Environmental issues pose one of the greatest challenges to the fisheries sector. Brim has spent a great deal of effort to gain an understanding, in digital format, of the environmental effects of the company and has embarked on targeted actions to reduce negative effects.
The freezer trawler Vigri was incorporated into Brim’s 2019 sustainability report, as were emissions due to the shipping of fresh and frozen groundfish products to foreign markets. Once figures have been adjusted for these two factors, the results show that CO2 emissions have reduced between years, from 64,156 tCO2e in 2018 to 54,417 tCO2e in 2019. One of the reasons for this is reduced catches due to a capelin catch failure.
Although fuel use in Iceland is at an historical high, this is not the case in the fisheries sector. Brim’s use of fuel has been reduced by 46% since 2005. The fuel use of vessels has been reduced by 35% and that of fish meal plants about 95%, as can be seen in the following graph. The fuel use of groundfish vessels has increased due to the freezer trawler Vigri.
Less fuel use results not least from the strong fisheries management system that has had the result of building up strong fish stocks. Fewer and more efficient vessels utilise fuel better than before; with the renewal of the fleet, Brim has completely discontinued the use of heavy fuel oil and at the same time increased the use of more eco-friendly energy sources such as connecting vessels to land-based electricity and heating utilities when they dock. The same applies to the company’s fish meal plants, which were previously run on fossil fuels but are now for the most part run on electricity. This is also true of other processing plants on land, which have long been run on electricity and have been developed to fully utilise all raw materials, minimise waste and generate increased value at the same time.
Brim has steadily been working on mapping the environmental effects of the company in past years and has continued to develop its environmental dashboard which digitally shows all the main aspects of the environmental issues of the company and thereby the results of the actions intended to decrease its environmental footprint.
In order to ensure the reliability and data frequency of the environmental results of Brim, environmental information is collected automatically from the main operations and suppliers of the company. Thus, it is possible to monitor the benefits of individual actions in environmental issues.
The pollution of the sea is a direct threat to the results of the fisheries sector in Iceland. Brim will seek any means to reduce pollution from its own operations and continue to develop its operation toward sustainable fishing and processing.
The fisheries resources in the waters around Iceland are renewable provided that they are harvested in a sustainable manner. The excellent success of the Icelandic fisheries sector in environmental matters is, therefore, not least due to its sustainable use of fish stocks. The scientific precautionary approach of determining catch rules for each species of fish is the basis of the catch quota. Fish stocks are in better shape since the adoption of the current fishing management system. It is easier to plan fishing operations, catches per day spent at sea have increased significantly and fishing trips are shorter. Sustainable fishing has encouraged innovation, as more attention has been paid to the better utilisation of the catch and solutions sought to create greater value and reduce costs.
Brim takes an active part in collaboration involving the sustainable use of fish stocks, quality and responsibility with respect to the environment and society. The goal of Brim’s participation is to support the continued strengthening of fish stocks, progress in the company and the sector, increased collaboration and to secure market access.
By systematically recording the environmental aspects of Brim’s operation, the company gains a better view of conditions in real time and maintains an accurate overview of the development of the issues so that it is clear where improvements can be made. Brim has initiated an extensive environmental project under the title Cleaner Value Chain in Fisheries.
All environmental information relating to the operation of the company is digitally streamed from its place of origin, whether at sea or on land, into an environmental database. The database makes the information accessible to the company’s responsible parties for the purpose of using the information systematically for actions that have the purpose of reducing the environmental impact. A proportion of the software ensures that Brim can fulfil environmental legislation as current and can also provide the authorities with access for digital monitoring. Although the software was brought into use in June 2016, it will continue to be developed, and its adoption within the company is presently in full swing.
The project includes the following main aspects:
This involves the use of technological knowledge to develop at Brim new and improved processes that will revolutionise the ability of the company to manage its operations in tune with goals in the field of environmental and energy management.
Fuel use by the vessels of Brim has been significantly reduced following mergers with a number of fisheries companies since 1985. The restructuring has meant that well over 10 vessels have been removed from operation. Brim operated eight vessels in 2019, one less than in 1985, despite all the mergers with other companies after the merger of BÚR and Ísbjörninn. These mergers have meant that the company’s quota has almost tripled even though the number of vessels has not increased. There have been comparable developments among other fisheries companies throughout Iceland.
Extensive technological advancements have been made over recent years, and considerable new knowledge and expertise has been gained in the fisheries industry. In addition, there has been considerable progress in fish-finding technology, developments of fishing gear, fishing techniques and the handling of catches on board vessels. For these reasons, and the improved condition of fish stocks and larger vessels, the catch-per-unit effort (CPUE) has almost tripled during the period.
The following image shows the fuel use of Brim over the past four years:
The greatest environmental impact of the operation of Brim is due to the fuel use of the fleet. In recent years, the company has systematically worked on analysing carbon footprints from fishing to processing, together with increased use of environmentally friendly ships’ fuels.
The total use of the fleet during the year was almost 22 million litres, which emitted 60 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Most of the vessels, or 88%, used vessel fuel with a low sulphur content. The use of MD fuel was discontinued by the end of the first quarter, and the freezer trawler Vigri RE, which was added to the fleet at the beginning of the year, discontinued its use of heavy fuel oil. All Brim vessels now use MGO or DMA fuels which have a sulphur content of 0.1%.
Total emissions from Brim vessels during the year, catching 139.5 thousand tonnes, corresponds to 62 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalents. This is approximately 87% of the total emissions of the company, which is 71 thousand tonnes.
The share of the wetfish trawlers in these 62 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalents is 16 thousand tonnes, or approximately one-fourth. When the energy intensity of fishing is measured, i.e. how many litres of fuel are required to catch one tonne of fish, the wetfish trawlers are seen to use 238 litres. This is 670 kg of CO2 equivalents per tonne.
The share of the freezer trawler in carbon emissions during the year was more than 28 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalents. Energy intensity for fisheries on freezer trawlers is somewhat greater, or 351 litres for each tonne. This is approximately 1,000 kg of CO2 equivalents per caught tonne.
The share of the freezer trawler in carbon emissions during the year was more than 17 thousand tonnes of CO2 equivalents. The energy intensity of fishing was 69 litres of fuel per caught tonne, or 195 kg of CO2.
The company’s fish meal plants, previously run on fossil fuel, are now for the most part electrified, and every effort is made to use electricity instead of fuel when availability allows. The fuel use of fish meal plants decreased from 973 thousand litres in 2018 to 347 litres in 2019, a decrease that can be traced to a capelin catch failure. Of the total volume of fuel, 55% was MGO fuel (marine gas oil) and 45% DMA fuel (distillate marine A). Both fuels have a 0.1% sulphur content.
Fuel use per produced tonne of fish meal from the company’s plants decreased as well and is at present 4.6 litres/tonne.
The goal of the company is to use environmentally friendly fuel. Through agreements for competitive electricity prices to fish meal plants, we can expect the share of electricity use to increase even more at the expense of fuel use in the future.
Landsnet, Rarik, HS Veitur and Félag íslenskra fiskmjölsframleiðenda (FÍF) have agreed to encourage increased use of renewable energy in the fish meal and oil processing industry in Iceland. The declaration of intent that these parties signed in 2018 states that the goal is to make fish meal and oil processing even more environmentally friendly by promoting increased use of electricity in the processing and thereby reduce the use of energy sources that emit greater carbon footprints and at the same time, increase the likelihood that the goals of the Paris Convention and the action plans of the Icelandic government as regards climate goals will be achieved.
Icelandic fish meal and oil processing manufacturers have, over past decades, used both fossil fuels and electricity in their operation. During recent years, fish meal manufacturers have purchased surplus electricity, i.e. cheaper electricity in exchange for the understanding that transmission and distribution will be cut off if needed elsewhere. Due to the limited security of transmission and distribution in the electrical system, insecure availability of electricity and fluctuating demands from fish meal processors, fossil fuels have been a necessary back-up source of power in the operation and have replaced electricity when needed. To achieve full electrification, however, significant investments will have to be made in the electricity transmission system in Iceland.
Fuel use of vehicles and equipment is insignificant when compared to that of vessels and plants. It increased during the period between 2018 and 2019 from 42,179 litres to 47,861 litres. The same number of vehicles was used in both years, or a total of twenty-two.
Brim plans to increase the use of electric vehicles and hybrid cars over the next few years. At the same time, the company has installed charging stations for the vehicles of the company, its employees and guests.
In 2019, the electricity of Brim was 50,231,379 kWh, or 22% less than in 2018, when the use was 64,333,016 kWh. The reason can be traced to the reduced electricity use of fish meal plants due to the capelin catch failure.
All electricity purchased by Brim is renewable energy. It is important, therefore, to use electricity instead of fossil fuels whenever possible. The main opportunity that Brim has in this respect is to use electricity instead of fossil fuels in the production of fish meal. In addition, there is the possibility of connecting all the company’s fishing vessels to land-based electricity when they are tied up in port.
Work on the renewal of the quay at the fish processing plant at Norðurgarður was completed in 2018. The quay is a steel quay 120 m long and 20 m wide with a concrete surface containing a snow-melting system that uses the runoff water from the fish processing plant of Brim.
This change greatly improves all the port facilities that the company’s wetfish vessels need. The quay that preceded it was an old wooden pier that had seen better days. The new and larger quay ensures access to new and powerful land connections to electricity and hot water. Now all the wetfish trawlers of the company can connect to environmentally friendly energy when the vessels are in port at Norðurgarður.
The facilities at Ísbjörninn are connected to environmentally friendly power sources which the freezer trawlers use, but not to hot water. In Akranes, there is both electricity and hot water for vessel land connections. No land connection for electricity or hot water is available in Vopnafjörður.
As of 2015, Brim, in co-operation with Klappir, the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Environment Agency of Iceland, has participated in the development and adoption of electronic administration on board its vessels. To date, mandatory registrations on board vessels as regards environmental effects have always been on paper. These include registrations of waste disposal, fuel use and the use of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in a paper logbook according to the MARPOL Convention of the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). The goal is to turn these books into e-books and thereby take a large step forward in the field environmental management.
Brim can now take advantage of the data stored in the logbooks for environmental management and can gain an overall picture of all its vessels’ environmental aspects, as well as remotely monitor registrations. Regulators, such as the Icelandic Coast Guard and the Environment Agency of Iceland, can now undertake their statutory surveillance role electronically and thereby minimise the cost and effects that monitoring registrations has on the operation of vessels. Data from the logbooks is streamed to port authorities who are responsible for their statutory role of accepting delivery of waste.
At present, all Brim vessels have digital logs to register pollution factors according to MARPOL Annex I-VI. To ensure accurate registration of fuel purchases for the vessels, a digital order system is used that is connected to MARPOL Annex VI.
Brim has three fully equipped sorting stations for, on the one hand, general waste and, on the other hand, for recyclable raw materials. These three sorting stations, Bragginn in Vopnafjörður, Kistan in Akranes and Svanurinn in Reykjavík, are fully equipped sorting stations where digital solutions are used as regards the recording of both general waste and recyclable material.
The company sorts waste, whether generated at sea or on land, and recycles to the extent possible. Brim has, in recent years, organised extensive sorting and environmental operations with the goal of minimising the volume of the company’s waste sent to landfills. The waste sorting project began ten years ago in Vopnafjörður on the initiative of the employees, and at present, waste sorting stations are operated in all the company’s operating units. These accept waste from both the vessels and from land-based operations. The proportion of sorted waste in 2019 was 79%.
Brim regards sorted waste as raw materials for other processing. Methods to recycle sorted waste are always being developed. Almost all plastic generated by Brim today is recycled, for instance.
Information on waste disposal continued to be streamed electronically into the environmental records of the company during the year by executing all daily disposal of waste electronically using smart scales and smart containers.
A “smart container” is used for general waste, which is sent for the most part to landfills. All waste put in the container is registered to the department responsible for that waste. The container is equipped with scales that return information on the volume of waste to the environmental database of the company.
All recyclable raw materials are sorted in accordance with a defined sorting system. Each recyclable category is weighed by “smart scales” and labelled with its processing path in the environmental database of the company.
The environmental database of Brim contains detailed information of all waste records, i.e. volume, type, processing path, disposal method and origin of general waste.
Waste was sorted into 31 categories in 2019. The main recycling categories are pure iron, corrugated paper and other paper, wood and mixed metals. In addition, there are two categories for general waste, i.e. general waste and coarse waste.
The first smart container was used in August 2017 in Kistan, Brim’s sorting station in Akranes. Smart containers and smart scales had been installed in all Brim sorting stations by the beginning of 2018. Brim employs specially trained employees who work under the best conditions in the operating units of the company at specially equipped sorting stations.
Hampiðjan accepts all fishing gear waste from Brim. The crews of the company’s vessels or the employees of the sorting stations cut off various parts that can be reused. Hampiðjan cuts off the usable parts that remain. The unusable material sections are set apart and sent to landfills in Iceland. Hampiðjan sends all recyclable fishing gear waste overseas, where it is sold to foreign recycling stations.
The recycling stations wash the fishing gear waste and grind it into small particles that are then sorted automatically. The final product is raw material used to make plastics. Trawl wires are chopped into ground cables that Brim reuses.
Hampiðjan works closely with Fisheries Iceland (Samtök fyrirtækja í sjávarútvegi, SFS) and submits to SFS figures on the exported volume of fishing gear waste from Brim and other fisheries companies. SFS then forwards the information to the Recycling Fund according to an agreement with the Fund.
SFS has an agreement with the Recycling Fund under which the association is responsible for ensuring that waste fishing gear made of synthetic materials is recycled. At the same time, authorisations for exemptions from recycling fees levied on fishing gear made from synthetic materials are utilised.
There were no mishaps during the year where fishing gear was lost at sea.
|Disposal of fishing gear waste in 2019||Unit|
|Type of fishing gear||kg||Recycled and reused||Sent to landfill||Total|
|Purse seine PA Multifilament||18.000||9.840||27.840|
|Net material PA Multifilament||2.000||-||2.000|
|Net rods and cables PES/PE/PA||-||17.620||17.620|
All Brim vessels regularly produce waste oil that is sent for recycling to Olíudreifing ehf. and Skeljungur hf. Olíudreifing and Skeljungur are contractors for the Recycling Fund for the collection and recycling of waste oil according to an agreement with the Recycling Fund, and the operation is funded through a recycling fee that is levied on imported lubricants according to law.
Waste oil results for the most part from lubricant renewals in the engines of the vessels and also, to a lesser extent, from fuel oils and hydraulic fluids. It is recycled and sold as factory fuel. This waste oil is collected by the vessels into a special tank located on board the vessels and is managed by the engineer. The tank is emptied as needed into a tanker that the recycling entity sends to the vessel when the tank needs to be emptied.
The object of the transport policy of Brim is to encourage its employees to use eco-friendly, economic and healthy modes of travel. In addition, the company wishes to be a role model by increasing employee awareness of eco-friendly transportation and at the same time, making a contribution toward improving the environment and the health of its employees and others.
The company, therefore, offers a transport agreement to employees who have been employed for three months or who are permanently employed and undertake to use eco-friendly transport methods to and from work, e.g. by walking, cycling, running or using public transport. The agreement is effective for twelve months as of its signing and may be terminated by either party with one month’s notice.
At the close of 2019, 204 Brim employees had entered into a transport agreement and received transport grants or had a bus card from the company. The year before, 2018, this number was 172.
Shipping of marine products to overseas markets is a major part of Brim’s operation. Work has been carried out during the year to identify the company’s carbon footprint due to the shipping of fresh fish and frozen groundfish products to buyers in overseas markets.
The exported volume of frozen and fresh groundfish products in 2019 was 24,729 tonnes. Total emissions from the export amounted to 4,102 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, which is almost 6% of the company’s total emissions.
Information on the carbon footprint is now included in the environmental results. As a result, they lead to an increase in CO2 equivalents for the year 2019 when compared to 2018.
|Name||Quantity tonnes||Quantity kg %||tCO2e||tCO2e%||Kg CO2e per tonne product|
|Greater Silver Smelt||865||3,5%||2||0,1%||3|
*The table shows average calculations per kg. CO2 equivalents of total volume of exported groundfish. The carbon footprint of individual species, however, changes according to transport method and market area.
**The calculators of Eimskip, Samskip, Icelandair, Pier2Pier.com and sea-distances.org are used to calculate the estimated CO2e.
It is interesting to examine the carbon footprint of individual fish species. The largest carbon footprints are from the transportation of cod, redfish and saithe from the processing plant of the company to the customers. Exports of these three species amounted to 21,951 tonnes, or 88.7% of the total exports of Brim’s groundfish products in 2019.
If the carbon footprint of these species is calculated for each kg CO2 equivalents per tonnes of product, this reveals that cod accounts for an average of 316 kg, redfish for 126 kg and saithe for 80kg. Different market areas and the transportation of products by ship or air freight have an impact on the carbon footprint.
The export of 24,729 tonnes of Brim groundfish products emits, on average, approximately 166 kg of CO2 equivalents per tonne of product
|Products frozen at sea||Ship||Air cargo||Total|
|CO2 tonnes %||100%||100%|
|Products frozen on land||Skip||Samtals|
|CO2 tonnes %||100%||100%|
|CO2 tonnes %||74%||26%||100%|
|Total quantity in tonnes||23.386||1.343||24.729|
|Total quantity in %||95%||5%||100%|
|Total CO2 equivalents in tonnes||1.405||2.697||4.102|
|Total CO2 equivalents in %||34,3%||65,7%||100%|
*Emission of greenhouse gases is usually measured in tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents (tCO2e) Brim’s data shows this measurement unit in kilograms. A carbon dioxide equivalent is a unit of measurement that describes the volume of carbon dioxide that has the same GWP (Global Warming Potential) as a specific mix of other greenhouse gases. For instance, methane is equivalent to (CH₄) 28 CO2 equivalents and nitrogen oxide (N₂O) to 265 CO2 equivalents.
**The calculators of Eimskip, Samskip, Icelandair, Pier2Pier.com and sea-distances.org are used to calculate the estimated CO2e.
The proportion of total export by ship was 95% during the year, or 23,385 tonnes of products. The carbon footprint for these exports was 1,405 tonnes of CO2 equivalents, or 34.3% of the total emissions from transportation.
During the same period, air freight was 1,343 tonnes, or 5% of the total exported volume, and the emission of CO2 equivalents was 2,697 tonnes. This is 65.7% of the total carbon footprint for the transportation of Brim’s products to overseas markets.
It is quite clear that exports by ship are much more environmentally friendly than by air freight.
Brim requested the engineering firm Efla to prepare a report on CO2 emissions resulting from the travel of the employees of the processing plant and the offices to and from work in Örfirisey island. Travel attributed to employees was categorised according to post codes and the assumption made that each employee at Norðurgarður (offices, processing plant and freezer storage) would travel to and from work five days a week for 48 weeks a year. No other travel undertaken by employees during working hours was included, although it is assumed that other travel balances out, for example, other days when the employee does not come to work, e.g. due to illness.
In order to estimate the emission of CO2 from the operation of Brim, information on vehicle types was collected and an assessment made of the average fuel consumption of each vehicle. The range of vehicle types as regards energy source, i.e. petrol, diesel and electricity, was estimated according to figures provided by the Transport Authority, and it was assumed that figures for the country as a whole were descriptive of the private vehicles of the employees of Brim.
Thereafter, information was collected on the emission standards of these three energy sources, together with their density. It is assumed that there are no CO2 emissions from the use of electric cars.
According to this methodology, the emission was 199 tCO2e in 2018 and 173 tCO2e in 2019. These statistics have been included in the environmental results for the first time.
The image shows the residency of employees according to post codes
The environmental results below contain an overview of the main aspects of environmental issues at Brim. The data includes all the operations of Brim and its subsidiary Ögurvík, with the exception of cases where the subsidiaries share sorting stations with Brim.
The methodology used to define its own value chain and its pollution factors is based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol.
|Total carbon footprint||tCO2e||71.278||64.156||60.198|
|Energy due to the use of fossil fuels||kWh||249.982.922||244.186.930||243.089.969|
|Energy from hot water for building heating||kWh||13.866.060||13.608.598||16.155.210|
|Total energy use||kWh||314.080.361||322.128.544||322.152.549|
|Vessel fuel use||Litres||21.754.487||21.301.291||19.792.119|
|Fuel use, fish meal plant||Litres||347.982||973.444||1.052.625|
|Fuel use of vehicles and equipment||Litres||47.861||42.179||60.313|
|Total fuel use||Litres||22.150.330||22.316.914||20.905.057|
|Use of potable water|
|Total water use||m³||963.004||932.997||1.093.343|
|Total volume of waste||kg||1.028.549||986.414||1.126.673|
|Organic waste from production processes||-||40.212||144.558||131.186|
|General waste from operations||-||938.355||802.346||835.667|
|Whereof sorted waste||-||740.775||609.249||652.603|
|Whereof unsorted waste||-||197.580||193.097||183.064|
|General operations waste to landfill||-||384.737||297.217||244.547|
|Proportion of sorted waste from operations||%||79%||76%||78%|
|Operations waste to recycling||-||553.618||505.129||591.120|
|Proportion of recycled operations waste*||%||59%||63%||71%|
|*This shows how well the recycling entities are able to utilise sorted waste from Brim. If the recycling entity is able to utilise all sorted waste for recycling, this proportion should be as high as the proportion of sorted operating waste.|
|Total volume of printed paper||Pages||166.642||173.656||184.275|
|Whereof colour printed||%||56%||58%||71%|
|Whereof black/white printed||%||44%||42%||29%|
|Whereof printed on both sides||%||28%||29%||23%|
|Wetfish trawler catches||tonnes||22.410||29.302||24.140|
|Pelagic vessel catches||tonnes||88.725||119.950||109.281|
|Freezer trawler catches||tonnes||28.378||17.836||19.039|
|Fleet fuel use|
|Wetfish trawler fuel use||Litres||5.708.210||6.796.681||5.956.214|
|Fuel use / caught tonnes (CT)||L/CT||238||231||243|
|GHG emissions of wetfish trawlers||tCO2e||16.113||18.865||16.221|
|GHG emissions / caught tonnes (CT)||tCO2e/CT||0.67||0.64||0.67|
|Fuel use of pelagic vessels||Litres||6.144.762||8.194.585||6.463.549|
|Fuel use / caught tonnes (CT)||L/CT||69||68||59|
|GHG emissions from pelagic vessels||tCO2e||17.288||22.746||18.356|
|GHG emissions / caught tonnes (CT)||tCO2e/CT||0.19||0.19||0.17|
|Freezer trawler fuel use||Litres||9.959.015||6.310.025||7.372.356|
|Fuel use / caught tonnes (CT)||L/CT||351||354||387|
|GHG emission of freezer trawlers||tCO2e||28.392||17.515||20.525|
|GHG emissions / caught tonnes (CT)||tCO2e/CT||1.00||0.98||1.08|
|Total fleet fuel use||Litres||21.811.987||21.301.291||19.792.119|
|Total GHG emissions||tCO2e||61.793||59.126||55.102|
|Total turnover||EUR million||271.2||210.7||217.3|
|Number of man-years||No. of man-years||798||773||839|
|Total carbon tax||ISK million||226||206||128|
|Investment in Sustainability||ISK million||79||429||210|
|Number of structures||No.||23||23||26|
|Size of structures||m2||54.174||54.172||59.394|
|Number of vessels in operation on average during year||No.||8||8||9|
|Whereof wetfish trawlers||-||3||4||4|
|Whereof freezer trawlers||-||3||2||3|
|Whereof pelagic trawlers||-||2||2||2|
|Number of vehicles||No.||22||22||20|
|Whereof electric cars||-||3||3||3|
|Whereof hybrid cars||-||1||3||2|
|Violations of environmental laws||yes/no||no||no||no|
|Environmental management system||yes/no||yes||yes||yes|
|Contracts that contain provisions on environmental issues||No.||17||17||13|