Greenpeace’s CATO report has evaluated supermarket sustainability since 2008 and, up until this year, only Safeway and Whole Foods have earned the “green rating,” but this year the CATO report features three green-rated retailers—Safeway, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s. In addition, retail giant Walmart has introduced both fish aggregating device (FAD)-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country, making affordable and responsibly-caught canned tuna available to the majority of the population of the U.S. for the first time, Greenpeace says.
The CATO ratings evaluate retailers using a variety of factors—including the sale of “red list” seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply and the establishment of cohesive internal policies—to score each retailer on a scale of 0-10.
“It’s great news that Walmart, Safeway and Trader Joe’s are all introducing responsibly-caught canned tuna options, at a similar price to the environmentally devastating tuna available from Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee,” says Casson Trenor, Greenpeace senior markets campaigner. “This means there’s now a more sustainable seafood option available to almost every consumer in the country, so people don’t have to choose between their bank account and the planet.”
Additionally, Greenpeace says Wegmans, Supervalu and Trader Joe’s have taken strong stands to protect the Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons of the Bering Sea, home to the billion-dollar pollock industry. These commitments, according to Greenpeace, show significant movement across retailers toward sustainability.
The report also showcases other key issues facing the seafood industry, such as a need for more transparency at point of sale and a growing groundswell of opposition to genetically modified salmon, a product that numerous major retailers have already pledged not to sell, according to Greenpeace.
“It’s hard to believe that brands like Kroger, Publix and BI-LO are continuing to sell tuna that’s sourced using destructive fishing methods, and sell red list species that are struggling for survival,” says Trenor. “This seems so far out of step with consumer preferences, which have encouraged most grocery retailers to offer more sustainable seafood options.”
The CATO report, according to Greenpeace, is the product of heightened consumer awareness of the destruction caused by certain seafood items, as well as sustained advocacy by environmental groups.