Greenpeace says supermarkets have improved seafood sustainability

Photo (c) santypan - Getty Images

However, the environmental group says efforts to curb plastic have fallen short

Greenpeace USA says U.S. supermarkets have vastly improved their performance in providing consumers with sustainable seafood.

But the environmental group says all the stores need to step up their efforts to curtail single-use plastic.

Over 90 percent of the supermarket retailers profiled by Greenpeace received passing seafood scores just 10 years after every one of them failed the first assessment. The top four in promoting sustainable seafood are Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, ALDI, and Target. Trader Joe’s, meanwhile, moved backward, dropping seven spots since the last report.

“Supermarkets across the country have made significant progress on seafood sustainability in recent years,” said Greenpeace Oceans campaigner David Pinsky.

But Pinsky says it retailers now need to put that same effort into curtailing the use of plastic, which often ends up floating in the ocean.

"It’s not truly sustainable seafood if it is produced by forced labor and then wrapped in throwaway plastic packaging,” he said.

Seafood sustainability improvements

Whole Foods won praise for its implementation of a strong shelf-stable tuna policy and marked sourcing improvements. Hy-Vee moved into second place largely for its advocacy and transparency initiatives.

ALDI improved its position by adopting new policies to address common fishing practices like transshipment at sea, often linked to illegal fishing and human rights abuses. Target improved its standing by adopting environmental-friendly policy and advocacy initiatives.

Trader Joe's dropped in the rankings because Greenpeace said it does not have a "robust, public sustainable seafood procurement policy." But it remains ahead of Price Chopper, Save Mart, and Wakefern, which scored the lowest in this year’s report.

Greenpeace found none of the supermarket chains it surveyed had what it considers a comprehensive policy to reduce and eventually phase out single-use plastic. The biggest goal for improvement the environmental group set was in reducing plastic packaging. The group cited estimates that plastic production would double over the next two decades, with most of the new plastic going to packaging.

Greenpeace called on the supermarkets to make plastic reduction commitments, saying large food service companies have already taken that step.

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