Seafood Progress is an online resource for consumers to find out what Canada’s largest retailers are doing to support sustainable seafood.
Seafood Progress, SeaChoice’s Online Reporting Program Sees Canadian Retailers Increasing Seafood Transparency
SeaChoice has just released Seafood Progress– Canada’s online resource for tracking major food retailers’ sustainable seafood commitments –the update highlights what has changed in the past year. Seafood Progress assesses the seafood policy and procurement of each of Canada’s nine major food retailers’ against 21 key performance indicators derived from the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions’Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood. Seafood consumers can use this tool to see what their retailer is doing to support sustainable seafood and whether they are contributing to change on the water.
METRO has implemented a new initiative called ‘Fraîcheur traçable’, or ‘Freshness you can trace’, that allows its customers to easily find out where the majority of its products came from and how they were produced.
The report shows that the national averages for all Steps increased across the board. This is due to an increase in transparency on what retailers are doing on seafood sustainability and to progressive new initiatives. For example, this year two additional retailers, Sobeys and Safeway, cooperated with SeaChoice to share information about their policies and practices, leading to more complete and representative profiles. There is now only one major food retailer whose profile is based solely on publicly available information. Two other retailers, Walmart Canada and METRO, decided to start publishing information on where their seafood comes from and how it was produced (see Walmart Canada’sOcean Disclosure Project profileand METRO’sFreshness You Can Trace initiative).
As of May 2019, Save-On-Foods was exceeding this commitment by sourcing at least 70% Ocean Wise Recommended fresh and frozen seafood.
“People expect retailers to sell sustainable seafood and have been using Seafood Progress to learn about their retailer’s policy,” said SeaChoice seafood supply chain analyst Liane Veitch. “Seafood Progress is bringing Canadian retail practices to light, and its second-year results demonstrate positive changes in retailer transparency and performance.”
There are still important areas where progress has been limited. For example, practices regarding seafood labeling continue to be barely above the legal minimum requirement – despite METRO showing that other important information such as the species’ scientific name, geographic origin of harvest and harvest method, can be included on seafood packaging in both English and French.
Year 2 of Seafood Progress found improvement across all steps. This is due to progressive action being taken by some retailers and the increased engagement by retailers in Seafood Progress, making sure their profiles are as complete and representative as possible.
Step 6, which looks at what retailers are doing to support improvements of challenging seafood commodities, also continues to lag far behind the other areas – showing that there are lots of opportunities for retailers to increase their impact.
“One thing Seafood Progress helps make clear is how much, or little, of a retailer’s seafood offerings are covered by its policies,” Veitch said. “In addition to incentivizing further progress against existing commitments, SeaChoice will work with retailers to expand the scope of commitments that should cover all seafood a retailer sells. In this way, we can help the oceans and the seafood industry have healthier futures.”
For more information on the Year 2 results from Seafood Progress, see the report.
SeaChoice is a science-based, solution-focused influencer, advocate and watchdog leading the next evolution of seafood sustainability in Canada.
Launched in 2006, SeaChoice was created to increase consumer awareness around seafood sustainability in Canada. For 10 years, its primary goal was shifting seafood procurement to more sustainable options, with a focus on seafood suppliers and Canadian retailers.
Seafood Progress assesses retailer sustainable seafood commitments and procurement policies against 21 key performance indicators that reflect the six steps of the Common Vision for Sustainable Seafood, a guiding document outlining the steps businesses should take to develop robust sustainable seafood commitments and programs.