Tropical shrimp. Netherlands. Sustainable. What do these words have to do with each other? They describe what and where the Happy Shrimp company is. In a recent video on the Enviu Lab blog, a new sustainable innovation lab to be opened in late 2008, they showcased a number of ecopreneurists out of the Rotterdam area. Of particular interest was the Happy Shrimp company, the first tropical shrimp farm in Europe.
What makes them so sustainable? On a basic level, being a producer of products that might otherwise need to be shipped from at least Madrid, more likely Asia and South America, is in itself going to have a big impact, both in transport, and the energy to keep it frozen.
But it goes much further then that. Companies, take note!
They intentionally co-located their facility in proximity to an E*On Benelux power plant, diverting the excess heat they generate to Happy Shrimp, powering their facilities and heating the 24 tanks where the shrimp are raised. 30 tons of shrimp are raised there annually.
Since this is a closed managed environment, these shrimp don’t absorb the mercury and other toxins typically found in open water sea life, making for less impact on us, the end consumer of it. Beyond this, the algae associated with shrimp raising consume CO2, and Happy Shrimp is looking to make use of this algae to create energy as well.
There is one weak point to this green machine: The breedstock (baby shrimp) at this point come from the far away Caribbean. However, they plan to eventually have their own breedstock on site, and the current facilities are closed inland systems as well.
Happy Shrimp provides a clear example of how some forethought and persistence can produce options previously thought impossible, in a way that’s both environmentally conscious and cost saving at the same time.
Paul Smith is a sustainable business innovator, the founder of GreenSmith Consulting, and an MBA in Sustainable Management from Presidio School of Management in San Francisco. His overarching talent is “bottom lining” complex ideas, in a way that is understandable and accessible to a variety of audiences, internal and external to a company.