Home » World Food Day » How collaboration can drive sustainable change in the food industry

Sophie Ryan

CEO, Global Salmon Initiative (GSI)

To ensure everyone has access to healthy and sustainable food, industry competitors must work together. By knowledge-sharing, they can drive change at speed and scale.

With the global population projected to increase by nearly 2 billion in the next 30 years, and with the climate crisis hampering food production, global food systems are under strain like never before.

Mitigating crises with sustainable food

The challenge isn’t simply to make sure everyone has ‘enough’ food, explains Sophie Ryan, CEO of Global Salmon Initiative (GSI). What ends up on people’s plates needs to be healthy, nutritious and sustainable — for that, food systems need to change drastically at speed and scale. “We must find ways to produce more while using less and have the least possible impact on the environment,” she explains.

GSI is an initiative formed by leading stakeholders in the salmon farming sector, each pledging to work collaboratively to address food systems challenges like reducing carbon footprint and making a positive difference to people and the planet.

Despite being competitors, they
knew they had to work together.

Improving best practices and enhancing transparency

By sharing knowledge, members can improve best practices, enhance industry transparency and drive innovations along the supply chain to strengthen environmental performance. That’s important because salmon that is sustainably fished or farmed is rich in micronutrients and macronutrients, such as omega-3 fatty acids, which have been scientifically proven to support optimal heart and brain health and has one of the lowest greenhouse gas profiles of all animal protein sources.

Collaborating to establish standards

For this to work, collaboration is key. “Our members realised that they faced a shared challenge of improving their sustainability performance and reputation for environmental stewardship,” says Ryan. “Despite being competitors, they knew they had to work together.”

In the past decade, GSI has published annual Sustainability Reports documenting industry progress against 15 environmental and social metrics — data that has been used as an industry benchmark to hold members accountable; identify areas for improvement; recognise where progress has been made and the opportunities to learn from each other. This knowledge-sharing model is now being trialed in other sectors — across seafood and beyond. “We need to be united — farmers, retailers, consumers, scientists and policymakers — to ensure that everyone has access to healthy and sustainable food from a resilient food system,” insists Ryan.

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