During the last week of September, as world leaders gathered in New York to confront global climate change, Publix Super Markets convened more than 90 seafood suppliers and sustainability leaders for Publix’s 2019 Seafood Sustainability Summit. The summit, which included sessions led by long-time partners Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and National Fisheries Institute (NFI), commemorated the halfway point on Target75 goals, outlined the ways in which continued pre-competitive collaboration will enable the group to further improve sustainable fishing practices globally in 2020 and detailed the active steps Publix is taking to improve supply chain transparency.
Target75, which aims to ensure that 75 percent of the world’s seafood production in key sectors is—at a minimum—either sustainable or making regular, verifiable improvements, mirrors many of the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14—Life Below Water. SFP founder and CEO Jim Cannon said, “Publix is an engaged retailer and you are engaged suppliers,” and encouraged summit attendees to reach harder-to-engage global players and help advance additional progress toward Target75 goals.
With suppliers from as far away as Chile, representing fisheries that produce over 200 items (including everything from salmon and snapper to Gulf Coast shrimp) the summit took place at Publix’s headquarters in Lakeland, Florida. In addition to discussing Target75, the agenda included how to develop best aquaculture practices and highlighted Publix’s new sustainable, responsible and GreenWise seafood labels, as well as the 2020 rollout of newly designed frozen seafood packaging.
Guy Pizzuti, category manager seafood for Publix, emphasized building consumer confidence in sustainable seafood through increased accountability and transparency. To that end, Publix will be conducting reverse audits on sustainable practices data self-reported by suppliers into the Metric Dashboard, used by SFP to rate fisheries and by Publix to determine which seafood products have earned sustainable and responsible certifications.
Pizzuti, who has been leading the sustainable seafood movement at Publix since 2009, emphasized the need to continue working together for the greater good of the industry and the oceans. “We’ve still got work to do, and there are people in this room who can make it happen. We can’t move forward independently. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together.”