Cargill seeks to address key sustainability challenges for the harvesting and cultivation of red seaweed through a new programme.
Called the Red Seaweed Promise, the initiative sees Cargill aim to enhance producer livelihoods and conserve the marine environment.
Cargill said the programme also answers food industry and consumer needs for more sustainable food ingredients, with a commitment to source 60% sustainable red seaweed by 2025.
Red seaweed is the raw material needed to produce carrageenan, a texturiser used in applications such as dairy, confectionery and personal care products.
Sebastien Jan, Cargill seaweed strategic sourcing project manager, said: “Red seaweed production is critical to the prosperity of approximately 1 million producers and their communities.
“Today, these producers face multiple challenges, from climate change and extreme weather events to inefficient farming and harvesting practices, which have a significant impact on the quality of red seaweed.
“The Red Seaweed Promise supports producers’ prosperity by providing the training, coaching and tools producers need to adopt environmental and safe production best practices, while committing to sustainable marine and coastal ecosystems.”
Cargill said the move leverages its partnerships with producers and suppliers to increase traceability and transparency in the supply chain for its customers.
Proforest, a non-profit group offering consultancy services in sustainable sourcing of natural resources, supported the company in the definition of an industry standard evaluation tool and conducted verifications in the regions where Cargill sources red seaweed. Results are used to set region-specific continuous improvement plans, focusing efforts on four priority areas: empowering seaweed producers, improving production and harvest practices, supporting sourcing communities, and strengthening partnerships.
Cargill sustainability manager James Ede said: “We are committed to making a positive impact and securing sustainably sourced red seaweed for our customers. To ensure we are following international sustainability priorities, the programme supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
“The Red Seaweed Promise supports our customers’ sustainability commitments and provides assurance to consumers who are increasingly seeking sustainably sourced products.”
In 2017, Cargill developed a premium texturiser for gelled dairy desserts based on a new type of carrageenan extract. Called Satiagel ADG 0220 Seabrid, the product is derived using technology from 100% cultivated seaweed.