Whole Foods Market’s canned tuna sourcing earns top marks from Greenpeace
Retailer recognized for strict purchasing policies, transparency and commitment to one-by-one catch methods
AUSTIN, Texas (April 19, 2017) – In the 2017 Greenpeace Canned Tuna Shopping Guide, Whole Foods Market’s 365 Everyday Value® canned tuna earned a green ranking, identified as a best choice for consumers. Whole Foods Market is the only retailer whose private label brand earned a top score, and the company was named as an industry leader for its new storewide canned tuna sourcing policy.
The Greenpeace ranking evaluated the practices of 20 brands, including whether the fishing method used to catch tuna harms other marine life, whether brands avoid shark finning, and whether they can trace their products back to the source. In addition, Greenpeace examined the equitability and social responsibility of tuna brands.
Greenpeace recognized Whole Foods Market as the first and only retailer to require all canned tuna sold in stores to be caught using pole-and-line, troll, or handline catch methods, which catch fish one at a time, limiting catches, preventing bycatch and supporting livelihoods in coastal communities.
“We have created our own standards for canned tuna at Whole Foods Market to address overfishing and bycatch issues that are common in conventional tuna fisheries,” said Carrie Brownstein, Whole Foods Market’s global seafood quality standards coordinator. “Shifting purchases to sustainable options and having strong traceability to verify our sourcing will have a positive impact on our oceans and the fishing communities who depend on these tuna fisheries to support their livelihoods. Earning another top ranking from Greenpeace is an honor and we hope it inspires others in the industry to take further steps towards greater sustainability.”
In addition to the one-by-one catch methods, Whole Foods Market’s new canned tuna sourcing policy ensures fisheries are certified sustainable by the Marine Stewardship Council or rated green or yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium and The Safina Center. Every supplier must also use Trace Register, traceability software that tracks each lot of tuna at every point from vessel to can. The traceability data are continuously crosschecked to help verify sourcing and prevent illegally-caught or unauthorized fish from entering the supply chain.
"This commitment from Whole Foods Market sets the bar for other retailers to follow,” said David Pinsky, author of Greenpeace’s canned Tuna Shopping Guide. “Whole Foods Market requires catch methods that benefit small-scale fisheries and significantly reduce the likelihood of human rights violations. It's great to see this policy extend to the prepared foods department, as well as all the brands on store shelves, driving additional change beyond the company’s private label canned tuna.”
Ranked third overall, 365 Everyday Value® joins the two brands tied for the top ranking – American Tuna and Wild Planet – on Whole Foods Market shelves, contributing to the retailer’s largest selection of sustainable, responsibly-sourced canned tuna. In the 2016 report, Greenpeace identified Whole Foods Market’s selection of canned tuna as the best of any major U.S. retailer.
These continual advancements in policies and sourcing are part of Whole Foods Market’s mission to create a model that moves the seafood industry toward greater sustainability.