Re-released Greenpeace Report Passes Four U.S. Retailers


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 8, 2008

Greenpeace today re-released a report ranking U.S. retailers according to their sustainable seafood purchasing policies, and this time around four supermarket chains earned a passing grade.

Originally released in June, “Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores are Emptying the Seas” failed all 20 retailers surveyed because they “ignored scientific warnings about the crisis facing global fisheries and the marine environment.” Greenpeace lambasted retailers for selling “red list” species it says are harvested or farmed in an unsustainable and environmentally destructive manner, including Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Chilean sea bass, swordfish and bigeye, bluefin and yellowfin tuna.

But this time around, the report passed Whole Foods, Ahold USA, Target and Harris Teeter for strengthening their sustainable seafood purchasing policies. They received a score of at least 40 points out of a possible 100 points.

Since June, Whole Foods has enhanced its farmed seafood purchasing criteria, and Stop & Shop and Giant Food, which are owned by Dutch conglomerate Royal Ahold, quit selling three “red list” species (Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and shark).

The report failed the remaining 16 retailers on the list. They are, in order from highest to lowest, Wal-Mart, Safeway, Wegmans, Kroger, Aldi, Costco, A&P, Giant Eagle, Publix, Winn-Dixie, Delhaize, Supervalu, Trader Joe’s, Meijer, H.E. Butt and Price Chopper.

“While many supermarkets seek to green their image, the bottom line is that they are contributing to the crisis facing our oceans,” says John Hocevar, oceans campaign director for Greenpeace-USA. “The initial steps being taken to implement sustainability policies and practices are the right ones, but bigger strides are needed to prevent the collapse of our marine ecosystems.”

Last month, the National Fisheries Institute warned its members that Greenpeace was re-releasing the report, which it said “failed to capture the attention of consumers or the cooperation of retailers” earlier this year.

“Greenpeace has and continues to threaten U.S. grocery stores with ‘direct action’ if they do not comply with its demands,” NFI said. “The group is prepared to shift from activism to vandalism if it does not get its way and already has in Canada.”

Greenpeace released a similar report criticizing Canadian retailers in June. Last month, Greenpeace littered eight Toronto-area Loblaws stores with yellow crime scene tape and posters that read, “Caught red-handed selling red list fish.” The eco-activist group claimed Canada’s largest supermarket chain sold 14 of the 15 “red list” species.

Want seafood news sent to your inbox?

You may unsubscribe from our mailing list at any time. Diversified Communications | 121 Free Street, Portland, ME 04101 | +1 207-842-5500