What is in this article?:
More Retailers Make Sustainable Seafood Commitments
By JENNA TELESCA
2011 was a banner year for seafood sustainability. A product line in Germany became The Marine Stewardship Council’s 10,000th ecolabelled seafood item available in the global market. And, over the past 12 months, several major retailers made progress on recently established sustainability goals, announced plans to expand their sustainable offerings or made new commitments to evaluate their current sourcing in partnership with nonprofit organizations.
Quite a few of these sustainability plans have come with specific, measurable goals. While each retailer’s plan differs in scope, each has shown significant movement toward a more eco-friendly supply chain.
For instance, Safeway and Target, working with the nonprofit FishWise, have both made a commitment to entirely transition all fresh and frozen seafood offerings to sustainable varieties by 2015. Giant Eagle announced it would be entering a planning and evaluation stage, working with the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to evaluate suppliers and develop a sustainable seafood plan for wild and farmed seafood.
As to why retailers have decided right now to revamp seafood offerings, MSC Regional Director of the Americas Kerry Coughlin suggested supply is a major factor.
At MSC, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable fishing practices and works with retailers like Kroger, Shaw’s and Supervalu, Coughlin said, the “supply of certified sustainable in seafood has increased substantially to the point where retailers feel that they can make a commitment to sourcing MSC certified seafood without seriously curtailing or jeopardizing supplies of seafood.”
While Coughlin thinks consumer demand will strengthen, she said the movement has been largely retailer and supply chain driven so far. “To the credit of the seafood supply chain members of the industry, they’ve really done a great deal to progress the sustainability of fisheries.”
The movement toward more sustainably sourced seafood has not been limited to retailers, either. Foodservice, food programs at universities, and the pharmaceutical industry (fish oil) have all been making commitments to source certified sustainable products as well, Coughlin said.