The Walton Family Foundation and the James Beard Foundation have introduced the Three Sustainable Steps campaign to encourage consumers to ask restaurants and retailers for sustainable seafood, voice their preference for sustainability, and thank restaurants and retailers who uphold these practices.
Rolled out in advance of Valentine's Day, one of the biggest days for dining out, the campaign aims to reinforce the idea that simple actions can reverberate through the global supply chain and have a positive effect on the ocean.
“No matter where you live, seafood can be sourced sustainably,” said Teresa Ish, program officer for the Oceans Initiative, Walton Family Foundation, in Bentonville, Ark. “All over the world, we are working with fishermen to help them adopt sustainable practices so that we can protect species vulnerable to overfishing and preserve the habitats the ocean species need to thrive. Consumers demanding sustainable seafood, whether in a restaurant or in a grocery store, is an essential component to accelerating change in the marketplace.”
The foundation, which was established by the family that owns mega-retailer Walmart, has invested in U.S. fisheries to support sustainability of West Coast groundfish (also known as rockfish), Gulf of Mexico snapper, Alaskan salmon and pollock. Consumers can also find Marine Stewardship Council certification on packaging in stores; the blue fish logo indicates that a product has been sustainably sourced.
The James Beard Foundation’s Smart Catch program offers training and support for chefs across the United States to help them serve fish farmed or fished in environmentally responsible ways. The program also includes suppliers offering diverse, traceable and sustainable seafood.
“Hundreds of restaurants nationwide have made the commitment, through our Smart Catch program, to serve seafood from more sustainable sources,” noted Katherine Miller, VP of impact at the New York-based James Beard Foundation. “These chefs and culinary leaders are protecting our oceans, even in cities far from the coasts. Diners choosing to dine at these restaurants, and requesting sustainably sourced dishes every time they dine, will help grow this movement.”
Importing almost two-thirds of the world’s globally traded seafood products, the United States, Japan, and Spain annually purchase more than $3.66 billion of seafood exported from Mexico, Peru, Chile and Indonesia. Currently, 30 percent of the global seafood market is sustainable or on the path to sustainability.
Walmart operates more than 11,300 stores under 58 banners in 27 countries, and ecommerce websites, employing 2.2 million-plus associates worldwide. The company is No. 1 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States.