As one of the country’s largest grocers, Albertsons Companies recognizes its responsibility to protect our natural resources. Protecting our oceans is critical for maintaining the availability of seafood for future generations and the health of our planet.
What does “responsibly sourced” mean?
Responsibly sourced seafood is fished or farmed in a way that safeguards future seafood supplies while minimizing impacts on surrounding ecosystems.
Look for items marked “Responsible Choice” while you shop at any of our local supermarkets. That means they are considered a “Best Choice” or a “Good Alternative” by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch® program, or they are certified to an equal standard. When you purchase “Responsible Choice” seafood from your neighborhood store, you can feel proud to be making a healthy decision for you, your family and the environment.
To accomplish our goal, we partnered with FishWise, a California-based nonprofit organization that works with companies to conserve marine resources through environmentally responsible business practices. Safeway began a partnership with FishWise in 2010 to develop and implement a more comprehensive sustainable seafood policy. With the merger completed between the two companies in January 2015, FishWise is now bringing its data-driven approach and environmental expertise to the Company’s stores nationwide.
This partnership strengthens efforts to monitor global seafood sustainability issues and make informed purchasing decisions. FishWise will work with the Company’s banners to gather vendor and product information, and assess the unique opportunities for each Albertsons banner. “We will be building upon the Company’s past ocean conservation work, bringing in our scientific expertise and collaborative approach to forge solutions,” says FishWise Executive Director Tobias Aguirre.
In 2011, Safeway set a progressive, industry-leading goal for all fresh and frozen seafood to be responsibly caught or farmed, or to come from sources making credible improvements. Safeway banners are on track to accomplish the goal by the end of 2015, with over 75% of their seafood sourcing already in compliance. “Safeway has made tremendous progress these past four years by improving existing sources and also bringing in new environmentally responsible products. Innovative partnerships with suppliers that are willing to engage have been a key factor in the project’s success thus far,” says Aguirre.
Together with FishWise, we’re continually educating our staff and customers on environmental issues and collaborating with suppliers to source seafood more responsibly.
Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Ratings
Albertsons Companies seafood policy incorporates a widely recognized and credible seafood rating system developed by the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program. The ratings utilize a traffic light system for wild and farmed seafood recommendations, whereby a Green rating signifies environmentally preferred sources, a Yellow rating indicates a seafood source with some environmental concerns, and a Red rating applies to fisheries or farms with major environmental concerns. Scientifically based, reports undergo a rigorous peer review process by experts and are updated every three years.
- Green means “Best Choice”: Buy first, they’re well managed and caught or farmed in ways that cause little harm to habitats or other wildlife.
- Yellow means “Good Alternative”: Buy, but be aware there are concerns with how they’re caught or farmed.
- Red means “Avoid”: Don’t buy, they’re overfished or caught or farmed in ways that harm other marine life or the environment.
How is Sustainability Determined?
For seafood to be considered ‘traceable’, it must be able to be traced from a store back through the supply chain to its point of harvest by a vessel or farm. Fully traceable seafood is crucial for ensuring food safety, verifying sustainability, and avoiding products that are high risk of being illegally harvested or associated with human rights abuses. Knowing where and how our seafood was caught helps our divisions choose products from responsible sources and share information with our customers that want to know more about their seafood.
Major actions we have taken include:
- Sharing traceability expectations with vendors
- Collecting, reviewing, and verifying source data on seafood products annually
- Conducting paperwork traceability exercises on seafood products, tracing products from our stores all the way back to its harvest
- Engaging with other major retailers, environmental and social NGOs, and industry to address the issue of traceability and illegal fishing in global seafood supply chains
- Sent a letter of support to the House of Representatives and Senate, urging for swift passage of H.R. 774 and S.1334 , a bill to strengthen the U.S.’ role and enforcement capabilities in combating illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing
Human Rights in Seafood Supply Chains
Major actions we have taken include:
- Launched the first ever Fair Trade Certified seafood product (available in Albertsons, ACME, Safeway, Vons, and Pavilions stores)
- Participated in a panel on human rights at the world’s largest seafood sustainability conference, the SeaWeb Seafood Summit
- Required our high risk suppliers to document how they are addressing human trafficking in their supply chains
- Engaged with other major retailers, environmental and social NGOs, and industry to address the issue of human rights abuses in the seafood sector in Thailand and around the world