Aramark doubles down on Seafood Watch recommendations in new sourcing policy

Published on
December 7, 2016

Aramark, one of the United States’ largest institutional foodservice providers, plans to purchase more sustainable seafood.

While Aramark has had an internal seafood policy, which included the goal of sourcing from Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch-approved suppliers since 2008, its new external policy heightens its commitment to purchase sustainable seafood.

Its new Sustainable Seafood Sourcing Policy reinforces a pledge to purchase 100 percent of its U.S.-contracted seafood from responsible sources – as defined as meeting Seafood Watch recommendation – by 2018. The company is also working to avoid the purchase of “at risk species,” as defined by Seafood Watch and will support responsible management practices, including those that address human rights abuses in the seafood industry.

The foodservice giant purchases 8.5 milion pounds worth of seafood annually in the U.S. alone, according to Kathy Cacciola, senior director of environmental sustainability at Aramark.

The new policy “details principles that help guide our sourcing practices, purchasing commitments and standards for fresh, frozen and shelf-stable (e.g. canned tuna) seafood for both wild-caught and farm-raised products, and supplier expectations to ensure our seafood products are sourced responsibly and sustainably,” Cacciola told SeafoodSource.

As part of its heightened sustainability commitment, Aramark is working with its suppliers to identify sustainably sourced products such as frozen shrimp and salmon, Cacciola said. Aramark aims to purchase only “Best Choice” or “Good Alternative" seafood, as identified by SeafoodWatch, as well as specific eco-certified products recommended by Seafood Watch, “including but not limited to certain species certified by organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, Aquaculture Stewardship Council or Global Aquaculture Alliance,” according to the policy.

Since 2008, Aramark has made “measurable progress” in its sustainable seafood commitment, including “ensuring our contracted frozen finfish purchases meet the Seafood Watch ‘Best Choice’ and ‘Good Alternative’ recommendations, and completing the transition to sustainably-sourced canned skipjack and albacore tuna in the U.S.,” Cacciola said.

The company also reviews its purchases annually to drive toward the exclusion of red “Avoid” species identified by Seafood Watch, according to the new policy.

“In other countries where we operate, we also refer to SeaChoice, Marine Conservation Society, International Union for Conservation of Nature, World Wildlife Fund and other locally relevant and globally recognized organization,” the policy states. Aramark will also source from Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) that meet criteria outlined by the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions or Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs), based on guidance provided by Seafood Watch.

Aramark also said suppliers should expect “swift and decisive action in unforeseen cases of illegal, unethical or unsustainable practices, or expect termination of our business relationship,” the policy concludes.

Contributing Editor



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