Sodexo and Costco recently announced their commitment to improve the sustainability of the seafood that they sell and serve. Costco has placed a hold on selling over a dozen types of seafood until they can find a MSC certified option, and Sodexo plans for all of its contracted seafood to be certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) by 2015.
Costco, the world’s ninth largest retailer, is holding off on selling Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, bluefin tuna, Chilean sea bass, Greenland halibut, grouper, monkfish, orange roughy, redfish, shark, swordfish, skates and rays. The company is also looking for sustainable options for its canned, fresh, and frozen tuna. Costco’s move toward sustainable products comes after eight months of pressure from Greenpeace for the company to stop selling unsustainable seafood.
As part of its Better Tomorrow sustainability plan, Sodexo, the $21 billion food service company, will review all wild caught and farm raised seafood purchases. It will also set short, medium, and long-term goals with its contracted seafood vendors.
Considering the amount of food that Sodexo and Costco bring to the market, the plans are a huge step forward. However, Greenpeace doesn’t think that MSC sets a high enough bar. Last month, Environmental Leader reported that a Greenpeace oceans campaigner said that MSC’s decision to certify some fisheries “seriously undermined” the council’s credibility. Regarding Costco’s recent decision, a Greenpeace seafood campaigner said, “This is certainly not perfect—we’d like to see these unsustainable options off the shelves until the populations recover—but it’s a major step forward.”
Sodexo’s pledge looks a bit more promising. The company plans to work with non-profit NSF Surefish, which issues MSC Chain of Custody certifications and audits facilities against the BAP standards. Sodexo will also partner with CleanFish, a company that brings artisan fishermen’s products to market under transparent brands. CleanFish recently received Food and Wine’s “Eco-Ocean Award” and TIME Magazine name the company a “Responsibility Pioneer.”
“Sodexo touches the lives of over 10 million people daily,” said Ann Oka, senior vice president of supply management at Sodexo, in a press release. “We believe our Sustainable Seafood Initiative is unparalleled and can truly make a positive impact on the health of the world’s oceans and fisheries.”