As one of the world’s largest buyers of seaweed, DuPont Nutrition & Health (DuPont N&H) works to ensure its products are produced in ways that protect the ecosystems and communities in which the business operates. To mark World Oceans Day, DuPont N&H today announced a unique new seaweed program that will guide seaweed farmers and harvesters toward the adoption of more sustainable practices. Developed in collaboration with the Anderson Cabot Centre for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium, the program is the first sustainable seaweed program specifically for the hydrocolloid industry.
‘Seaweed is one of the principal raw materials in the hydrocolloid industry, and our goal is to see these sustainable management practices implemented worldwide,’ says Erick Ask seaweed development manager, DuPont Nutrition & Health. ‘Some would call this goal ambitious, but we want to help educate all seaweed farmers and harvesters to develop a working knowledge of sustainable practices and enhance their ability to be good stewards of their farms and seaweed beds, upon which they depend for their livelihoods and their family’s future.’
Designed to assure the environmental and social criteria of sustainability and bring transparency throughout the complex supply chain, the standards will help preserve the environment as well as conditions for the seaweed producers. In collaboration with Anderson Cabot Centre scientists, DuPont N&H developed the standards to strive to ensure the most environmentally friendly practices are followed and seaweed producers in every corner of the world receive fair treatment and work safely.
The Anderson Cabot Centre for Ocean Life at the New England Aquarium was the ideal partner to develop the program. The organisation previously worked with seafood processing and retailing companies to create the Fisheries and Aquaculture Solutions Program, which helps to develop sustainable practices around seafood sourcing.
Chief scientist and vice president of the Anderson Cabot Centre for Ocean Life John Mandelman, Ph.D., says: ‘Improving the environmental performance of seaweed has cascading benefits for coastal communities and habitats as well as for species far beyond seaweed. In taking a science-based approach to both create and continually improve these guidelines, we hope to make a difference in sustainability across the entire seaweed extract market.’
DuPont N&H is implementing the Sustainable Seaweed Program first in Norway and Iceland, eventually expanding the program to other regions where seaweeds are sourced. Additionally, employees from DuPont N&H seaweed processing plants and blending facilities are collecting trash and other debris along shorelines on four continents in recognition of World Oceans Day. The cleanup efforts represent a small contribution to the much larger need for corporations around the world to join in the preservation and protection of the ocean, one of earth’s most valuable resources.
‘This is just a continuation of our journey,’ Ask says. ‘We’ve always been a leader in developing industry-wide practices, from inventing aquaculture of carrageenan seaweed in the Philippines nearly 50 years ago to the implementation of biology-based management of alginate seaweed in Norway over 50 years ago. It’s what we do. It’s in our DNA.’
World Oceans Day is an annual observation that takes place around the world on 8 June to honour, help protect and conserve the world’s oceans.