Greenpeace again grades Canadian retailers

Greenpeace on Wednesday graded Canada’s major supermarket chains according to their sustainable seafood sourcing policies for the second consecutive year, and, this time around, only one of eight retailers earned a passing mark — barely. Last year, all eight retailers failed.

The report, “Taking Stock: Ranking Supermarkets on Seafood Sustainability,” was released at a press conference in Montreal. While some retailers made progress, others are still ignoring sustainable seafood initiatives and selling species on Greenpeace’s red list, according to the environmental activist organization. Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallops, haddock and swordfish are among the red-listed species.

“Supermarkets have stopped selling imperiled species such as shark, skates and bluefin tuna, which are not big sellers,” said Beth Hunter, Greenpeace oceans campaign coordinator. “Now retailers need to focus on no longer selling fish that may be consumer favorites but are still destructively fished or farmed.”

At 51 percent, Overwaitea received the only passing grade in the Greenpeace report, up from just 9 percent in 2009. Loblaw came next at 41 percent, followed by Safeway at 36 percent, Walmart at 28 percent, Metro at 21 percent, Sobeys at 14 percent, Federated Cooperatives at 12 percent and Costco at 7 percent. Only Costco didn’t show any improvement, which Greenpeace blamed on its inability to discontinue sales of red-listed species.

A number of Canadian retailers, including OverwaiteaLoblawMetro and Federated Cooperatives, have in recent months publicized their efforts to develop and implement a sustainable seafood sourcing policy.

Greenpeace followed the release of its report with demonstrations in Vancouver, as activists dressed up as red-listed species.

The group also grades the United States’ major supermarket chains according to their sustainable seafood sourcing policies. “Carting Away the Oceans: How Grocery Stores Are Emptying the Seas” was published for the third time last June.

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