Thorverk policy; Production excellence based on safety

Excellence, environmental caution and safety  Thorverk is an industrial partner producing organic, sustainably harvested high quality algal meal from Ascophyllum nodosum and Laminaria digitata. In its processes Thorverk promotes caution, equality, good working atmosphere and respect for the environment. This was audited and acknowledged by the mother company IFF in 2022 The fundamental issue in all operations is safety. All employees are instructed and trained to be aware of unsafe circumstances and are encouraged to suggest improvements in the workingplace. Thorverk wants its safety guidelines to spread in the community.

In accordance with the ethical frame from our main owner, IFF.com Thorverk promotes honesty, equity, good health, enhanced skills, product development, benign environmental impact, science based know-how and respect for humans, communities, nature, not the least the algal resources and its ecosystem. All employees go through an introduction to our core values and need to adapt to the company ethics.

ENERGY The company uses local geothermal wells to provide process heat, runs a transport shi,p 4 mechanical floating harveters that run on diesel oil, plus equipment. The power mix for the factory is described in a separate document, that incorporates the impact on the Icelandic grid mix from sales through the European ETS system. Note that the company conducts green bookkeeping and sets its sustainability goals bi-annually. 

 

I Safety

We strive for a safe framework for the company's operations, its assets and the human resources. Also, all the company's infrastructure and equipment is well maintained so that mishaps or accidents cannot be attributable to negligence. All fire safety systems are in place and audited regularly. Excercises and handling of fire equipment is repeated annually. Valid contingency plans relating to safe production processes and industrial operations are available for all operations. The SOP (standard operational procedures) are illustrated and describe each task. These are updated regularly and used for training purposes.  New workers and contractors are informed about this policy before they start attending their tasks. They need to accept the set safety rules and company ethics that apply in Thorverk. Information and communication systems (IT) should be secure. Personal health and safety equipment is constantly used in every position as a last measure to avoid injuries and mihaps. Safety plans and working routines should ensure continous business operation and minimize damage. Thorverk contributes to increase safety and environmental awareness in the community.

  

Eider duck hatchlings II Environment and natural resources

Thorverk aims for sustainable harvesting based on continuous collection of data, GPS tracking and scientific research. The harvesters trim the top part of the Asco and leaves the holdfast of each thalli. The top can therefore grow back in given time. 

Thorverk actively supports seaweed research in the Breiðafjorður to have the best available knowledge for managing harvesting activities in a sustainable way. In 2016 the Marine and Freshwater  Research Institute of Iceland (Hafogvatn) conducted a three years' research to estimate the total biomass of Ascophyllum nodosum in the bay and regeneration rates. The harvesting consultancy (klóþang) states that 4% of total biomass is allowed annually for harvest. Thorverk tracks harvesting areas and returns to the same spot after 4-6 years. This approach was set already in the first years of operation (1976).  This basis further ensures that Thorverk's harvesting strategy will not compromise the resource in the fjord. The fjord is rich of marine life and farmers depend on similar harvesting of other resources such as eider dow and fish. 

IFF strives for innovative progress based on callaboration for new solutions. Thorverk supports the Algal Centre of Iceland to enhance research and product development. 

Also, Thorverk has been audited and certified by organic certifiers (see under products and certifications). The advice from the certification agencies is also adapted to Standard Operatoinal Procedures with the aim of constantly improving the performance. We avoid using chemicals that can harm the environment and try to minimize the use of plastic. All waste is separated into the correct waste streams.

The Icelandic energy resource consultancy ISOR  , Iceland GeoSurvey, monitors the geothermal wells in Reykhólar. The boreholes give about 45L/sek of about 100°C water with little chemical contamination. Thorverk has permit to use up to 35 L/sek. The aim is to use the heat with high energy-efficiency and not to override the renewal capacity of the hot water resources. Also, Thorverk offers a second use of the effluent water.

We focus on eco-products and cleaning agents in procurement and avoid the use of disposable products. We reuse paper and promote the use of electronic communication that saves paper wherever possible. The energy mix has been changed since 2020 because the national power company sells through the European emission traiding (ETS system). See here how Thorverk reports and deals with emissions. 

 

III Human resources and social responsibility

We constantly seek new ways to improve the safety and well-being of our staff. We seek to employ women and men in all jobs equally. Equal salaries are secured for comparable work. We want a workplace that is safe, and promote good health. All use of nicotine was banned from our facilities April 1, 2019. Communication is characterized by respect, agility, friendship and tolarance. With good and open communication we carry out effective cooperation. Discrimination, bullying and prejudice are not tolerated. Newcomers are trained by experienced, trustworthy employees.

Thorverks policy emphasises that employees have the opportunity to enroll in more education and vocational training but still recieve wages. Thorverk is the largest provider of jobs in the region and often it is the first work place for young people in the neighborhood. Several employees need to attend the seamen's rescue courses every 5 years, training and liscence for operating eqipment hosted by legal agencies. Others are studying some vocational education at indipendent schools (16-20 y of age) and can use their worktime at Thorverk for their obligatory manual training. Peer training is essential for beginners and Standard Operation Procedures are on display for all tasks and workstations. 

 

Thorverk follows all standards for staff safety, respect and equity.  IFF's human rights policy has been implemented and the framework set out by workers' unions concerning pay, rest and equality. Thorverk is located in the small community of Reykhólar, Iceland, at the north coast of the Breiðafjordur bay. The area is a waders' heaven and seabirds use the shores for nesting and feeding. Breiðafjörður is partially a nature reserve. The hot geothermal water, the fjord's abundant seaweed, clean waters and the local residents are the resources we depend on. We provide personal safety equipment for employees and visitors. All staff has the opportunity to talk to a personal health consultant annually We do not employ children and strive to support progressive projects in the local community. On the other hand youngsters from the age of 16 are allowed to work 4-6 hours/day assisting in light tasks. It is common in Iceland that during summer months youngsters try to work along with adults and get paid salary. High precaution is always taken to follow all set procedures and regulations concerning safety.

We attend important municipality matters when invited and support good causes, thereby fostering human wellbeing in the neighbourhood. Warm attitude and cooperation with the locals is one of the pillars that make Thorverk succeed and thrive. Safety issues also apply to the local inhabitants and guests.

 

 IV Satisfied customers

We put the customers in the center and take note of their expectations. We provide services based on serious professionalism and neutrality. Products are marked with batch numbers and there is full traceability from point of harvesting, through the production process and to the delivery of our goods. We try to educate our customers about the ingredients and the charecter of our products, sustainable harvesting and our region. Thorverk is amongst the 2,2% of Icelandic companies that have recieved the label of excellence for outstanding performance. 

 

V Quality policy

Our algal meal is a pure natural product. It is rich of substances that are useful as dditives to fertilizers, in processed human food- and animal feed industry as well as in cosmetic products. Not to mention the alginate industries. The company ensures the quality of the dry meal to be among the best of its type in the world. Thorverk seeks in every step of the process to achieve best quality and maximum yield from the raw material that is landed. Any waste of organic matter that might be rejected from the process is put to use as soil enrichment in the region.