Greenpeace today released its 2013 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report, which evaluates and ranks supermarkets on their sustainable seafood policies. This year’s report continues the remarkable trend of industry leaders — including some surprising new additions to the list — working toward further sustainability, as well as the continued unsustainability of the industry’s ‘bad guys.’
Greenpeace’s CATO report has evaluated supermarket sustainability since 2008, and up until this year only Safeway and Whole Foods have earned the top “green rating.” This year, three retailers have earned the top rating — Safeway, Whole Foods, and one-time Greenpeace target, Trader Joe’s. In addition, the world’s largest retailer, Walmart, has introduced both fish aggregating device (FAD)-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country, making affordable and responsibly caught canned tuna available to the majority of U.S. consumers for the first time.
The CATO ratings evaluate retailers using a variety of factors — including the sale of “red list” seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply, and the establishment of cohesive internal policies — to score each retailer on a scale of 0-10. Click the infographic below for the full list of rankings.
“It’s great news that Walmart, Safeway and Trader Joe’s are all introducing responsibly caught canned tuna options, at a similar price to the environmentally devastating tuna available from Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee,” said Casson Trenor, Greenpeace Senior Markets Campaigner. “This means there’s now a more sustainable seafood option available to almost every consumer in the country, so people don’t have to choose between their bank account and the planet.”
Trader Joe’s, along with Wegmans and SUPERVALU, have also taken strong stands to protect the delicate Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons of the Bering Sea, home to the billion-dollar pollock industry. These commitments represent significant movement across retailers towards sustainability. The report also showcases other key issues facing the seafood industry, such as a need for more transparency at point-of-sale and a growing groundswell of opposition to genetically modified salmon, a product that numerous major retailers have already pledged to not sell.
“It’s hard to believe that brands like Kroger, Publix and BI-LO are continuing to sell tuna that’s sourced using destructive fishing methods, and sell red-list species that are struggling for survival,” said Trenor. “This seems so far out of step with consumer preferences, which have encouraged most grocery retailers to offer more sustainable seafood options.”
The CATO report is the product of heightened consumer awareness of the destruction caused by certain seafood items, as well as sustained advocacy by environmental groups. This year’s report comes a few months after the release of Greenpeace8-Bit tuna video game, Shark Vs. Mermaid Death Squad, which targeted Starkist, Bumble Bee and Chicken of the Sea, and became an online hit with over two million viewers.