Greenpeace report draws industry criticism

Published on
April 28, 2010

The National Fisheries Institute on Thursday criticized the fourth installment of Greenpeace’s retail seafood sustainability report.

On Wednesday, Greenpeace released an update of its “Carting Away the Oceans” report, which gives supermarkets a passing or failing grade on their seafood sustainability. In the report, Greenpeace said that Target had moved to the top of its sustainability ranking, thanks to its new purchasing policy that includes the removal of all farmed salmon products from its stores.

Wegmans, Whole Foods Market, Safeway, Ahold and Trader Joe’s also made significant gains in Greenpeace’s ranking. However, Greenpeace criticized Publix Super Markets, H.E. Butt, Meijer, Costco, Supervalu and Giant Eagle for declining to publicize most of their seafood sustainability efforts and, in some cases, for not responding to Greenpeace’s requests for information.

Disparaging retailers that have opted not to work with Greenpeace or publicize their seafood sustainability efforts does not help the cause, said NFI President John Connelly.

“This is not a constructive campaign designed to help guide retailer’s efforts at seafood sustainability. Responsible retailers are working hard at seafood sustainability and, just because they don’t cave to all of Greenpeace’s demands, doesn’t mean they are not focusing on this issue,” said Connelly.

Now in its fourth edition in two years, Greenpeace’s retailer scorecard is becoming a distraction for retailers and confusing for consumers, added NFI spokesman Gavin Gibbons. “They are creating a sideshow, and the reports are starting to run together now,” he said.

Greenpeace is likely updating retailer’s rankings so frequently to benefit the organization and its fund-raising efforts, according to Gibbons.

“It makes it look like they are moving the needle. When they first published the report, everybody failed,” said Gibbons. “They are working on fund-raising, rather than using sound science to forward sustainability goals.”

Instead, retailers such as Ahold have developed seafood sustainability programs on their own, with reputable organizations such as the New England Aquarium, said Gibbons.

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