UPDATE 18/6/15: SAI Global Assurances who carried out the audit of Deenish Salmon Farm have been in contact to say that a number of Environmental Pillar organisations were contacted during the consultation phase of the audit. The nature of this contact is not clear. We will update this when we know more.
The Environmental Pillar wishes to make clear to consumers and public that it rejects the awarding of an environmental certificate to Deenish Salmon farm by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
The Environmental Pillar, which is a coalition of 28 national environmental NGOs, has serious concerns about the lack of sufficient consultation before certifying the site.
At present we are unaware of any attempt to seek input from Irish environmental groups. A number of environmental groups have raised concerns about the impact of salmon farming at the site.
Any eco-label which fails to take into account the input of communities and environmental groups on the ground does not carry the support of the Environmental Pillar, Ireland’s coalition of environmental NGOs. Genuine stakeholder consultation – including communities, NGOs, and business – is the bedrock of sustainable development and without it these eco-labels are meaningless.
More worrying for the Environmental Pillar is the endorsement of this certification by an international environmental NGO the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The WWF does not have a presence in this country. Its endorsement of the ASC environment label without proper consultation could be seen as greenwashing.
The Environmental Pillar is calling on the WWF and ASC to withdraw the certification for Deenish Salmon Farm, which is owned by Marine Harvest Ireland, until these issues have been addressed.
Andrew St Ledger, a spokesperson for the Environmental Pillar said: “When a group like the ASC say that the fish you are eating is coming from a sustainable source they need to be damn sure they can stand over it. “What we are seeing here is a well-meaning but poorly managed auditing of this salmon farm. They have failed to consult all the stakeholders properly. “At best this is a case of incompetence but at worst it is a deliberate attempt to rubberstamp a business with environmental credentials and mislead the public. “Such valuable environmental awards should be granted to those proven to be genuinely sustainable, with equal inputs and participation from the social, environmental and economic stakeholders. “To do otherwise risks Ireland’s international reputation as a sustainable food producer. Should this practice continue it could have long term negative impacts for our environment and economy.” The Environmental Pillar is a national social partner that works to ensure sustainable development is incorporated into government policies and is made up of 28 national environment organisations.