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09/21/2022

The Next Wave of Seafood Sustainability Improvements

Walmart Foundation and World Wildlife Fund partner to protect seascapes and enhance seafood sourcing practices
Lynn Petrak
Senior Editor
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Healthy ocean
Through a new collaboration, the Walmart Foundation and WWF are launching a holistic approach to sustainable seafood.

In another sustainability-driven sea change, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is teaming up with the Walmart Foundation on an 18-month collaboration aimed at improving seafood practices within specific geographies. The partnership is part of a greater effort to transform seafood sourcing using a more “nature-positive” approach.

“To achieve net positive impacts on our oceans and the people that depend on them, we need to evolve to consider more systematic and holistic improvements across the critical seascapes we seek to protect,” explained Caroline Tippett, VP of ocean markets and finance at WWF’s U.S. office, adding, “We are thrilled for Walmart Foundation’s support on this initiative.”

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The collaboration focuses on three areas for long-term improvements. The first pillar is the creation of guidelines for the development of a jurisdictional approach to seascape problems and solutions. The second pillar examines the development and piloting of innovative financing to scale fisheries improvement, and the third pillar will help build an infrastructure for the implementation of electronic catch documentation and traceability tools.

Julie Gehrki, VP and COO of the Walmart Foundation, said that the work of the partnership is crucial in today’s operating environment. “Aquaculture is poised for exponential growth to meet global seafood demand, and with impending impacts on climate, there is an urgent need to meaningfully address ocean health. Piloting innovative financial vehicles to support fisheries’ adoption of traceable and responsible practices in the biodiverse seascape of Chile is a demonstrable example of how the Walmart Foundation is committed to connecting the dots between climate and biodiversity,” she said.

On that note, WWF and Walmart Foundation will pilot the new approach in the biodiverse marine ecosystem in Chile. That area is vulnerable to overfishing, illegal fishing and habitat degradation, among other environmental challenges.

Earlier this summer, Walmart shared its latest ESG progress and goals, pledging to protect, more sustainably manage or restore at least one million square miles of ocean by 2030. Walmart buyers and sellers currently use the Seafood Metrics System managed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership to measure and track supplier performance on sustainable sourcing. The retailer’s ocean initiatives span conservation, restoration of coastal landscapes, and more sustainable management of fisheries and aquaculture.

Each week, approximately 230 million customers and members visit Walmart’s more than 10,500 stores and numerous e-commerce websites under 46 banners in 24 countries. The Bentonville, Ark.-based company employs approximately 2.3 million associates worldwide. Walmart U.S. is No. 1 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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