You have an outdated browser

Please update your browser

Update browser
Read more about Sustainability

Responsible footprint

Our goals and ambitions for a sustainable footprint are based on UN Sustainable Development Goal no. 12

We will maximise the degree of utilisation by creating new food products from the fish and shellfish that we produce. We will minimise our environmental footprint through responsible consumption and circular handling of non-renewable resources.

Within the priority Responsible Footprint, we focus on 3 subareas:


1. Energy consumption 

Since 2019, Royal Greenland has replaced three ocean-going trawlers and two more are on the way in 2023 and 2025. The new vessels are designed according to new principles. Therefore, over time a reduction is expected in the total energy consumption per ton of end-product.   

Royal Greenland’s land-based production takes place at 37 plants in Greenland, 9 in Canada and 3 in Germany, with varying energy consumption and different energy sources.   

Risks and opportunities  

The greatest risk on using large amounts of fossil-fuel based energy is the emission of CO2 to the atmosphere, thereby increasing global warming. The risk which rising temperatures present for Arctic towns and settlements is the melting of fresh water from the ice cap to the sea, so that the local salt conditions might change, entailing higher water levels.   

We focus to prevent a continued increase in global warming and its impacts, seen locally and worldwide. This is a difficult task, but we can see opportunities in joining forces to tackle climate change, through improvement and reduction projects, as well as cooperation with energy supply companies that are working to achieve sustainable, climate-neutral energy forms.  

Fisheries and the subsequent value chain depend on energy for engines and machines. Hydroelectric power is available in several of the countries in which we operate, but we still rely heavily on fossil fuel supplies.  

Actions and results 2022  

The Group’s energy consumption is influenced by many factors. For each unit, there is significant basic consumption, and the smaller the volumes fished or produced per unit, the higher the relative consumption per unit. The ocean-going trawlers, which consume energy for sailing, fishing, processing and freezing on board, account for the largest share of the Group's energy consumption. The Group’s total energy consumption in 2022 was approximately 465 GWh, an increase of 16% from 2021, compared to an increase in raw materials by 8%.   

Investments in new vessels have, however, made the consumption of fossil fuels as efficient as possible by switching from hydraulic to electrically powered winches, using triple trawl nets instead of double trawl nets, and larger cargo holds that reduce the scope of transport shipping. The increased consumption must therefore primarily be seen as a result of a changed activity pattern.   

2. CO2 Emissions

Today, Royal Greenland uses Marine Gas Oil (MGO) on all vessels. The advantage is that MGO has a very low sulfur content (< 0.1%) and therefore pollutes less than Heavy Fuel Oil (HFO). MGO also has a lower volume of black particle emissions. The CO2e emission rate is the same for the two types of oil.  

Research and testing within alternative energy sources and fuels are followed with interest, while security of supply is crucial to the day-to-day operations of a company like Royal Greenland.    

Risks and opportunities  

The risk of increasing CO2e emissions has an adverse impact on the surrounding environment, with the risk of ice melting and a resulting impact on the climate and new weather phenomena. These affect fisheries and present challenges for crews on board, just as fish stocks can be augmented or reduced.  

Rising temperatures can bring new species to the otherwise very cold Arctic waters. In recent years, cod has returned to Greenlandic waters, just as pelagic species such as mackerel have been present sporadically in recent years.   

Actions and results 2022  

The Group's emissions in 2022 totaled approximately 128,000 tons of CO2 equivalents. The larger ocean-going vessels account for approximately 78%.   

In 2022, the factory trawlers’ emissions of tons of CO2e per ton of volume fished increased. This was due to several yard visits, engine failures, and a long distance to fish in the Barents Sea and Melville Bay. Furthermore, none of the vessels functioned as catch landing vessels, as was the case in 2021. The result was thus affected by several parameters and unforeseen events.

3. Maximum utilization of resources 

We wish to take responsibility for maximum utilization of the fish and shellfish passing through our processing plants. Here, greater use can be made of side-streams, resulting in new food products, while extracting proteins and oils from the process water can open up new opportunities in the feed or ingredients industry.  

Risks and opportunities  

Utilizing side-streams presents the challenge that the residual raw materials differ considerably from the products traditionally produced. Often a special technology or a lot of manual work is required to utilize the last-remaining quantities, so that disposal may be the only option left.   

When a fish is filleted, the head, skin and carcass will be left, while shells in large quantities will be left when shellfish such as prawn and crab are peeled. Innovative solutions, investments, co-operation with external partners and better resource allocation will make it possible to increase resource utilization.  

Actions and results 2022  

  • 2022 was another good year for sale of cod heads from Maniitsoq, which are sold for drying and as fishing bait.   
  • In Newfoundland, processing of dried fish skin into pet food has been tried out. This really fine product has been tested and has proved to be a viable idea to develop further.  
  • An innovation department was established in 2022, with the task of developing raw materials into new products, including by promoting the degree of utilization of the raw material resources. 

See also

Read more about Healthy working lives