The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Why Do Unsustainable Tuna Brands Dominate Shelf Space in Grocery Stores?
Greenpeace Canada has released the fourth edition of its Canned Tuna Sustainability Ranking, revealing that despite the number of responsibly-caught tuna products quadrupling in Canada since Greenpeace's first ranking in 2011, shoppers seeking better options still struggle in some major grocery chains because unsustainable brands dominate shelf space.
"We are seeing more and more responsibly-caught tuna products on store shelves in Canada each year, which is positive for our oceans and tuna customers," said Sarah King, senior oceans strategist with Greenpeace Canada. "What we are not seeing is strong enough action by major supermarket chains to direct consumers toward those more sustainable options and remove unsustainably-caught tuna from shelves."
Seventeen companies were assessed by Greenpeace on their efforts to ensure their supply chains meet strong sustainability and social responsibility requirements. Fourteen of these companies offer at least one product caught with more sustainable fishing methods, including pole and line, troll or purse seines fishing without harmful fish aggregating devices (FADs), and five have a commitment to only offer responsibly-caught tuna.
Well-known eco brands top this year's ranking with Raincoast Trading (1st), Wild Planet Foods (2nd) and Whole Foods Market (365 Everyday brand) (3rd) placing in the green category for their commitments and dedication to only offering more sustainable and socially responsible tuna under their brands. Canada's second largest tuna company, Ocean Brands, teetered into the green category for achieving its goal to source its "light meat" tuna from more sustainable fishing methods, along with its revamped labour standards and wider plans to tackle its longline-caught albacore to reduce bycatch of non-tuna species.
"With Ocean's, a major national brand, committing to source from better fisheries for all its products, there is a real opportunity for major positive change in tuna aisles across Canada," added King. "Offering one responsibly-caught product doesn't go far enough. While change does not happen overnight, various companies have stalled too long in ensuring their supply chains aren't putting vulnerable ocean life and seafood workers, at risk."
In-store surveys conducted across the 10 ranked supermarket chains found that products labeled with a more sustainable fishing method were not easy to find across the board. Responsibly-caught products were reported to be more available and prominent in Whole Foods, Federated Co-operatives (Co-op), Overwaitea Food Group owned stores, Choices Markets and Costco than in the three biggest Canadian chains—Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro. People reported the worst experiences in Walmart and Longo's, with Longo's surveys revealing no eco options available. Surveys also revealed that Clover Leaf—a brand with no visible eco options under its flagship brand—took up more shelf space at poorly rated chains, whereas more favorably rated chains had responsibly-caught house brands or Ocean's, a brand with various responsibly-caught products, as the most prominent products featured.
Greenpeace is calling on tuna buyers in key global markets to only source responsibly-caught and traceable tuna to help protect marine biodiversity and ensure seafood worker safety. Poor supply chain transparency, weak fisheries management and problematic practices such as transshipment at sea continue to create the conditions for illegal and destructive practices.
Shoppers seeking guidance in the tuna aisle are encouraged to consult the ranking and the newly updated Tuna Guide for Healthier Oceans that rates dozens of products beyond the 17 ranked companies.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
The Parties to CITES agreed to list giraffes on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) today at the World Wildlife Conference or CoP18 in Geneva. Such protections will ensure that all giraffe parts trade were legally acquired and not sourced from the poached giraffes trade and will require countries to make non-detriment findings before allowing giraffe exports. The listing will also enable the collection of international trade data for giraffes that might justify greater protections at both CITES and other venues in the future.
The WHO stressed that more research is needed on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion. luchschen / iStock / Getty Images Plus
The UN's health agency on Thursday said that microplastics contained in drinking water posed a "low" risk at their current levels.
However, the World Health Organization (WHO) — in its first report on the potential health risks of microplastic ingestion — also stressed more research was needed to reassure consumers.
'This is a Sick Statement': Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Under Pressure for Anti-Environmental Policies, Blames NGOs for Record Amazon Fires
'Work Together' or 'Destroy it': Goldman Prize Winner Francia Márquez on World's Second Deadliest Country For Environmental Activists
In April 2018, Afro-Colombian activist Francia Márquez won the prestigious Goldman Environmental Prize, thanks to her work to retake her community's ancestral territories from illegal gold mining. However, her international recognition comes at a very risky price.
By Stuart Braun
A year after activist Greta Thunberg first stood in the rain outside the Swedish parliament with her now iconic "Skolstrejk för klimatet" — school strike for the climate — placard, the movement she spawned has set the tone for environmental protest action around the world.
Toy maker Hasbro wants to play in the eco-packaging game. The board game giant will ditch its plastic packaging by 2022. The move means that games like Monopoly, Scrabble and Operation will no longer have shrink wrap, window sheets, plastic bags or elastic bands, as the Associated Press reported.