I am delighted to introduce our seventh sustainability report which reflects the efforts of Oceana’s people and a multitude of partners in driving our core purpose of efficiently converting fishing rights into shared value.
In particular, the report addresses the contribution we make to society – responding to pressing social needs and environmental challenges.
Reflecting on our 100-year history provides a clear insight regarding our journey to corporate citizenship: sustainability is not the sum of the contributions we make to the local tax base or communities. Rather it lies in our ongoing engagement and response to the critical debates at the nexus of resources, rights and responsibilities.
The biggest challenge in South Africa – and globally, in the face of the fourth industrial revolution – is jobs. In some areas, such as at our St Helena Bay and Laaiplek cannery and fishmeal facilities, Oceana has been able to provide employment for multiple generations of families. Providing employment also comes with responsibilities. Given persistent levels of inequality and exclusion in national and global economies, questions of who we employ, who we train and advance, and who we procure from, are also critical to our business. Localisation and transformation remain cornerstones of our business strategy.
Our core purpose does not seek only to convert fishing rights into value; it requires us to do it efficiently. Reduction of energy and water use, waste, emissions and carbon footprint are becoming more entrenched in our operational mind-set. Given persistent drought conditions and trends anticipated from a changing climate, we invested in desalination plants at St Helena Bay and Laaiplek, enabling us to produce up to 1.4-million litres of potable water per day and contributing to the water security of neighbouring communities.
Sustainability requires a culture that acts on a clear link between business goals and the broader context that shapes them. With 100 years of history behind us, we will continue to engage with these debates, reflecting on the value we deliver and seeking outcomes that serve all stakeholders.
Let us continue making a difference for generations to come.
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations issued a special alert in February 2018, stating that reduced harvests in several areas of Southern Africa as a result of increased water stress, are foreseen to intensify food insecurity in 2018, increasing the number of people in need of assistance. The fisheries sector is crucial to improving food security and human nutrition and has an increasingly important role in the fight against hunger, as articulated in the 2030 Agenda. Canned fish is a particularly cost-effective option. As a significant producer of this affordable, low- footprint, healthy source of protein to lower-income consumers in South Africa and other African countries, we believe that we play an important role in contributing towards food security
The majority (80%) of our harvested commercial fishing rights by volume are on the green list of the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI) (see table). These species have been assessed as the most sustainable choices, coming from the healthiest and most well-managed fish populations.
This year, horse mackerel and pilchard both retained orange listing. We continue to engage with industry bodies, government officials and other stakeholders in efforts to improve the sustainability of these resources, including through participating in the development of the WWF-SA/DAFF Horse Mackerel Conservation Improvement Project. West Coast rock lobster (WCRL) remains in the red category, reflecting concerns regarding the decline in the health of the population and the impact of poaching and ecosystem decline.
Our hake operation retained its Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) chain of custody certification, considered the world’s most rigorous eco-labelling initiative for fishing. This year, our five fishmeal operations once again retained their certification in terms of the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil organisation (IFFO) Global Standard for Responsible Supply (IFFO-RS).