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Co-op asks suppliers to source tuna from sustainable sources

The Co-op supermarket announced that it would crack down on supply and sale of unethically sourced tuna and has imposed a year-end deadline for all the tuna it sells to be sourced sustainably.

The convenience retailer has widened its tuna sourcing policy to include branded canned tuna suppliers – Princes and John West. It has set a deadline of the end of 2017 for tuna under these brands to be sourced from fisheries improvement projects (FIPs), working towards the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard. These schemes are independently checked and bring together the fishing industry, researchers and NGOs to ensure fish stocks are sustainably managed and fisheries do not negatively impact the marine environment.

The Co-op’s deadline to branded suppliers is part of its revamped tuna commitments. Its own brand tuna pole and line sourced policy has been widened to ensure its fisheries are either MSC certified or part of a fisheries improvement project (FIP). In addition, all branded canned tuna has to be in a FIP by the end of the year.

Cathryn Higgs, Head of Food Policy, the Co-op, said: “Consumers are rightly concerned about fish stocks and the methods used to catch fish. We’ve been a leader in sustainable tuna sourcing but have now extended our commitments. “We are also setting out clear expectations for branded tuna suppliers because of concern from consumers about protecting tuna fisheries for future generations.”

Ruth Simpson, Princes Corporate Relations Director said: “Achieving long-term tuna sustainability is an ongoing priority for our business. Since July 2016, we’ve had a public commitment to sourcing our tuna from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or in a Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) with the objective of MSC certification.”

Managing Director of John West Foods Ltd, Paul Reenan, commented, “We welcome the Co-op’s extended tuna commitment which mirrors that of John West, and we are pleased to confirm that all of our supply to the Co-op will meet its new sustainability commitments and deadline. Through our investment in Fishery Improvement Projects, which aims to bring fisheries up to the standard required for MSC certification, we are focused on increasing the supply of sustainable tuna for retailers and consumer alike.”

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