This month, we will feature several success stories from Conservation Alliance member organizations and their business partners. They all follow a common theme: several years ago, member organizations relied on the guidance provided in the Alliance Common Vision to work with their partners to write strong time-bound commitments to improve procurement policies and practices. As many of those commitment timelines are concluding, reports of success are emerging from across the sustainable seafood community. As we usher in a new era for sustainable seafood with the Alliance’s updated Common Vision, we expect more robust commitments to emerge, to address today’s challenges of social and environmental responsibilities. But first, we would like to pause and champion the successes we have seen over the past several years.
A founding member of the Conservation Alliance, FishWise, was a key partner in the revision of the Alliance Common Vision in 2015 – their leadership in integrating better guidance for human rights and traceability in the document was underpinned by their credibility and the depth of their relationships in the community.
FishWise is also celebrating a major milestone with their retailer partner, Safeway, which following a merger in January 2015 is now part of Albertsons Companies. In 2010, Safeway and FishWise set an ambitious goal for the company’s fresh and private label frozen seafood to be environmentally responsible by the end of 2015. By year-end, 77% of Safeway’s seafood by volume met the company’s 2015 commitment, including 99% of its private label frozen seafood. Over the course of the partnership, FishWise and Safeway transitioned over 29 million pounds of unsustainable seafood to environmentally responsible sources.
Safeway’s 2015 public sourcing commitment, which has since started cascading through Albertsons Companies 14 divisions and 2,200+ stores following the merger, was one of many components of a larger Responsible Seafood Program that was based upon the framework of the Conservation Alliance’s 2008 Common Vision. In accordance with the Conservation Alliance’s guidelines for businesses, the Company’s comprehensive and transparent seafood program included an intensive data collection process, a commitment to responsible sourcing, support for fisheries and aquaculture improvements, and educational initiatives for their staff, suppliers, and customers. As a result of the commitment by the Safeway team in establishing and achieving their goals, Albertsons Companies and FishWise have also emerged as leaders in new focus areas of the updated Common Vision, including ongoing engagement in traceability and human rights issues in seafood supply chains. In 2015, several stores that are part of Albertsons Companies became the first retailer in the world to offer a Fair Trade certified seafood product.
Chris Ratto, Director of Sustainability for Albertsons Companies provided key feedback during the Common Vision updating process, and the expanded partnership with FishWise is built around the new guidelines. True to the updated Common Vision and Albertsons Companies’ continued commitment, human rights will remain a core focus. The partnership will advance ongoing efforts to actively engage with the Conservation Alliance, human rights experts, industry stakeholders, and government representatives to improve social conditions in seafood supply chains.
Through their expanded partnership with FishWise, the Albertsons Companies continues to address environmental and social challenges in seafood sourcing through responsible business practices. As it has in the past, the Common Vision will continue to serve as a roadmap for FishWise and the Albertsons Companies to continue their journey together towards sustainable seafood.