Look down at your plate. Did you know that the proteins you put on your plate require an incredible amount of energy to get there? In fact, all foods we eat have a climate impact. A recent New York Times interactive illustrates food production accounting for one-fourth of all Green House Gas (GHG) emissions.
The four biggest ways that in which food production contributes to global warming are:
- Deforestation – When forests are cleared to make room for farms and livestock, the process requires large machinery. That machinery then emits carbon into the atmosphere.
- Animal Digestion – When cows, sheep, and goats digest their food, they release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.
- Animal Manure – Manure and rice paddies are big methane sources.
- Farm Machinery – Fossil fuels are used to operate farm machinery, make fertilizer, and ship food, all of which generate emissions.
When it comes to how much the environment is impacted by food product, not all foods have the same environmental cost. Meat and dairy account for roughly 14.5 percent of these GHG emissions. That’s roughly the same amount as the emissions from all the cars, trucks, airplanes, and ships combined in the world today. Among the highest are beef, lamb, and goat. The impacts of other proteins are related to how much food is needed to raise and care for the animal. Wild-caught fish feed and grow on their own, thus having the lowest emissions among animal proteins. Plant-based foods tend to have the smallest impact.
The majority of people in the United States are meat eaters, consuming about 10 ounces per day, double what nutritionists say is best. That’s roughly 222 pounds in a year! If one person were to replace meat with fish, this would save the emissions equivalent of about 17,000 miles driven over the course of a year. Why? Seafood has a much lower impact on space and freshwater than land-based food. Shifting your diet away from beef is one of the best and easiest individual actions you can take to improve the planet.
How Seafood Compares
Wild-caught fish generally have a relatively small climate footprint. Smaller schooling species are the most sustainable option, based on energy use and emissions of the fisheries. They don’t burn much fossil fuel, which is the main source of emissions for fisheries. Some kinds of shellfish are another climate-conscious option because they do not need to be fed; they can filter sustenance from the water.
Try this Carbon Emissions Tool to calculate and compare various species of seafood and their carbon footprint.
In order to make the best choices, first learn about where your seafood comes from. Whether or not a product is certified as sustainable makes a big difference.
Our Commitment to Sustainability
All of our partnered harvesters either grow or manage seafood in a sustainable manner, meaning they do not harm wildlife or the ecosystems in which they thrive. We offer both wild-caught and aquafarmed seafood. We choose both because of sustainability. Eighty to eighty-five percent of all wild-caught seafood in the world is entirely overfished. At this point, the world is already catching as much as it possibly can. Most fisheries are being fished at their maximum sustainable level, while others are being overexploited. If we don’t have responsibly raised aquaculture, we will continue to decimate the wild species.
Let’s take our best-selling Aurora Salmon. We chose it for several reasons, mainly that there is no GMO in the feed. There are never any antibiotics or additives added. The fish in – fish out ratio is the lowest that we could source. This means that they do not use wild feed, such as sardines, to feed the salmon. They use a microalgae oil called Veramaris, which is made from land-based farm waste like corn husk. This is why our Aurora Salmon has the highest amount of healthy omega 3s than any other salmon tested.
What else are we doing to reduce our carbon footprint?
- 100% Recyclable Insulation – We use renewable and post-consumer insulation materials. Our Vericool insulation not only keeps your seafood perfectly frozen as it’s on the way to your home, but it also eliminates manufacturing waste. Our packaging meets compostable and curbside recyclable standards.
- Net-Zero Carbon Facility – Our fulfillment facility, located on the waterfront in New Bedford, MA, is completely run-on renewable energy resources. From our freezers and coolers down to the energy we use to print our labels. We are hyper-conscious of the energy we are using and do everything we can to maintain a net-zero carbon facility.
- Responsible Partners – We partner with companies that keep the same environmental mission. UPS is on track to reach its goal to have 25 percent of vehicles purchased to run on alternative fuel or advanced technology. Our harvesters are now working to reduce their use of plastics with new alternatives, such as “10K film” and recyclable cardboard.
Click on any of our products and learn more about the people and process that help bring the best seafood in the world directly to your home.
As we say, when you KNOW, you know!