Youngs focuses on carbon footprint reduction

By Jess Halliday

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Carbon footprint, Carbon dioxide

UK seafood producer Young's has begun a programme of initiatives to
reduce the carbon footprint of its business, and is emphasising
that it is acutely aware of environmental concerns besides
sustainable sourcing of fish.

As a seafood company, Young's says its key environmental priority is for marine resources and responsible fisheries. It works with the Marine Stewardship Council, and recently published its Ten Principles for Responsible Fish Procurement.​ But global warming, to which greenhouse gas emissions contribute, is also a cause for concern, not least because global warming impacts on oceans and movement of fish populations. The company has now declared the implementation of a "programme of initiatives"​ to decrease its carbon footprint - directly, with its business partners, and throughout its supply chain. A spokesperson for the company told that the company is not yet disclosing details of the programme, but that its targets are likely to be made public early next year. She said that today's announcement was made in the light of an article by the BBC today about the company's change in its system for processing Scottish langoustine. Last year it switching from machine-peeling in the country of origin to hand-peeling in Thailand. This necessitates a round-trip for the produce of more than 27,300 km by sea. The peeled langoustine are then breaded in the UK, and distributed to supermarkets where they are sold as scampi. This has attracted criticism from environmental groups. But making the change, in March the company agreed to work with The Carbon Trust to review certain aspects of its global operations, and a review of the impact of langoustine-peeling in Thailand was the first on the table. The review was conducted by Enviros Consulting. The consultancy evaluated the change in carbon dioxide emissions (CO2e) brought about by the new practice. It took into account all CO2 sources: energy use, transportation, waste and refrigeration leakage. The company has published just the executive summary of the report on its website, in which it says the evaluation showed no net increases in CO2e had occurred. However, it says that when the accuracy of the information used for the calculations is taken into account, under extreme circumstances the CO2e effect could swing either way. There could be a net reduction in annual CO2e emissions of up to 292 tonnes, or an increase of up to 229 tonnes. Young's provided data, together with CO2e conversion factors researched by Enviros, to The Carbon Trust. The body agreed that the methodology used by Enviros and the results produced were technically sound. Greenpeace is unconvinced by the report, however. The environmental group's Willie McKenzie is quoted by the BBC as saying: "They cover this up and distract it by saying it's carbon neutral, but in truth this is about minimising costs and maximising profits." No information about the relative costs of peeling langoustine in Thailand, as opposed to Scotland, has been released. At the time the decision to change peeling-location and revert to hand-peeling was announced, Young's said that it was to boost product quality. It said that hand-peeling cannot be economically carried out in the UK. The decision resulted in the loss of around 120 jobs.

Related topics: Processing & Packaging

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