Safeway, FishWise Team Up for Sustainable Seafood

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Safeway, FishWise Team Up for Sustainable Seafood

Safeway, Inc. plans to join forces with FishWise — a nonprofit organization focused on improving the sustainability and financial performance of seafood retailers, distributors, and producers — to develop and implement a more comprehensive sustainable seafood policy.

The partnership will strengthen Safeway’s earlier commitments to environmentally responsible seafood by requiring suppliers to participate in sustainability assessments and sourcing improvement plans, training staff on the company’s sustainability policy, and providing science-based information on sustainable seafood to Safeway customers.

“We hope this partnership will lead to a more sustainable product selection for our customers as well as improved transparency with our suppliers, and ultimately, healthy oceans and freshwater ecosystems for future generations,” said Jim Bluming, Safeway VP, seafood marketing.

By deploying a detailed sourcing assessment on behalf of Safeway, FishWise will prioritize suppliers and products for environmental improvement plans. These plans will be developed and implemented over the coming years, helping Safeway’s seafood procurement to become more sustainable over time. The grocer will implement a traceability system to screen out suppliers of seafood products not meeting its new sustainable seafood policy. In addition, Safeway has agreed to discontinue the sale of grouper, red snapper (Lutjanus campechanus), and monkfish until these overfished stocks recover. FishWise will also draw upon its experience working with other retailers to develop a staff-training program on the key components of seafood sustainability.

“We believe Safeway is an industry leader in establishing responsible business practices and we are eager to demonstrate how this can lead to verifiable conservation gains,” said Tobias Aguirre, executive director of Santa Cruz, Calif.-based FishWise.

The agreement between Safeway and FishWise is consistent with the Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood, which is an ambitious but realistic guide to environmentally responsible seafood for businesses, developed by more than 15 of North America’s leading ocean conservation organizations.

Pleasanton, Calif.-based Safeway operates 1,730 stores in the United States and western Canada, and had annual sales of $44.1 billion in 2008.