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Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshot

Safeway, Whole Foods Top Greenpeace Seafood Ratings

Greenpeace has long been an ardent crusader for the health of the world's oceans. They have worked with several companies to improve their sourcing and they also release a guide to ethically sourced tuna.

According to the sixth edition of  Greenpeace's Carting Away to Oceans report (CATO), only two major retailers have been given a top green rating.

The 2012 rankings survey twenty companies and only Safeway and Whole Foods have walked away with top marks. The scorecard states that a majority of retailers do receive a passing grade - these include Target, Aldi, Walmart, Costco, and Trader Joe's, although Trader Joe's received a very low score in this category. However, Meijer, Supervalu, Publix, and BI-LO/Winn-Dixie received a failing grade of below four points.
The report states that, "through varying combinations of progressive policy development, public support for conservation measures, and the elimination of unsustainable seafood inventory items, these two companies – Safeway and Whole Foods – have transformed themselves into undeniable leaders within the industry. Although the two retailers are extremely different in business model, consumer demographic, and size, they have each found ways to excel in their promotion and adoption of sustainable seafood. Certainly they still have a great deal of work to do – sustainability is, after all, a moving target, as it is inextricably linked to the dynamics of our oceanic ecosystems and to the vagaries of our changing climate – but Greenpeace celebrates the achievements of these companies and eagerly awaits similar outcomes from other retailers that are poised to embrace sustainability to a greater degree."

Both of these supermarket chains have been working towards a more progressive sourcing policy. Greenpeace states that since 2008, U.S. seafood retailers have improved significantly overall. Both the top performers have set themselves apart by eliminating sales of red list species. Red list species are the most threatened species due to overfishing. The report writers note that since the CATO project began in 2007, the 20 retailers analyzed have discontinued a total of 67 red list species. This is over 20 percent of the total number originally sold.

Even more surprisingly, the last two years have had the most progress, which means that there is a growing trend among seafood retailers to find sustainable alternatives. There are significant challenges in supplying sustainable seafood, but with constant innovation and policy change, companies can lead the way to healthier oceans.

Image Credit: Greenpeace © CATO Report 2012 

Akhila Vijayaraghavan headshotAkhila Vijayaraghavan

Akhila is the Founding Director of GreenDen Consultancy which is dedicated to offering business analysis, reporting and marketing solutions powered by sustainability and social responsibility. Based in the US, Europe, and India, the GreenDen's consultants share the best practices and innovation from around the globe to achieve real results. She has previously written about CSR and ethical consumption for Justmeans and hopes to put a fresh spin on things for this column. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she is a voracious reader and enjoys photography, yoga, travelling and the great outdoors. She can be contacted via Twitter @aksvi and also http://www.thegreenden.net

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