Safeway Commits to Sustainable Seafood

Safeway, one of the largest supermarket chains in the US, is  implementing an ambitious sustainable seafood policy. 

The policy focuses on four areas: formation of a sustainable seafood task force; supplier outreach; staff training and customer outreach. Information about the policy is now displayed at most Safeway seafood departments. 

The company says it wants to develop a reputation for pursuing growth through leadership in environmental, socially responsible and ethical business practices.

Safeway is working with FishWise, a non-profit focused on improving the sustainability of seafood retailers, distributors, and producers.

Safeway says it’s advocating for Marine Protected Areas where fishing isn’t allowed to help fish populations recover. In California, Safeway is a proponent of the Marine Life Protection Act Initiative, which balances the use and conservation of living marine resources through a statewide network of protected areas.

It’s also pledged not to buy or sell toothfish (Chilean Sea Bass) harvested from Antarctica’s Ross Sea, one the last pristine marine areas on earth. It’s encouraging member countries of the Conservation of Antarctic Marine Living Resources to designate the entire Ross Sea as a Marine Protected Area.

Last week, Greenpeace updated a report that rates the top 20 supermarket chains on seafood sustainability. Safeway rose from 5th place to the Top because of its commitment to the Ross Sea.

Safeway got a score of 64.61, followed by Target and Wegmans – tied at 63.74. Wegmans is the only other supermarket chain to make a commitment regarding the Ross Sea. Whole Foods follows with a 61.77 score.

Safeway is also: 

It is not selling "Red List" species such as bluefin tuna and shark. 

Supporting groups such as the Food Marketing Institute’s Sustainable Seafood Working Group, the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions and the World Wildlife Fund’s Aquaculture Dialogues.

Encouraging unsustainable fisheries and aquaculture farms to establish credible projects that meet Safeway’s purchasing policy and result in measurable conservation gains. 

Buying from sources that are working towards eliminating negative environmental impacts associated with traditional harvesting and production methods, like coho salmon and shrimp from contained aquaculture production and handline caught tuna from Indonesia.

Here’s the Greenpeace supermarket ranking:

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