework for guiding market participants and financial actors on how to handle non-classified activities, to ensure that no economic activities are incorrectly regarded as non-compliant simply because they are not yet included in the taxonomy”.

About 40,000 hearing inputs have been submitted but Mowi has not yet received feedback on his. Mowi’s consultation input has been signed by Communications Director Ola Helge Hjetland. In an email to SB, he wrote:

“The world relies on more food from the sea being produced in a sustainable and climate-friendly way. Therefore, it is important that aquaculture is recognised as a positive contributor and classified as green by the EU. The Norwegian authorities, industry organisations and companies must now together ensure that the aquaculture industry is included in the EU taxonomy and classified in a correct and fact-based manner,” said Hjetland.