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Cases | 27-07-2020



Algal oil for
sustainable
aquaculture

 

fors.earth accompanies Veramaris from business idea to market launch

 

CLIENT VERAMARIS

 

Challenge

In order to contribute to more sustainable aquaculture, Veramaris has developed an algal oil that allows salmon to be reared without fish oil from wild-caught fish. In addition, the algal oil has a particularly high content of essential omega-3 fatty acids. To bring this completely new product to market, the market potential had to be analyzed, the business model developed, and a possible positioning determined.

Solution

In accompanying the market entry and business development, fors.earth used a value chain approach. This means that representatives from all stages of the value chain were brought together to discussed the benefits of Veramaris's product and possible cooperations with Veramaris and fors.earth in common roundtables.

Impact

With the help of fors.earth, Veramaris, together with feed manufacturers, farmers, processors, logistics companies and retailers, managed to bring sustainably produced and healthy salmon onto the shelves and thus contribute to reducing overfishing. Even with the initial production capacity of Veramaris, the oil from a total of 1.2 million tons of wild-caught fish can be replaced.

 

Algal oil for sustainable aquaculture

With the growing world population and increasing prosperity, the demand for fish is also rising steadily. This leads to overfishing of many fish stocks worldwide and a demand that can no longer be met from wild catches. But even aquaculture, i.e. farmed fish, is not a sustainable solution if the feed is based on wild-caught fish. To be able to continue to use fish as an important source of protein in the future, new approaches are needed. As a contribution to solving this problem, Veramaris, a joint venture of Evonik and DSM, has developed an algal oil that enables salmon to be reared in aquacultures without the use of fish oil and can thus relieve the strain on natural fish stocks. Additionally, the content of the essential omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA is very high.

One ton of Veramaris oil can replace 60 tons of wild-caught fish. Thus, even with the initial production capacity of Veramaris, it can replace the oil of a total of 1.2 million tons of fish that would otherwise be caught from the oceans and used as fish feed. This is more than the amount of fish caught annually throughout the Mediterranean Sea. In a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) extended by additional indicators, the impact on marine ecosystems was analyzed in more detail. This analysis clearly showed the positive impact of reduced overfishing and dependence on wild-caught fish (Feed Fish Dependency Ratio) compared to feed based on fish oil, among other benefits.

 

Support of the Business Development

As this is a completely new product with which no one had any experience before, the market potential had to be analyzed prior to the launch of the product. This analysis was used to develop a suitable positioning and branding as well as a marketing and communications strategy. fors.earth accompanied the business development of Veramaris by planning and facilitating numerous internal workshops. In addition, fors.earth performed an analysis and classification of potential customers and other influential stakeholders and their requirements. In the process, fors.earth developed a value chain approach, which involves representatives from all stages of the value chain, not just direct potential customers. In order to find active and engaged business partners, it was important to establish a common understanding of sustainability challenges (such as overfishing) and potentials (such as the constant supply of the omega-3 fatty acids EPA and DHA, which are not, as at present, limited by fish stocks) of the aquaculture value chain. During roundtables, Veramaris and fors.earth, together with representatives of the entire value chain, discussed the value of Veramaris for the development of aquaculture, the contribution to solving the challenge of overfishing and specific cooperation possibilities.

Furthermore, fors.earth was involved in directly addressing potential partners in Germany and Europe and in the exchange with other stakeholders. For example, it was found that relevant certifiers, such as the ASC (Aquaculture Stewardship Council), have not yet taken new products such as algal oil into account. fors.earth therefore supported Veramaris with research and recommendations on necessary adjustments so that sustainable innovations can be rewarded in the future.

 

Communications: Development of strategy and materials

fors.earth also supported Veramaris in the areas of communications and marketing from the very beginning. A communications strategy including target group specific messages was developed together with Veramaris. In addition, numerous tools such as communications guidelines, FAQs and - in cooperation with the renowned underwater photographer Uli Kunz - photo and video material from an aquaculture farm in Norway were created. In addition, the contribution of Veramaris to the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations was analyzed and the results of the life cycle analysis were presented in a clear and comprehensible way.

fors.earth is proud to have accompanied the development of Veramaris from the very beginning and to continue to support the international market entry. For us, Veramaris is an important example of how far corporate sustainability can go. Sustainability here is not an accessory of established business models, but a business goal and anchored in the DNA of the product itself.