Greenpeace will now keep concentrating on the canned tuna industry’s effects on fisheries. (Photo: Greenpeace)
Costco revises seafood sustainability policy
Friday, February 25, 2011, 23:10 (GMT + 9)
Greenpeace USA this week applauded retailer Costco Corporation’s newly revised policy on seafood sustainability. The policy spans most of Costco’s seafood inventory and involves halting the sales of 12 kinds of fish associated with severe environmental concerns, such as shark, orange roughy, Chilean sea bass and Atlantic halibut.
As well, Costco – a major seafood retailer in the Western Hemisphere -- vowed to seek aquaculture certification standards that support best practices and especially regarding farmed salmon and farmed shrimp, which are two of its biggest volume items.
“It is important that the items we offer our customers are those that we can continue to provide well into the future and to provide responsibly,” stated Jeff Lyons, Costco senior vice president. “Our policy will help us to continue to meet the demands of our customers, who look to us for high quality items at great value.”
In response to the chain’s move, the green organisation may move up the charts on the next approaching annual Carting Away the Oceans seafood sustainability ranking due out this April.
"This new policy is a sign of tremendous progress, and we are indebted to the thousands of Greenpeace supporters who told Costco they wanted to buy sustainable seafood," said Senior Markets Campaigner for Greenpeace Casson Trenor. "While there is still a long way to go, we are very pleased with the steps that Costco has taken and their ongoing commitments.”
In light of Costco’s size and market share, its new seafood sustainability policy will have sweeping implications for the industry and noteworthy benefits for marine ecosystems, Greenpeace asserted.
"Costco’s progress is further proof that sustainable business practices and the seafood industry not only can come together, but in fact must do so," said Executive Director of Greenpeace USA Phil Radford. "Unless we stop pretending that we can catch, farm, and sell as much fish as we like, we will find ourselves with empty nets and empty oceans.”
Costco’s policy says the company may still sell the discontinued species if they are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) – whose standards have provoked concerns for Greenpeace as well as some scientists and other environmental groups.
“Hopefully a progressive company like Costco will use its significant purchasing power to push the MSC to continue to improve and become the gold standard that we all hope it will be,” Trenor added.
Greenpeace will now keep concentrating on the canned tuna industry’s effects on fisheries.
“The language in Costco’s revised policy indicates an awareness of tuna as a challenge that needs to be addressed,” said Radford. “We are hopeful that Costco will lead the charge on making this a more sustainable sector.”
In August, Costco ceased selling Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, Chilean sea bass, orange roughy, shark, swordfish and bluefin tuna - species currently facing depletion due to overfishing. Further, the retailer pledged to begin compliance with Aquaculture Dialogues for salmon and shrimp and partner with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to make sure countries such as Thailand abide by these Dialogues.
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By Natalia Real
Photo Courtesy of FIS Member Greenpeace International - The Netherlands | Headquarters