UK retailer upgrades tuna policy, commitments and deadline included for brands

Published on
January 30, 2017

Co-op has introduced a new tuna sourcing policy that extends its own commitments and for the first time also holds brands to account.

The U.K. retailer has widened its tuna sourcing policy to include the branded canned tuna suppliers Princes and John West. It has set a deadline of the end of 2017 for tuna under these brands to be sourced from fisheries improvement projects (FIPs) working toward the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard.

Co-op’s deadline to branded suppliers is part of its revamped tuna commitments. Its own brand tuna pole-and-line sourced policy has been widened to ensure its fisheries are either MSC-certified or part of a FIP. In addition, all branded canned tuna has to be in a FIP by the end of the year.

“Consumers are rightly concerned about fish stocks and the methods used to catch fish. We’ve been a leader in sustainable tuna sourcing but have now extended our commitments,” said Cathryn Higgs, head of food policy at Co-op.

“We are also setting out clear expectations for branded tuna suppliers because of concern from consumers about protecting tuna fisheries for future generations,” she said.

Ruth Simpson, Corporate Relations Director at Princes, said that achieving long-term tuna sustainability is an ongoing priority for the company’s business.

Since July last year, Princes has had a public commitment to source its tuna from fisheries that are MSC certified or in a FIP with the objective of MSC certification.

John West Foods Ltd. also welcomed Co-op’s extended tuna commitment, which mirrored its own, said the company’s Managing Director, Paul Reenan.

The supplier would be able to meet Co-op’s new tuna sustainability commitments and deadline, he said.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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