Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Greenpeace List

Today Greenpeace released a report grading major U.S. supermarkets on sustainability. Most did not do well. The highest rated of the group Whole Foods received only four out of a possible 10.

I was reminded about the presence of this report by an e-mail from Greenpeace despite the fact that I had not been a strong supporter of the group in the past.

Hi Matthew!

Over at Greenpeace I've been looking over tons of blogs on ocean conservation and seafood, ect., and yours has caught my eye. I thought you might be interested in our new report?

From overfishing to bottom trawling to overcrowded fish farms, the seafood industry threatens our marine ecosystems to the point of collapse. Sustainable fishing is a key to maintaining healthy oceans which in turn help stabilize the planetary environment and the climate at large. Greenpeace has just released a unique report detailing the seafood purchasing practices of major American supermarkets, markets who make billions of dollars a year off seafood sales. Ranking the practices of the top 20 markets, the report represents a new approach to tackling the fisheries crisis, holding supermarkets accountable for their role in supporting unsustainable fisheries and aquaculture operations. Pressuring the markets we buy from will push the entire seafood industry into adopting a long-term plan for sustainable fishing.

I hope you find this interesting... thanks for all that you do and keep up the good work!

Greenpeace USA

Thank you Camilla,

I was actually in the process of putting the finishing touches on a post that features a scheme to seed the ocean with iron. A proposal by a past Greenpeace leader, and not supported by the current administration.

We all need to wake up and smell the coffee when it comes to seafood sustainability, and I need to brew another pot while I read the seventy five page report. If you would care to read it you can do so on the Greenpeace site.

I am not sure that the report addresses the possibility that some of these retailers are buying these "red list" species from sustainable sources. Greenpeace flat out says they will not support or endorse any of the non government agencies that have guidelines. While they do not always agree many have come together recently to address these issues, maybe Greenpeace should try to get a seat at that table.


Gavin said...

Matthew, your balanced and thoughtful approach to discussing sustainability is refreshing. It’s wise advice that you offer Greenpeace when you suggest they should try to get a seat at that table as the seafood community and concerned parties discuss sustainability. But I think it may be a bit too late for that. The truth is this latest Greenpeace effort only further marginalizes them— some people don’t realize that Greenpeace threatened stores before this report came out – demanding they remove half of all fish sold or face a poor rating on its Retail Grocery List, that’s not responsible or constructive. Then, when not a single store chain gave in to their demands they simple gave them all a failing grade. John Sackton of Seafood.com wrote, “Comparisons are a lot less effective if you cannot point consumers to any supermarket that serves as a model of what the others should be pressed to achieve.” It’s too bad Greenpeace has muddied the waters of such an important discussion.
National Fisheries Institute

Fishmonger said...


I have to say it was a surprise to me to be contacted by two such diverse groups in the span of just a few days. I know that this issue of seafood sustainability is not going away, and that the National Fisheries Institute knows that as well. This is not a case of black and white, so we must try to approach it in a way that makes it a winning formula for everyone. Of course some will never be happy. I will continue to advocate seafood sustainability by encouraging my customers in restaurants and consumers at the retail level to make good decisions. So my advice to consumers is to use the report in a positive way. By 'curving the grades' consumers can pick from those at the top of the list and still make a difference.