Target Well On the Way to Selling 100% Sustainable Seafood

29 September 2016, at 1:00am

US - US retailer Target has announced that it is 97 per cent complete on its goal of only selling fresh and frozen seafood that is sustainable and traceable.

Target set the goal to have its entire fresh and frozen seafood assortment sustainable, traceable, or in a time-bound improvement process by the end of fiscal year 2015, back in 2011.

To meet the goal, Target’s senior seafood buyer Nic Berkeland and partner Gry Engen have worked closely with environmental partner FishWise, trusted vendors and other stakeholders, to develop a comprehensive sustainable seafood programme with strict guidelines that every fresh or frozen seafood product sold must meet.

Products that meet the sustainable seafood guidelines are rated Green or Yellow by the Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA)’s Seafood Watch program, or are from eco-certified sources deemed equivalent to an MBA Yellow rating or better.

By 2015, 100 per cent of Target’s owned-brand seafood products had met the goal.

The milestone didn’t come easily. “It really was an industry-leading project,” Mr Berkeland said. “When we first started out, there weren’t a lot of suppliers whose fisheries or farms were ready, willing and able to meet our criteria on such an ambitious timeline.”

For many vendors, it meant big, time-consuming changes to their operations, tracing products back to the boats the fish were caught on, and shifting business to new fisheries around the world who sourced responsibly.

“The partnership with FishWise made things really seamless,” Mr Berkeland said.

“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.”

Target is now pushing ahead to achieve full compliance across the remaining products later this year.