Safeway Tops Greenpeace Seafood Sustainability Rankings

Supermarket chain moves up three notches, snatching the number one position from Target, last year’s top rated retailer.

Washington: Last week's release of the fifth Greenpeace seafood sustainability report, Carting Away the Oceans, reveals a new leader and marks a dramatic shift from the abysmal status quo just three years ago.

Nationwide retailer, Safeway, has leapt up three places, snatching the top position from last year’s top rated retailer Target, and surpassing specialty grocers Whole Foods and Wegmans.

“The fact that we have now seen such a wide variety of retailers lead the pack – from organic specialty retailers and high end stores to big-box retailers to one of the biggest national chains in the country - just emphasizes that sustainability is not a niche luxury trend, but an important response to customer demand and responsible retailing,” says Casson Trenor, senior markets campaigner.

“It’s an amazing testament to the ongoing pressure from consumers, supporters and activists that in just three years, we’ve gone from a situation where all 20 major U.S. retailers assessed failed to today, when 15 retailers have now achieved a passing score.

“Other great advances include more and more retailers refusing to stock one of the most vulnerable fish stocks on earth, the Orange Roughy, and two retailers – Safeway and Wegmans - publicly supporting a no-take marine reserve in the last pristine ocean on earth, Antarctica’s Ross Sea,” says Trenor.

“Despite all this good news, it’s important to remember that not a single large retailer has achieved a ‘green’ score in the Greenpeace Seafood Sustainability Ranking. We are cheered by the great progress, but until retailers acknowledge their role in destroying our oceans and in propagating environmentally damaging aquaculture, consumers will struggle to find a truly responsible seafood merchant.

“Greenpeace wants to ensure we have fish for the future, that the industry will sustain itself instead of fishing itself out of existence, and that consumers can continue to enjoy the fruits of the sea without being complicit in its destruction,” Trenor says.