Greenpeace to re-release U.S. retail report card


Steven Hedlund

Published on
June 2, 2009

Greenpeace is scheduled on 30 June to re-release a report ranking U.S. retailers according to their sustainable seafood purchasing policies, John Hocevar, oceans campaign director for Greenpeace USA, told SeafoodSource on Tuesday.

This would be the third time the environmental activist organization has published "Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores are Emptying the Seas."

When the report was initially released in June 2008, all 20 supermarket chains cited in the report received a failing grade. When the report was re-released in December, four retailers - Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Target and Harris Teeter - earned a passing grade, or score of 40 or more out of a possible 100, for strengthening their sustainable seafood purchasing policies.

This time around, "there will be some interesting news to report, with some changes to the ranking order," said Hocevar, adding that some retailers have progressed "substantially."

"Most disturbing, I think, is that several retailers have yet to address the sustainability of their seafood at all, despite the overwhelming data showing that changes are needed to prevent the collapse of many fish stocks," he said.

News of the report's U.S. re-release comes about two weeks after Greenpeace Canada released "Out of Stock, Out of Excuses" for the second time. The report again failed Canada's eight major supermarket chains for employing inadequate sustainable seafood purchasing policies, or no policies at all.

Following the report's re-release, Greenpeace activists targeted several stores, from British Columbia to Ontario. At a Safeway store in Victoria, B.C., last week, four young Greenpeace activists were arrested for chaining and locking the doors of a frozen seafood case, filling a shopping cart with so-called red-list, or threatened, species and then wrapping yellow caution tape around the case and cart. Since then Greenpeace activists have protested at Costco stores in Kelowna and Kingston, B.C., Wal-Mart and Save-On-Foods stores in Nelson, B.C., and a Metro store in Hamilton, Ontario.

Greenpeace is trying to persuade retailers to stop selling red list seafood, or species it says are harvested or farmed in an environmentally irresponsible manner.

The National Fisheries Institute in McLean, Va., issued a press release on Tuesday warning its industry members that Greenpeace may soon re-release its "Carting Away the Oceans" report.

"It does not come as a surprise that Greenpeace is re-releasing its retailer rankings. It fact, it would be a surprise if it did not," NFI spokesman Gavin Gibbons told SeafoodSource.

"What we tend to see out of Greenpeace these days is more of the same old, same old - no reasonable solutions and no responsible dialogue," added Gibbons. "What we haven't seen in this country, in connection with these retailer rankings, is the vandalism of stores that we have seen in other countries. Perhaps Greenpeace USA realizes how much that type of illegal activity marginalizes any message it is trying to deliver."

Discussion Topic: Does Greanpeace deserve credit for helping advance the sustainable seafood movement? Discuss

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