In the Scheme of Things: Sustainability as Seen Through the Lens of Salmon Aquaculture Sustainability Standards

Doktoravhandlinger ved NTNU ISSN 1503-8181

The main contributions can be summarized as follows:

  • The Wheel of Sustainability (WOS), a reference model for sustainable salmon aquaculture. In addition to being an important methodological contribution, this model serves as 1) a valid lexicon for the many issues related to improving the industry, 2) a tool for comparison of different improvement initiatives, and 3) a collaboration tool for identifying and addressing tradeoffs and other topics for consideration.
  • In-depth through the indicators they choose to include (and exclude), and how the concept is further operationalized through the implementation of these indicators. This involves a comprehensive mapping of the indicators in some of the major sustainability standards (resulting in a database of over 1900 indicators), and investigation of how salmon aquaculture companies strive to comply with these indicators.
  • Increased knowledge about how standard indicators are received, perceived, and achieved differently across different companies and sites. This speaks to the challenges of governing at a distance, as there is often a great range between global ideals and local realities.
  • Improved comprehension of what the behavioral dimension of certification effectiveness includes, through the development of specific content for the concept. The identified facilitators for behavioral change provide opportunities 1) for certification schemes to incorporate criteria that can better facilitate actual changes, 2) for salmon aquaculture companies to find ways in which to best achieve significant changes, and 3) for auditors to develop specific ways in which to assess companies on this dimension.
  • Insight into some of the key challenges and implications of governing through standardized indicators. These findings contribute to an acknowledgement of the approach, as well as a proposal for a way forward. Suggestions on how to better utilize the potential that sustainability certification has for improving the industry. This primarily involves refocusing efforts towards continuous improvement, flexibility, and facilitation of learning and knowledge building through interaction between the governing system and the objects to-be governed.