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Fresh fish counter at a supermarket. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Safeway, Whole Foods come out on top in Greenpeace retailer ranking

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Tuesday, May 08, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)

The sixth iteration of Greenpeace’s Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) shows that two retailers -- Safeway and Whole Foods -- have crossed the seven-point mark and entered the “good” category.

For the second year in a row, Greenpeace USA has ranked Safeway Inc number one in the US on its grocery sustainability scorecard, which rates the Top 20 national grocery retailers. This marks the first year in the six-year history of the Greenpeace scorecard that any retailer achieved a green rating.

The "Carting Away the Oceans" report and scorecard rate retailers' seafood policies, initiatives, product labelling/dissemination of information about products and practices surrounding the sale of certain unsustainable or "red list" species.

"We're proud of being an industry leader in seafood sustainability and pleased that Greenpeace recognised our efforts in its comprehensive and thoughtful analysis of seafood sourcing practices," said Phil Gibson, Group Director of Seafood at Safeway. "We will continue to engage with our suppliers to proactively initiate progressive change that can become industry-wide norms."

Safeway has eliminated the sale of certain "red list" seafood and collaborates with suppliers on improved methods to reduce bycatch.

2012 Seafood Retailer Scorecard. (Ilustration: Greenpeace)

Earlier this year, the company announced that its Safeway brand skipjack (chunk-light) canned tuna will be caught using free-school purse-seine methods rather than fish aggregating device (FAD) purse-seining by the end of 2012. Safeway is also applying other specifications for responsibly sourced albacore tuna caught on longline vessels with improved fishing techniques -- Safeway brand "responsibly caught" tuna is the first brand in North America to take this route.

The company's seafood sustainability initiative was developed and executed in partnership with FishWise, a Santa Cruz, CA-based nonprofit. In Canada, the company is working with SeaChoice, Canada's national programme for sustainable seafood.

Safeway and FishWise have established a Sustainable Seafood Task Force that regularly reviews the company's entire supply chain and establishes priorities for vendors and its own operations. Safeway met with all of its suppliers to share recommendations to improve production practices and explore ways to establish traceability for all products.

Tuna Pole and line fishing. (Photo: Greenpeace)

Further, to raise customer awareness, Safeway now has comprehensive brochures at all of its locations outlining its commitment, plans and actions thus far, and has initiated a staff training programme for seafood counter employees that was developed with FishWise.

Wegmans, Aldi, Delhaize and others passed with an orange rating, and Publix, Supervalu, Meijer, and BI-LO/Winn-Dixie failed with a red rating.

Greenpeace noted that the US seafood retail industry has improved significantly since 2008. Whole Foods’ rating has doubled from 3.5 since June 2008 and Safeway's reached 7.1 in this report. Since the CATO project began in 2008, the 20 retailers analyzed have discontinued a total of 67 red list species, or more than 20 per cent of the total number originally sold (301); Greenpeace includes 22 different species on its seafood red list for the US.

Related articles:

Greenpeace releases third supermarket ranking report
Safeway commits to offering sustainable seafood

By Natalia Real
[email protected]


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