Target is on its way to making its entire seafood products sustainably sourced.
In 2011, Target, one of the largest retailers in the U.S., set a goal to make its entire fresh and frozen seafood assortment sustainable, traceable or in a time-bound improvement process by the end of 2015. This initiative involved developing a comprehensive sustainable seafood program with its environmental partner FishWise, which contain strict guidelines fresh or frozen seafood suppliers should follow.
According to a press release, the partnership has helped Target achieve 97 percent of its goal of offering fully sustainable seafood assortment and 100 percent of Target's own brand of seafood products. The company continues to push for full compliance across the remaining products by the end of the year.
"The partnership with FishWise made things really seamless," Nic Berkeland, senior seafood buyer at Target, said in a statement. "They advised us, and connected us with the right vendors, organizations and experts to help make the best decisions for everyone involved. And the seafood community was really open to what we were doing -- they knew the industry was moving toward sustainably-sourced products, and that making these updates to their businesses now would help them in the future."
Sustainable seafood, according to National Geographic, is seafood fished or farmed in a way that maintains and increases production for the long term without harming the well-being of oceans. Sustainable fisheries target plentiful species as they reproduce quickly to sustain their population.
Products that meet the sustainable seafood guidelines are rated Green or Yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium's (MBA) Seafood Watch Program, or are from eco-certified sources deemed equivalent to an MBA Yellow rating or better. According to Target, products from sources in a credible time-bound improvement process may also qualify if they are on a demonstrable path to meeting the guidelines. Target also uses the guidelines along with its strict social compliance policies to ensure that products are produced ethically and in accordance with local laws.
Target has also maintained the top 10 position in Greenpeace's annual "Carting Away the Oceans" report since it was first released in 2008. This puts the retailer among the ranks of U.S. supermarkets that are addressing the major social and environmental concerns associated with seafood.
"Today, sustainability is a major factor in decisions we make across our business," Amanda Irish, vice president of Target's own brand essentials, said in a statement. "We aim to act as a progressive force for curating sustainable products, so we can create long-term value that goes beyond Target and into our communities."
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