Sodexo closer to sustainable seafood goal


April Forristall, assistant editor

Published on
October 17, 2011

Sodexo on Tuesday announced that nearly half of its contracted seafood products are now certified sustainable.

Since its launch in February, the global foodservice provider’s sustainable seafood initiative, Your Better Choice in Seafood, continues to close in on its goal of 100 percent of its contracted seafood products to be certified sustainable by 2015.

At the end of fiscal 2011, 49 percent of Sodexo’s contracted seafood purchases were certified sustainable by either the Marine Stewardship Council or Global Aquaculture Alliance Best’s Aquaculture Practices. That’s up from 31 percent in 2009 and 43 percent in 2010.

The company also announced that it has doubled its certified sustainable seafood products from 40 SKUs to 170 SKUs.

“I started looking at seafood sustainability about six or seven years ago, and at the time our suppliers resisted any type of involvement with non-governmental organizations,” said Mitch Greenberg, senior director of supply management for Sodexo.

“So I worked on a couple of FAO aquaculture dialogue meetings and talked to just about every NGO out there that you could think of about sustainability and how an organization like ours would go about recommending an approach to sustainability,” he told SeafoodSource. “I settled on what I thought were the two largest organizations, MSC for wild caught species and GAA for farm-raised species.”

Greenberg added that the company understands that those two organizations aren’t the end all to be all, but with the amount of people Sodexo wants to get a message out to, a simple six letters would be best to promote sustainable seafood.

“We really want to support farms and fisheries that are engaged in sustainability no matter what type of certification they have,” said Greenberg. “We really should be supporting fisheries and farms that are in pre-certification mode and working toward sustainable objectives.”

The Your Better Choice in Seafood initiative is built on four key platforms: better variety, better taste, better standards and better environment through key partnerships with companies like Slade Gorton, Contessa and CleanFish.

The initiative has taken on a life of its own, according to Greenberg.

“It’s gone to new levels that I never could have imagined,” he said. “We’re going to get really close by 2015. I’m really optimistic at this point in time. We have great partners bringing in new SKUs all the time and driving compliance hard. At the end of this fiscal year we will be in great shape. I can’t see anything but success coming our way.”

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