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03/01/2011 11:19 AM     print story email story  

Sodexo, Costco Make Sustainable Seafood Commitments News

Major food retailers Sodexo and Costco (Nasdaq: COST) separately made commitments this week to sustainable seafood.

Sodexo, Inc. announced a comprehensive Sustainable Seafood Initiative, including a commitment to have 100% of its contracted fresh and frozen seafood certified as sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) by 2015.

Sodexo's Sustainable Seafood Initiative is part of Sodexo's Better Tomorrow Plan, the company's global roadmap for sustainability. The commitment to source sustainable seafood is one of 14 Better Tomorrow commitments to the environment, nutrition, health & wellness, and support for local communities.

The Initiative is in line with Sodexo's newly developed global seafood strategy based on 5 key pillars:

  1. Maintain a wide variety of species in Sodexo's catalogues and menus
  2. Ban species at risk and implement control measures for others
  3. Increase use of Eco-standards or labels
  4. Set up supply for sustainable aquaculture
  5. Develop sourcing according to an established technical agreement between Sodexo and WWF

A forthcoming global seafood policy will provide guidance for concrete actions to sustainably source seafood throughout the world in the 80 countries in which Sodexo operates.

Teaming with the Marine Stewardship Council and the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Sodexo said it will review all wild caught and farm raised seafood purchases and help identify the sustainability of its seafood supply. Short, medium and long term goals will be set with contracted seafood vendors to source and sell certified sustainable seafood to meet the 2015 goal.

In addition, Sodexo is partnering with the organizations NSF Surefish, CleanFish and Koch Foods to monitor and communicate on its efforts.

Costco Revises Seafood Policy

Costco Corporation revised its sustainability seafood policy and will discontinue sales of twelve kinds of fish associated with severe environmental concerns, including shark, orange roughy, Chilean sea bass, and Atlantic halibut.

Costco, one of the largest seafood retailers in the Western Hemisphere, also pledged to pursue aquaculture certification standards that support best practices, as farmed salmon and farmed shrimp are two of its largest volume items.

Greenpeace USA congratulated Costco and suspended its campaign to persuade Costco to improve its seafood practices in recognition of the progress demonstrated by the retail titan.

Based on the significant shift announced by Costco, the company is likely to leap up the charts on Greenpeace's forthcoming annual Carting Away the Oceans seafood sustainability ranking. The next edition of the report is due to be released this April.

Given Costco's size and market share the changes announced by the company today will have far reaching implications for the industry and significant benefits for marine ecosystems, Greenpeace said in a release.

Costco's policy states that the company may continue to sell these discontinued species if they are certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), which is the most recognized independent certifier of sustainable fisheries.

"We recognize that Costco is moving in the right direction," said Casson Trenor, Senior Markets Campaigner for Greenpeace. "That said, Greenpeace shares the concerns some scientists and environmental groups have voiced about the MSC and its standards. 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."

In the coming months, Greenpeace said it will continue to focus on the canned tuna sector and its impact on the planet.

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