Whole Foods Tops Greenpeace’s Annual Sustainable Seafood Scorecard

(Photo: Whole Foods fish heads. Credit: Lynn Friedman, Flickr Creative Commons)

by | Aug 20, 2018

sustainable seafood

(Photo: Whole Foods fish heads. Credit: Lynn Friedman, Flickr Creative Commons)

Greenpeace’s 2018 Supermarket Sustainable Seafood Scorecard ranked 22 US retailers on policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and inventory. Whole Foods, Hy-Vee, Aldi, and Target received leading scores. Save Mart and Wakefern scored the lowest.

Most of the companies profiled in this year’s “Carting Away the Oceans” got passing scores compared to the first Greenpeace report a decade ago, when every retailer failed. Each retailer received identical surveys and had seven weeks to complete it. Retailers were ranked on their overall score on a 1-100-point scale. Above 70 is green, 40 to 69.9 gets a passing yellow, and below 40 is a failing red score.

Surveys were scored independently and consistently, the nonprofit said. Greenpeace also used public information about the retailers. Publix, H-E-B, and Wakefern declined to participate in the survey process.

Whole Foods retained the top spot, which it has held onto for a while. “From launching its new tuna policy to continued advocacy initiatives for improvements in fisheries management, Whole Foods is remaining active on sustainable seafood,” the report said. Greenpeace also highlighted Hy-Vee for its sustainable shelf-stable tuna policy as well as several advocacy initiatives.

“By continuing to implement their policies and seize advocacy opportunities, ALDI and Target moved into the green category,” the scorecard said. “Giant Eagle’s years-long focus on sustainable seafood is bearing fruit: the retailer leapt six spots to round out the top five.”

Sustainable Seafood Struggle

Several retailers dropped down the list. Wegmans fell four spots to sixth place. Greenpeace criticized the retailer’s reintroduction of orange roughy and decision to source farmed Pacific bluefin tuna for special events.

“While other retailers made strong gains, Trader Joe’s dropped seven spots following a lack of initiatives and customer engagement on sustainable seafood,” the report noted. “Price Chopper dropped six spots, underperforming on initiatives and transparency, while Wakefern dropped five spots to scrape the bottom of the rankings.”

Plastic pollution remained a focus given its threat to biodiversity and seafood supply chains. “None of the profiled retailers have major, comprehensive commitments to reduce and ultimately phase out their reliance on single-use plastics,” the Greenpeace analysis noted. “Among the largest US retailers by revenue, Walmart, Kroger, Costco, Ahold Delhaize, Albertsons, and Amazon must urgently address their contribution to the plastic pollution crisis.”

Next Steps

The report urged retailers to use their purchasing power to bring about positive change for oceans and seafood workers. Greenpeace suggested these five ways for supermarket chains to lead:

  1. Create a strong, time-bound, publicly available sustainable seafood policy.
  2. Take action to stop forced labor, labor abuse, and IUU fishing.
  3. Reduce your plastic footprint.
  4. Support initiatives and advocate for positive change for our oceans and seafood workers.
  5. Increase transparency through data, chain of custody, and education.

“Despite the challenges we face,” the report concluded, “the past 10 years have demonstrated that several retailers are willing and able to make significant improvements, to advocate with suppliers, governments, and industry laggards, and to take action — even when difficult.”

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