Compass Group touts sustainable seafood results

Compass Group North America on Thursday announced the results of its sustainable seafood purchasing initiative, launched in 2006, and unveiled the initiative's second phase, bringing the foodservice company through 2012.

At Monterey Bay Aquarium's Cooking for Solutions, which runs through Friday, Compass Group said it exceeded its first-phase target by eliminating 1.5 million pounds of unsustainable seafood. Now more than 70 percent of its seafood purchases are from sustainable sources.

In the first phase of its initiative, Compass Group stopped buying Atlantic cod, replacing the species with Alaska pollock and Pacific cod; cut out 835,000 pounds of unsustainable shrimp and 192,000 pounds of unsustainable salmon and increased its wild salmon purchases by 49 percent; eliminated 12 species from its order guides based on the Seafood Watch program's "avoid" list, including Chilean sea bass, imported swordfish, bluefin tuna, red snapper, grouper and farmed salmon; and increased sustainable seafood purchases by 5.5 million pounds by sourcing more Alaska pollock, Alaska salmon, farmed tilapia from Ecuador and a number of other species.

In the second phase of its initiative, Compass Group pledges to engage the salmon, shrimp and tilapia industries to implement sustainable farming methods, with the goal of further reducing its unsustainable shrimp and salmon purchases by 500,000 pounds in the next three years; and facilitate a joint Monterey Bay Aquarium-Compass Group education program on ocean sustainability issues tailored for Compass' seafood suppliers.

"The switch to sustainable seafood hasn't been strictly a policy change," said Compass Group in a press release. "What has changed is the culture as many throughout the company - chefs, foodservice directors, frontline associates - have embraced the initiative and succeeded in spreading a message of sustainability."

For example, Compass Group clients have distributed 825,395 Seafood Watch guides nationwide over the past three years.

"I'm thrilled with Compass Group's successes in meeting its commitment to develop and implement a corporate sustainable seafood policy," said Julie Packard, executive director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium. "As our relationship matures, Compass Group's continued leadership and commitment to identify and source sustainable seafood will drive significant change in the seafood industry."

Charlotte, N.C.-based Compass Group North America last year posted revenues of more than USD 9 billion (EUR 6.6 billion).

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