Stepping up our campaign for healthy oceans in the world’s biggest canned tuna market.
Our global campaign for healthy oceans and sustainable tuna fisheries just stepped up a gear. For the first time ever, we have ranked US tuna brands on their environmental and social standards and released a Canned Tuna Shopping Guide. The results are shocking! Over 80 percent of the tuna sold in the US comes from unsustainable, destructive sources.
In our US canned tuna ranking, Greenpeace found that the vast majority of the tuna sold in the American market fails to meet fundamental sustainability standards. Among the worst performers are the big three brands, Bumble Bee, Chicken of the Sea and StarKist, representing a combined 80 percent of the US tuna market.
Stepping up our campaign in the US marks a gear-change for our global campaign for healthy oceans. The US is the world’s single biggest canned tuna market and our big brands are shifting huge volumes of tuna off the shelves. Getting the US market right, by driving out unsustainable and destructive products and replacing them with sustainably and fairly caught tuna, will reinforce the huge changes already taking place in many smaller markets around the world and mean healthier oceans for everyone. More importantly, it will give US consumers what they want – tuna that doesn’t destroy our oceans or mistreat the crews who fish for them.
The ranking, included in Greenpeace’s 2015 Canned Tuna Shopping Guide, looked at 14 well-known US national and supermarket house brands and concluded that most do not have adequate measures in place to address sustainability, and the human welfare and labor issues that plague the industry. Eight of the 14 tuna brands evaluated received a failing score, including retail giants Walmart and Kroger.
Consumers should know that popular and trusted canned tuna brands contribute to ocean destruction at an alarming rate by relying on fishing methods that indiscriminately kill all sorts of marine animals including sharks, rays, and sea turtles.
While the biggest brands have so far refused to make any meaningful change, the good news is that other companies are stepping up to provide ocean safe options for their customers. Wild Planet, American Tuna and Ocean Naturals received the top scores and were identified as go-to choices for US tuna consumers – all offering ocean safe products. Whole Foods, Hy-Vee Select, Safeway, Target and Costco also offer more sustainable options under their private label brands.
Our tuna ranking evaluated the sourcing policies and practices of the 14 brands, including whether the fishing method used to catch their tuna harms other marine life, whether they avoid shark finning, and whether they can trace their products back to the sea. We also looked at how equitable and socially responsible the brands are. Poor working conditions are systemic in the tuna industry, and in the worst cases, human rights violations and slave labor take place.
The US tuna ranking is part of a global Greenpeace campaign to help create fair and sustainable tuna fisheries for our oceans and ocean-dependent people, across the world. We’ve already ranked brands and retailers in many other countries, including the UK, France, Spain, Italy, Australia and Canada, and each time the response is more enthusiastic. Consumers get the support they need to avoid the worst brands, and the brands at the bottom start to raise their game – after all, who wants to come last in the fight to protect our oceans?
As news of our US ranking starts to spread across the States and internationally, it’s all eyes on the big US brands! Who will start work to get out of destructive and unfair fishing and who will stay resolutely stuck in their destructive ways?
Your role in protecting our oceans and helping to reshape global fishing starts the next time you take a tin of tuna from a supermarket shelf. Take a look at our Canned Tuna Shopping Guide: http://ift.tt/1MnRy2Q
Share it with your friends and family and then tell the biggest brands in the US to clean up their act and stop destroying our oceans.
Graham Forbes is a Markets Project Leader for Greenpeace USA.
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