Greenpeace activists target Costco

Greenpeace is targeting Costco Wholesale for selling seafood species it claims are caught or farmed in an environmentally destructive manner.

On Tuesday, Greenpeace activists draped a longline and a banner that read “Costco Wholesale Ocean Destruction” over a downtown Vancouver store.

Costco ranked last in Greenpeace’s “Taking Stock” report, which graded Canada’s eight major supermarket chains according to their sustainable seafood sourcing policies. (Costco declined to fill out the Greenpeace questionnaire used to compile the report.) Overwaitea was the only retailer to receive a passing mark in the report, the second installment of which was published on 2 June.

In a press release on Tuesday, Greenpeace lambasted Costco for selling Atlantic sea scallops, farmed shrimp, haddock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, Atlantic salmon and yellowfin tuna.

“Costco is selling out the oceans and its members by refusing to ensure the seafood it sells is sustainable,” said Sarah King, Greenpeace oceans campaigner. “While all other major supermarkets in Canada are working toward sustainable seafood policies, Costco continues to skirt the issue. Costco is being swept away by the growing tide of more progressive companies and must begin to green its seafood counters now.”

Greenpeace also launched a website,, to bring attention to Costco. The site includes a two-minute YouTube clip called “Ocean Destroyers Anonymous,” which spoofs retailers reluctance to adopt sustainable seafood sourcing policies. Greenpeace launched a similar campaign against Trader Joe’s, including the website, last year.

In the U.S. version of the Greenpeace report, called “Carting Away the Oceans,” Costco ranked 14th among 20 retailers. The fourth and latest edition of the report was released a year ago on Wednesday.

Costco is North America’s largest club-store chain and the world’s ninth largest retailer, with more than 560 locations.

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