United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG's) - position paper

Guidance for IFFO members – January 2018


The seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were proposed at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro in 2012 to meet the urgent environmental, political and economic challenges facing the world. The SDG’s built on the Millenium Development Goals from 2000 to tackle poverty and can be summarised in the following graphic.

This structure was agreed in 2015 and implemented in 2016.

The most directly linked SDG to our industry is no. 14, Life Under Water, although there are also connections to 2, 3, 8, 12 and 13. See below for more details.

Each SDG has been broken into a number of categories for action, a structure developed by the Inter-Agency and Expert Group on SDG Indicators (IAEG-SDGs) and agreed to, as a practical starting point at the 47th session of the UN Statistical Commission held in March 2016. In the case of SDG 14, there are ten individual targets[1] with corresponding indicators.

Member states and intergovernmental organisations are working on delivering these goals and are seeking commitments and support from the private sector. An example would be IFFO member Cargill’s commitment[2] and a UN Oceans Conference held in New York from 5th – 9th June 2017. Further events are expected e.g. Sustainable Oceans Summit in Halifax, Canada, from 29th November 2017.

This document is intended to give an overview of the SDG’s and opportunities for action.

Relevance for IFFO members and the Marine Ingredients (MI) industry

The SDG’s are structured to allow specific commitments from stakeholders, with progress being against a common set of goals that allows comparison between different companies and other groups.

IFFO Members are already referencing the SDG’s. As well as the commitment by Cargill mentioned above, and their CSR report[3], the 2016 Nutreco Sustainability Report[4] has been restructured to adopt the SDG framework, allowing a better understanding of the company sustainability strategy.

With the increased competition from alternative feed ingredients, it is important that marine origin ingredients offer as many benefits to their users as possible. Demonstrating where MI’s are contributing to the sustainable development goals is an opportunity to add value and support customers in their own sustainability strategies. This should be seen as a base from which to consider further commitments.

The table in Appendix 1 takes each SDG and considers what contribution the Marine Ingredient industry might make. Contributions can be direct at the level of the MI industry, or indirect via the aquaculture sector given marine ingredients are an essential part of many aquaculture feeds.

What are other fish sectors doing?

There is little public information on the websites of GAA, NFI or other trade bodies but as this cuts across all fishing and fish farming, there is a need for some joined up action. IFFO are exploring opportunities with partner organisations.

Further reading

The website https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdgs provides a summary of all SDG’s. By clicking on individual SDG tiles or icons, an update of progress, targets, indicators and review events is available.



Contribution from the Marine Ingredient industry

Potential Future Action

  • Production of MI’s are often in developing world economies, providing employment opportunities and income to local communities.
  • Small scale artisanal fishers contribute raw material
  • The aquaculture industry is a significant employer in developing countries, particularly in rural areas.
  • Review small scale and artisanal fishing and opportunities to increase responsible supply into MI production.

  • Protein from farmed fish is more efficient in feed use, freshwater use and land use than any land based animal or vegetable protein.  MI production converts good quality, well managed species lacking a market into feed for more desirable species.
  • Communicate benefits of farmed fish protein to national and international policy makers

  • The benefits of EPA and DHA long chain Omega 3 fats are well documented and are primarily found in fish oil.
  • Support further research into the benefits of Omega 3 fats.

Providing training courses and sharing information at Members Meetings and Conferences

  • Request IFFO members to invest in local education.


Contribution from the Marine Ingredient industry

Potential Future Action

  • Increasing volumes of raw material for MI’s are sourced from fish processing by-products. In developing world economies where automation is limited, fish processing is often performed by female labour, providing work opportunities.
  • Request IFFO members to commit to gender equality policy.

  • Effluent and process water from MI production is treated before returning to the environment.
  • Aquaculture is a lower user of freshwater than farming of terrestrial based protein.
  • Introduce targets for freshwater use reduction
  • Outreach to regions where water is restricted, supporting recirculating aquaculture

  • IFFO members in Iceland are using geothermal energy to generate electricity. Factories are powered by electricity instead of fossil fuel.
  • Set targets for renewable energy use.

  • Aquaculture provides stable and secure employment opportunities in rural / developing world economies.
  • The aquaculture industry is demonstrating steady growth year on year and is expected to continue to increase.
  • Promote good labour practices and conditions through public commitments and company policy.


Contribution from the Marine Ingredient industry

Potential Future Action

  • Production of fish protein from capture of culture is low in carbon compared to other terrestrial proteins.
  • Significant investment has been made to supplement sources of long chain Omega 3 fatty acids from algae, bacteria and crops.
  • Express investment in R&D as a percentage of turnover. Highlight infrastructure investment e.g. cold storage capacity, logistics and fishing fleets.

Local community projects supported by IFFO members e,g, TASA http://www.tasa.com.pe/sustainability/sustainable-fishing/social-management.html#a


Show work in developing countries e.g. IFFO / GAA project to improve fishing standards in Thailand and Vietnam.

Orientated towards local government


Member companies producing Sustainability Reports, detailing progress e.g. TASA http://www.tasa.com.pe/sustainability/sustainability-report.html


Continued roll out of IFFO RS, investment in FIPs in SE Asia.



Contribution from the Marine Ingredient industry

Potential Future Action

Reductions  in energy use, carbon emissions

Continued reductions

Conserve and sustainably use marine resources. The main heading for our industry! Many examples of investing in science, commitment to responsible certification.

Further investment in management of low trophic level fisheries and multi-species tropical fisheries.

Orientated towards land farming and forestry

Not applicable

Work with NGO’s and civil society to raise environmental and social standards

Continued commitment



Contribution from the Marine Ingredient industry

Potential Future Action

  • Participate in Private Sector Mechanism at UN Committee on Food Security

Identify opportunities to work with other partners on pre-competitive issues.