(StatePoint) From price to quantity to flavor, consumers have always considered how products affect their families when deciding what goes in the shopping cart. And shoppers these days are making purchasing decisions that take global factors into consideration too, thanks to available information about companies’ environmental and human rights track records.
Indeed, a new “2015 Carting Away the Oceans” report by Greenpeace evaluates and ranks supermarkets on their efforts to protect oceans and seafood industry workers. It found that while some major grocery chains have made strides to source certain seafood products from environmentally-sustainable suppliers that treat workers fairly, much more needs to be done to address systemic problems in the industry.
“Investigations continue to reveal that human rights abuses are widespread problems in the global seafood industry. Top retailers are in a position to be doing much more to protect both the oceans and the workers that provide seafood,” says Greenpeace senior oceans campaigner David Pinsky.
As a consumer, Pinsky notes that you also have a lot of power to affect change when it comes to seafood sustainability and human rights concerns. Be sure to read labels and ask questions. Whether you shop at a mom and pop operation or a national chain, you can talk to your grocer about the products they carry and let them know what you would prefer to see on the shelf. If your grocery store doesn’t change their offerings, you can shop somewhere else.
“Your tuna sandwich may not currently represent anything to you beyond lunch, but if you don’t investigate where it actually came from, there is a large chance it was brought to your plate in ways that treated workers poorly and compromised the health of our oceans,” says Pinsky. “In addition to having ocean safe canned tuna on store shelves, supermarkets must put canned tuna policies in place to help guide sustainable, socially responsible practices.”
In this year’s report, 80 percent of retailers received passing scores overall, however all of the 25 retailers profiled have failed on their efforts to address human rights abuses and illegal operations in the seafood industry. To view the entire ranking and read the report, visit seafood.greenpeaceusa.org.
These days, eating “guilt-free” means something different to some people, rather than just avoiding sweets and treats. By learning more about how your seafood was caught, farmed, packaged and manufactured, you can feed your family foods you feel good about.