Tesco delists some John West tuna due to sustainability concerns

Published on
July 26, 2016

The United Kingdom’s biggest supermarket chain, Tesco, is to remove certain tuna products manufactured by John West from its shelves, saying they fail to meet its sustainability standards.

Since 2012, all of Tesco’s own-label tinned tuna sold in the United Kingdom has been fished using sustainable catch methods. This commitment was extended to all tuna used as an ingredient in the retailer’s own-brand sandwiches, pastas and salads. 

The tuna sources that Tesco accepts are pole-and-line, fish aggregating device (FAD) -free and Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) -certified, though to date all its own label canned tuna and tuna used as ingredient has been from pole-and-line fisheries since 2012.

In his latest Blog, Tim Smith, group quality director at Tesco, said the company wanted to take its commitments on quality sustainable tuna further, and had earlier this year announced it would take steps to make sure all the tuna on its shelves, including branded tuna products, met its requirements.

“We said we would subject our branded suppliers’ sustainability plans to a review, to make sure they had credible plans in place to meet these requirements,” said Smith.

“We have now completed our review, and as a result have decided to delist a number of core John West lines with effect from the end of July. Our customers will still see some John West tuna products on our shelves, and we are working with John West on a plan for these remaining lines to be converted to sustainable tuna sources as soon as possible. We are proud of the progress we have made so far, and are committed to continuing to work in partnership with John West, other brands and our NGO partners to do everything we can to make high-quality, sustainable fish available for our customers,” said Smith.

Smith said Tesco’s work on fish follows a series of measures taken that are designed to help build trusted and transparent partnerships with its suppliers and make sure more of its quality products are sourced sustainably.

Steps have included guaranteed high value contracts for British potato growers, sustainable farming programs for lamb farmers and producers of cheese, a Fair For Farmers Guarantee for fresh milk, and making sure that all the cocoa required for its own-label chocolate sold in the United Kingdom will be from Rainforest Alliance Certified sources by the end of 2018.

Contributing Editor reporting from London, UK

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