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Hy-Vee Inc. has added a responsible sourcing commitment to its comprehensive seafood procurement policy, developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit organization focused on supporting sustainability through environmentally responsible business practices.
To protect marine resources and ensure future seafood supplies, Hy-Vee has committed to sell responsibly sourced fresh and frozen seafood that is rated Green or Yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, certified to an environmental standard equivalent to these ratings, or is sourced from credible, time-bound improvement processes by the end of 2015.
"It is Hy-Vee's mission to do business in a manner that promotes the well-being of our customers, employees, communities and the global environment," said Nate Stewart, Hy-Vee VP of perishables. "We aim to be a destination for sustainable seafood, where customers can be confident that they are supporting the health of their families and that of the oceans by purchasing seafood sold at Hy-Vee."
Commitment to Quality and the Environment
Hy-Vee added the responsible sourcing commitment to its seafood procurement policy to underscore the company's commitment to providing high-quality seafood that is safe for consumption and also harvested or raised in a manner that provides for its long-term viability while minimizing damage to the environment and other sea life. As part of its sourcing strategy, Hy-Vee is supporting fishery improvement projects and is engaging with suppliers to source seafood that is responsibly harvested or raised.
Hy-Vee will keep its customers, employees and stakeholders informed about the company's efforts to improve the sustainability of its seafood supplies by providing information about the program on its website, at its store locations and through featured articles in its quarterly Seasons magazine. Hy-Vee also plans to launch a customer education program for its service case, whereby fresh seafood items that meet the procurement policy will receive a "Responsible Choice" call-out.
"Hy-Vee is taking significant steps to improve the sustainability of its seafood offerings and is establishing itself as a leader in this field," said FishWise Project Manager Ashley Greenley. "We are excited to work with them on their journey towards responsibly sourced seafood."
A key example of Hy-Vee's commitment toward sustainability was its transition away from Russian king crab, a fishery that has been overexploited and is subject to high levels of Illegal, Unregulated, and Unreported (IUU) fishing, in favor of U.S. king crab fisheries in Alaska, which have healthy stocks and strong management.
The agreement between Hy-Vee and FishWise is consistent with the Common Vision for Environmentally Sustainable Seafood. The Common Vision is an ambitious, but realistic guide to environmentally responsible seafood for businesses, developed by more than 15 of North America's leading ocean conservation organizations.
Iowa-based Hy-Vee operates 235 retail stores across eight Midwestern states.