The 10th edition of Greenpeace’s ‘Carting Away the Oceans’ report confirms that Whole Foods Market remains the top-ranked retailer in America after the release of its shelf-stable tuna policy last year. In 2011, Whole Foods Market was the first US retailer to sell private label sustainable canned tuna, and in 2017, it became the first to commit to sell only sustainable canned tuna across its entire canned tuna category.

The report praises Whole Foods Market’s public canned tuna policy for being “above and beyond” that of any other retailer profiled, as well as the only policy that requires sourcing only one-by-one tuna, and has traceability requirements that help ensure a sustainable and traceable product.

“A shopper interested in canned tuna can walk into any Whole Foods Market, grab any brand of tuna on the shelf (private label or branded product), and be assured of its sustainability. This is no small feat,” it states.

Carrie Brownstein, Global Seafood Quality Standards Coordinator at Whole Foods Market, comments, “This ranking is the result of Whole Foods Market’s commitment to sustainability, our customers, and to our supplier partners who are out there on the water working hard to make a difference. Now our shoppers know they can purchase and enjoy delicious, high quality tuna that it has been caught one-by-one in sustainable fisheries by responsible fishers.”

Pole-and-line tuna fishing in the Maldives © IPNLF

Austin, Texas-based Whole Foods Market, which has more than 480 stores in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, became a Member of IPNLF in May 2017.

Greenpeace’s report also highlights the progress of tuna supply chains over the past 10 years, with several retailers becoming willing and able to make significant improvements, to advocate with suppliers, governments, and industry laggards, and to take action – even when difficult.

“We will need this enthusiasm more than ever over the next decade, and urge retailers to use their brands, buying power, and influence to do what is right for our oceans and for future generations,” it says.

In 2015, six retailers profiled in Greenpeace’s report had sustainable private label canned tuna products; that number has now risen to 11, with additional retailers expected to launch products in the near future.

As retailers continue to make improvements on their private label sourcing, they should also demand improvements from branded suppliers and traders, address transhipment at sea, and advocate for improved management by regional fishery management organisations (RFMOs), says the report.

IPNLF congratulates its Member Whole Foods Market on the leadership is has shown in the US market and its commitment to responsible and one-by-one tuna fisheries and its customers.