COTS Sustainability Report

Chicken of the Sea International on Tuesday released its first-ever corporate sustainability report, the culmination of a company-wide assessment undertaken in 2011.

The San Diego-based supplier underwent a yearlong, third-party assessment led by Strategic Sustainability Consulting, which examined the company’s practices throughout the organization and supply chain.

The audit focused on creating a systematic approach to managing and developing the company’s sustainability initiatives, including goals for the future.

“Our sustainability efforts do not end when seafood is caught, but extend all the way through processing, packaging and delivery to our customers,” said John Sawyer, Chicken of the Sea’s senior VP-sales and marketing. “Where we have direct control over our operations, we are taking direct steps to optimize and reduce our possible impact and footprint. Where we do not have direct control, such as our supply chain, we have established clear expectations and are building a concrete review process.”

As part of the auditing process, Chicken of the Sea identified four key areas for improvement:

Data collection systems for carbon, waste and water: A comprehensive carbon footprint assessment gathered information internally and from suppliers. Chicken of the Sea realized it is responsible for 75,600 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, with 78 percent attributable to freight transportation.

Supporting the product life cycle for all of its products, from responsible fishing practices to using recycled-content packaging materials: In 2011, Chicken of the Sea focused on collecting robust data to create a baseline to measure future progress. This year, the company is using this information to identify opportunities to reduce its environmental impact and implement new management systems.

Supply chain management: A thorough review of the supply chain led to a new Supplier Code of Conduct. Chicken of the Sea is continuing to develop a more formalized auditing plan for its supply chain, which will be introduced within the next two years.

Sustainability expectations for employees: The company is working to more closely integrate sustainability expectations into its employee engagement activities. These projects will be completed in 2012 and reported upon in next year’s report.

“The first step in developing a strategic sustainability plan is to understand the leverage points in your operations and supply chain,” said Strategic Sustainability Consulting’s President Jennifer Woofter. “By taking a broad view of the company’s impacts – including facility management, employee engagement, vendor and supplier relations, and customer expectations – we were able to help Chicken of the Sea create a robust plan to address sustainability in all aspects of its business. Together, we’ve developed a sustainability strategy that will put Chicken of the Sea in a leadership position in its industry.”

Chicken of the Sea’s full 2011 sustainability report is available for download here.

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