Greenpeace Carting Away the Oceans campaign

Greenpeace USA on Tuesday re-released a report ranking U.S. retailers according to their sustainable seafood purchasing policies. This is the third time in the past year that the environmental activist organization has published “Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores are Emptying the Seas.”

This time around, seven retailers — Wegmans, Ahold USA, Whole Foods, Target, Safeway, Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart — earned a passing grade, or score of 40 or more out of a possible 100. Receiving a failing grade were Delhaize, Kroger, Costco, Aldi, A&P, Supervalu, Giant Eagle, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Trade Joe’s, Meijer, Price Chopper and H.E. Butt.

When the report was re-released in December 2008, only four retailers — Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Target and Harris Teeter — earned a passing grade. All 20 retailers cited in the report received a failing grade when the report was initially published in June 2008.

Wegmans ranked No. 1 this time around, climbing from No. 7 the last time the list was released. Greenpeace attributed the retailer’s score of 59.25 to its much improved sustainable seafood purchasing policy and its work with the Environmental Defense Fund.

Costco, Aldi, Giant Eagle, Publix, Winn-Dixie and H.E. Butt failed to respond to Greenpeace’s sustainable seafood questionnaire.

H.E. Butt ranked No. 20, and Greenpeace blamed the retailer’s score of 7.5 on its refusal to stop selling 16 of 22 red list species, including Alaska pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic sea scallopsgrouper and red snapper. Greenpeace is trying to persuade retailers to halt sales of species it claims are harvested or farmed in an environmentally irresponsible manner.

“As we look back at the first year of ‘Carting Away the Oceans,’ we can see a pronounced schism among the retailers that were targeted by this report,” Greenpeace said in the report’s introduction. “While more than half of the companies have demonstrated at least some degree of progress, there remain nine retailers that have made no visible effort whatsoever to increase the sustainability of their seafood operations. These industry laggards continue to wreak havoc on our environment.” 

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