Finally, Stores Earn Fishy Thumbs Up From Greenpeace
While retailers have been gradually cleaning up their fish choices, Greenpeace’s latest ranking of retailers is out -- and for the first time, not just one but two stores have earned its “green” ranking.
Both Whole Foods Market and Safeway took the high scores, the closest the ranking has ever come to “thumbs up” designation. But the Washington, D.C.-based advocacy group says most of the 20 major chains it tracks are doing a better job of promoting sustainable fish: In 2008, for example, 100% failed, earning a “red” rating. This year, 70% passed, with only four chains, Publix, SuperValu, Meijer and bottom-dweller Winn-Dixie, all earning a red rating, its worst.
This is Greenpeace’s sixth ranking, and it has become more closely watched since its 2008 debut, as consumers have grown increasingly concerned about sustainability not just in seafood, but in such other protein sources as poultry, beef and pork. And for retailers, it’s a big deal: Shoppers buy about 50% of all seafood at the fish counter of a supermarket.
One of the major components of the rating system is the sale of “Red List” species, with hoki, orange roughy, Chilean sea bass and shark all considered among the most problematic. Greenpeace gives A&P, Ahold, Aldi, Costco, Meijer, Target, and Wal-Mart high marks for already not selling any of those species. And since 2008, it says the 20 chains included in the ranking have already KO’d 67 red-listed species. The goat in this area, it says, continues to be yellow-rated Kroger, which still sells 17 red-listed species of seafood.
“Retailers have a tremendous amount of power in the seafood industry,” the report says. “Over the past four years, we have seen many companies begin to engage in proactive, thoughtful actions: ending objectionable projects, participating in sector-wide conservation initiatives, and creating sustainable seafood policies that will enable stores to continue to sell seafood in an ethical and responsible manner far into the future.”