How to reduce your salmon carbon footprint and become a net zero producer

It is vital to the long-term sustainability of our planet to reduce carbon emissions. Consumers are demonstrating their commitment to carbon-friendly options with their purchasing decisions. New technologies have created the potential for the salmon industry to reduce its carbon footprint and transition to net zero production. To realise this potential, innovation and cooperation along the entire value chain are necessary, beginning with feed.


First, what is ‘net zero’?  

Net Zero refers to achieving balance between the greenhouse gases emitted through activities and those taken away from the atmosphere. There are two key components to achieving carbon neutrality. The first and most obvious one is reducing the amount of greenhouse gases emitted through activities such as manufacturing.  The second is removing greenhouse gases that we have already emitted from the atmosphere, which is often referred to as carbon capturing.

For example, new technologies are opening innovative ways to capture and transform Co 2 and transform carbon into high-quality products. Deep Branch utilizing technology to transform carbon into a high-quality protein that can be used in salmon feed. These technologies are important because for certain fossil-fuel based industries, it will be extremely difficult to completely stop carbon emissions through operational activities. Technological development and companies’ commitment to reaching net zero will create exciting opportunities for the salmon industry to reduce their carbon emissions and become net zero protein producers. 


How can you measure your carbon footprint?

The first step in anyone’s net zero journey is to measure current carbon emissions. Measuring your carbon footprint allows you to identify your largest carbon source and opportunities within the value chain to decrease carbon emissions. The GHG protocol is a tool that many companies use to measure their emissions. The GHG protocol breaks a company’s carbon emissions into three separate scopes to make it easy for organisations to report, measure and improve their carbon emissions:   

  • Scope 1 – Scope 1 refers to all direct emissions from the companies’ own sources. For example, emissions from on-site energy or fuel used for company owned vehicles.  
  • Scope 2 – Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from purchased energy. For example, electricity purchased from a utility company.  
  • Scope 3 – Scope 3 incorporates all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain of operations. For example, for a farming company all emissions from their feed supplier would be accounted for in their scope 3 emissions.  

Breaking down emissions provides salmon farmers with the tools necessary to start their net zero journey. Farmers have direct control over Scopes 1 & 2 and therefore, can make immediate changes to start reducing emissions. However, Scope 3 demonstrates the importance of having strong partnerships with stakeholders both upstream and downstream of operations.


Reducing emission through Scopes 1 & 2

Over the past few years, there has been a heavy emphasis from companies to reduce their Scope 1 & 2 emissions. These emissions are direct results from organisations own operations, giving companies direct control over these emissions. For example, Scopes 1 & 2 can be reduced by:

  • Investing in infrastructure and equipment to reduce your energy consumption and increase efficiency.
  • Focus on switching or purchasing renewable energy sources rather than those that rely on fossil fuels.
  • Incentivizing your employees to use more sustainable methods of transport, such as public transport, bike, or carpooling.
  • Purchasing renewable energy credits.

Reducing Scope 1 & 2 emissions is a great place to start for any company beginning their net zero journey. Companies can implement new policies, practices and invest in new technologies to immediately reduce these emissions. The majority of salmon producers have successfully focused on reducing carbon emissions through Scopes 1 & 2, however, most carbon emissions are the result of Scope 3. Salmon farmers must start taking the necessary steps and implement strategies to reducing Scope 3 emissions.  


Reducing scope 3 emissions 

Scope 3 incorporates all indirect emissions that occur in the value chain and often account for anywhere between 65-95% of total carbon emissions for most companies. Reducing Scope 3 emissions are an essential component of achieving net zero, and the salmon industry is no exception with Scope 3 accounting for more than 80% of the carbon footprint for most farmers.

For a salmon producer, Scope 3 emissions include all emissions from their feed supplier, as well as emissions used to transport products to its final destination. Therefore, Scope 3 emissions are the most difficult to reduce as they require collaboration throughout the value chain and with all organizations involved in the operations process.

In salmon farming, feed alone can represent anywhere up to 80% of the total carbon footprint. This means that working in collaboration with your feed supplier is the single best way to start reducing Scope 3 emissions. Partnering with a feed supplier who has defined sustainability targets and sourcing policies that favour sustainable raw materials is a must and the first place all salmon farmers should start when implementing strategies to reduce carbon emissions.


Can salmon reach net zero?

Farmed salmon is already has one of the lowest carbon profiles of any animal protein available for customers. Relative to other animal proteins, salmon has a head start to achieve net zero production and establish itself the low carbon animal protein solution for customers.  

BioMar has set our goal to reduce carbon emissions by one third by 2030 and reach net zero by 2050. However, Scope 3 is not an isolated challenge and will require collaboration and strategic partnership across the entire industry. While BioMar can implement best practices, new business models and invest in new technologies to reduce carbon emission, reaching net zero will not be achieved without support from likeminded salmon farmers.

This demonstrates that the key to reaching net zero for the salmon industry is through partnership. New technologies and increased sustainability knowledge will present exciting opportunities for feed and farming companies alike to reduce their carbon footprint. But to reach net-zero both feed and farming companies must work together, define their sustainability targets and through strategic partnership, the salmon industry can achieve net zero.     


Achieving net zero is a strategic choice that requires collaboration and innovation throughout the entire value chain. With feed being responsible for 80% of the carbon emissions in the production process of salmon, partnering with feed supplier who shares you vision of sustainability is the best way to start your journey towards net zero today.