PILLARS OF SUSTAINABILITY
The Terrasan Group adheres to three main pillars of sustainability, namely Environmental, Economic and Social. These pillars help the Group to build sustainable businesses that provide long-term employment to all our employees and assist in further developing and growing the industry. In terms of our economic sustainability, Terrasan is always working to maximise operational efficiencies and pursuing new opportunities to ensure the sustainability of our business. These actions assist us to continue creating wealth for our stakeholders; whether it be providing profits to shareholders, or contributing to the economy of each of our communities, and that of South Africa as a whole.
Terrasan is derived from the Latin words ‘terra” and “sano”, which means “healthy earth”. As an integral part of our business, we always strive to maintain a balance between our business practises, the environment and the people involved.
We are inspired by and in awe of nature, making every possible effort to operate in harmony with the ocean and the community in which we work. We always comply with environmental legislation and continuously improve the way we operate, from sustainable fishing practices, to the feed we give our animals, as well as how we handle our abalone and mussels, to using renewable energy sources. This focus on the environment is also reflected in our logo, which portrays the elements of water, earth and air that comprise our planet – perfectly combined into one icon that represents life.
Throughout the Terrasan Group there are numerous projects that aim to minimise, monitor or mitigate our reliance or impact on the environment.
Reduce Energy Consumption
Aqunion makes use of solar and hydroelectric power initiatives that improve its energy-efficiency in order to reduce the amount of energy generated from fossil fuels. Because abalone farms pump seawater ashore to keep the tank environment healthy, it is possible to generate hydroelectric power from the water that runs back to sea. As a result, Aqunion is able to reclaim 24% of the energy used to pump seawater ashore at its largest farm. In 2017, Aqunion installed a 55kW solar-panel system as a pilot in order to collect a year’s worth of data on the quantity of electricity generated. Following the success of this pilot, Aqunion is now considering installing a 940kW system to supply more of its needs. All equipment with a high electricity demand is monitored by sensors that measure and log electricity consumption. This system is used on a daily basis to identify faults that create high consumption, as well as identify areas in which Aqunion can further improve efficiency. Furthermore, a consumption audit is conducted on a monthly basis to ensure the right efficiencies are achieved.
Conserve Water and Reduce Water Pollution
Blue Ocean Mussels makes use of treated borehole water to clean its factory; reducing its consumption of fresh municipal water. Blue Ocean Mussels is also a founding and executive member of the Bivalve Shellfish Association of South Africa. BSASA, in conjunction with DAFF and the NRCS, is responsible for the South African Molluscan Shellfish Monitoring and Control Programme. This programme monitors Saldanha Bay continuously for pollution and other harmful outbreaks.
Reduce Waste and Pollution
Pollution prevention measures in the Terrasan Group include a range of activities such as placing tanks and containers with polluting substances on impermeable concrete surfaces to prevent seepage to groundwater. Other measures include bunding around tanks and hazardous storage areas, the systematic improvement of effluent quality, and more. The Group follows the international waste hierarchy which includes re-use, recycling and recovery (the extraction of useful materials from waste). In addition, we make use of local waste management contractors in our efforts to boost local enterprise development. All the Terrasan operations adhere to the legislative requirements for pollution control. In specific, West Point Processors has a valid Provisional Air Quality Licence and a Coastal Waters Discharge Permit. Aqunion’s farms, Whale Rock and Roman Bay, both have Coastal Waters Discharge Permits aimed at controlling, monitoring and auditing pollution.
We take food safety very seriously in order to ensure that every single product supplied by any of Terrasan Group’s investments is of the very highest standard. All our sites and our products adhere to stringent local and international quality and technical regulations and are either FSSC22000, ISO22000 or HACCP compliant as well as being regularly checked by the National Regulator of Compulsory Specifications (NRCS).
RESPONSIBLE FISHING PRACTICES
The Terrasan Group promotes responsible fishing practices through the code of conduct set out by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF). All our fisheries (which includes the management, catching, processing, and marketing of fish products) and aquaculture activities comply with government regulations, in particular fishing practices and the regulations and permit conditions through TAC (Total Allocated Catch). The Terrasan Group strongly stands against unregulated fishing.
Over 85% of all harvested product within the Terrasan Group’s investment companies are currently on the green list of the South African Sustainable Seafood Initiative (SASSI). In 2017, Pilchards was moved from green to orange on this list due to uncertainties regarding the health of this resource. The Terrasan Group ensures that all fish caught in the orange list is within government regulations to ensure the longevity of the species for years to come. In the past, our Diamond Coast Abalone subsidiary has worked in partnership with the University of Stellenbosch on the feasibility of abalone ranching as a viable form of replenishing abalone stock in the ocean. This constant exploration of new sustainable techniques is just one example of Terrasan’s absolute commitment and responsibility towards our oceans and the environment.
Responding to Environmental Pressures
The Terrasan Group is very aware of environmental pressures that may influence our many investments in the mariculture space and beyond. The impact of fishing and farming in our oceans are continuously monitored over the short and long term, and we work with all regulatory bodies to ensure research given is accurate and helps better sustain our resources for future generations to enjoy. With recent droughts in the Western Cape regions, our processing plant, West Point Processors, in St Helena Bay has been working with the government to investigate desalination plants in the area to alleviate the pressures of water usage. This is but one project the Terrasan Group is involved in to ensure our environment is taken care of.
The Terrasan Group is mindful of its effect on the immediate environment, especially the impact we have on our neighbours and communities.
The Terrasan Group consists of many operations that take place predominantly on the sea. As such, the Group has a responsibility to keep sea-based employees safe at all times, which wouldn’t be possible without the assistance of the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI). In 2017 alone, the NSRI was responsible for saving more than 1200 people from South African waters; highlighting the importance of supporting this organisation and their work. Terrasan, through some of its subsidiaries, is currently a Platinum Partner of the NSRI and is proud to be associated with the institute and their efforts to make our oceans safer.
Terrasan, through its investments, is responsible for creating over 1300 jobs in the areas surrounding our operations. Our responsible trading efforts extend to our footprint on the environment, as well as how we empower our people and stakeholders. Our businesses cover various training opportunities at all levels of the group with specific focus on skills programmes to develop our employees further and cultivate internal growth. We believe that the retention of productive and top-performing employees is critical to running a successful business, as well as for our sustainability. In accordance with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, we are committed to proper care for the health, safety and welfare of all our employees at work. We do so by providing a working environment that ensures all operations are carried out safely and by providing training and supervision as required for this purpose. Furthermore, we have on-site clinics at our processing facilities in St Helena Bay and Gansbaai, serviced by a registered nurse who provides health care and dispensing of medications for all staff members.
In line with Government’s national agenda, Terrasan and its subsidiaries are committed to B-BBEE and continue to build on good B-BBEE scores. This responsibility to transform the current business landscape in South Africa, along with our duty to be good corporate citizens, can be witnessed in many developments throughout the Group.
Through the Imbaza Mussel Farming Empowerment Project, Terrasan and Blue Ocean Mussels have helped with the intensive training and mentoring of the first six black-empowered mussel farmers in South Africa – offering ongoing support services and management advice. Imbaza was the first fully-commercial, black-owned mussel farm in South Africa. Within the first few years, Imbaza’s production has increased to 600 ton with an ultimate farm size of 1200 ton. What started as an Enterprise Development project for Terrasan, is now one the largest Aquaculture farms in South Africa by volume. This initiative, along with the employment opportunities in the factory and at sea, has created permanent jobs in the west-coast community and has ensured a better quality of life for their families.
The Terrasan Group’s empowerment efforts also extend to our most valuable asset: our employees. Accordingly, the Saldanha Foods Employee Trust was established in November 2013. This trust aims to address historical imbalances and enhance the Group’s contribution to transformation in the fishing industry by broadening the participation of historically disadvantaged employees. To achieve this goal, all qualifying employees of Saldanha Foods are beneficiaries of the employee trust – entitling them to share in an annual dividend which is paid based on the profitability of the Group. During the most recent pay-out, some 570 beneficiaries received payments from the trust.