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Loblaw Cos., Ltd. has made a commitment to source all seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. The commitment, known as the Loblaw Sustainable Seafood Policy Initiative, includes all canned, frozen, fresh, wild and farmed seafood products, in all categories.
“The world’s oceans are facing an unprecedented crisis,” said Loblaw executive chairman Galen G. Weston. “Loblaw is determined to think differently about how it sources seafood and to work in collaboration with the fishing industry and environmentalists to seek sustainable alternatives for customers.”
The initiative, available on the Loblaw Web site at www.loblaw.ca/seafood, outlines the Canadian grocer’s plan to establish a implement a seafood procurement practice focusing on responsible sourcing in every category (fish, shellfish, wild-caught and farm-raised) the company sells. Among the items laid out in the initiative is the phasing-out of unsustainable supply when it can’t be demonstrably improved.
“This initiative is one of the most ambitious and comprehensive steps we have seen from a grocery retailer in Canada, and indeed the world,” noted Gerald Butts, president and CEO, WWF-Canada. “When fulfilled, the Loblaw policy will go a long way to help conserve the well-being of our oceans and marine life, setting an important example for other retailers to follow.”
For the next 12 months, the company has pledged to achieve the following:
--Start assessing all sources of wild and farmed seafood, in partnership with WWF
--Continue to work through Loblaw’s supply chain for control-brand seafood products to prepare for additional audits to MSC standards
--Develop and begin to deploy a four-year implementation plan, upon completion of the seafood sourcing assessment
-- Identify sources with no improvement potential, which should be stopped or phased- out as soon as possible, based on results of the assessment
--Identify and recruit experts in fisheries and marine science, to provide Loblaw with sound, independent advice, when needed
--Confirm Loblaw’s policy decisions and disseminate them to suppliers, distributors, colleagues, customers, franchisees, the general public and other external stakeholders
In 2008, Loblaw took the initial steps to offer sustainable seafood options to shoppers by rolling out Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified products, and now offers 12 such products. The MSC is an independent international nonprofit organization that has set a global standard for the certification of fisheries with environmentally responsible, sustainable fishing methods.
Brampton, Ontario-based Loblaw, a subsidiary of George Weston Ltd., has over 1,000 corporate and franchised stores across Canada. Loblaw and its franchisees employ more than 139,000 full-time and part-time associates.