Safeway, Target top Greenpeace report


Steven Hedlund

Published on
April 11, 2011

Greenpeace on Tuesday released the fifth edition of its “Carting Away the Oceans” report grading major U.S. retailers according to their sustainable seafood sourcing policies.

This time around, 15 out of 20 retailers earned a passing grade, or score of 40 or more out of a possible 100, compared to just seven retailers last year. All 20 retailers received a failing grade in the inaugural edition of the report, published in June 2008.

For the first time, Safeway came out on top this year, with a grade of 64.61, climbing from No. 4 in last year’s report. At last month’s International Boston Seafood Show, the Pleasanton, Calif.-based retailer, which operates 1,702 stores in the United States and Canada and 161 stores in Mexico, announced the details and goals of its “2015” sustainable seafood sourcing policy.

Last year’s No. 1, Target, slipped to No. 2 this year with a score of 63.74. Wegmans came in at No. 3 with a score of 63.74, followed by Whole Foods (61.77), Ahold (59.22), Harris Teeter (58.35), Aldi (54.62), A&P (51.63), Price Chopper (47.90) and Delhaize (47.66). Rounding out the top 15 were Costco (44.89), Trader Joe’s (44.57), Walmart (44.50) H.E.B. (43.81) and Kroger (42.03). Last year, Price Chopper, Aldi, Kroger, Costco and H.E.B. all failed.

Giant Eagle, Publix, Supervalu, Winn-Dixie and Meijer received a failing grade this year; all five failed to respond to Greenpeace’s sustainable seafood questionnaire.

“The fact that we have now seen such a wide variety of retailers lead the pack … just emphasizes that sustainability is not a niche luxury trend, but an important response to customer demand and responsible retailing,” said Casson Trenor, Greenpeace senior markets campaigner.

“It’s an amazing testament to the ongoing pressure from consumers, supporters and activists that, in just three years, we’ve gone from a situation where all 20 major U.S. retailers assessed failed to today, when 15 retailers have now achieved a passing score,” he added.

Greenpeace is encouraging retailers to develop an effective, publically available sustainable seafood sourcing policy, participate in partnerships designed to promote ocean conservation, increase transparency in labeling, signage and chain of custody, and stop selling so-called red-list species.

The National Fisheries Institute is among the organizations that have been critical of the “Carting Away the Oceans” report in the past, calling it a distraction for retailers and confusing for consumers.

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