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At its recent January meeting, the Food Marketing Institute board of directors adopted a new policy to promote a sustainable seafood supply.
To reach this goal, FMI encourages the following: learning about the issues that relate to seafood sustainability, and how they can be applied within companies; employing sustainable seafood resources available from the organization and others to educate company and store associates; considering the sustainability of the seafood supply in the development of procurement policies; and researching sustainable seafood certification programs.
The trade group will work with the seafood industry, environmental organizations and other experts to develop guidelines to promote the long-term viability of the global seafood supply.
"The industry recognizes that sustaining the world's fisheries is critical to preserving the environment," said FMI president and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin. "It is also essential that supermarkets provide customers the variety of seafood needed for a healthy diet."
The policy had its beginnings in an initiative by the FMI Sustainable Seafood Working Group, part of the association's Sustainability Task Force. Formed in 2007, the task force pinpoints issues that can be resolved on an industrywide basis.
The Working Group is crafting guidelines to help companies start seafood sustainability programs. In addition to seeking common standards and practices, the body is consulting with such groups as the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solutions, which is made up of the world’s leading environmental organizations.
Additionally, the FMI Web site features case studies of retailers that have teamed with nongovernmental organizations to develop seafood sustainability programs, and a 22-page list of resources, including seafood industry associations, certification programs, environmental groups and seafood sustainability experts, at www.fmi.org/sustainability/?fuseaction=seafood.
FMI’s other sustainability initiatives include its Carbon Footprint Project; a policy on plastic bag waste and litter; a customizable presentation, "The Sustainability Opportunity for Retail and Wholesale Executives"; and the Sustainability Starter Kit, which offers practical tips, best practices, many examples of successful programs and a list of publications, experts, Web sites, organizations, conferences and other sources of sustainability information and guidance.