Largest US Foodservice Distributor Commits to Sustainable Seafood

Sysco (NYSE: SYY), the largest foodservice distributor in the US, announced it will sell only responsibly-sourced seafood by 2015.

The company announced it would work with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) to develop a sustainable fish policy.

WWF will first assess how Sysco sources its top 10 seafood species, which represents about 52% of the seafood it sells: wild-caught tuna, clams, cod, pollock, shrimp, scallops, salmon, calamari, lobster and crab. Once that information is gathered, they will work together to develop a strategy.

Sysco will also encourage its tuna suppliers to work with the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation to move toward long-term procurement of sustainable, MSC-certified tuna sources.

Bluefin Tuna, widely used in sushi, is one of the most critically endangered fish species in the world, with less than 10% of fish stocks remaining.

WWF’s Sustainable Seafood Initiative focuses on making trade and seafood harvesting more sustainable. WWF will work collaboratively with Sysco’s suppliers to change practices across the supply chain to achieve Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) sustainability standards.

WWF also coordinates multi-stakeholder roundtables, called Aquaculture Dialogues, to minimize the negative environmental and social impacts associated with aquaculture.

"Securing responsible fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems is only possible by working with the fishing and aquaculture industries along their entire seafood supply chain," says Bill Fox, vice president and managing director of WWF’s fisheries program. "We are excited to work with Sysco to identify tangible, ambitious strategies that will help lead the industry to more sustainable seafood sourcing practices."

Sysco operates 177 distribution facilities serving 400,000 customers. For the most recent fiscal year, they had record sales of more than $39 billion.

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