Greenpeace recently released its 2018 Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report, ranking Hy-Vee No. 2 out of the 22 largest supermarket chains in the U.S. for its sustainability efforts. Since 2008, Greenpeace has evaluated and ranked supermarkets in the CATO report based on their efforts to protect both the oceans and seafood industry workers.
Hy-Vee was listed as one of the top two retailers in the report, finishing in the “best” category and taking the lead in the “initiatives and transparency” categories. Hy-Vee was evaluated on the sustainability of its seafood in four key areas: policy, initiatives, labeling and transparency, and inventory. Greenpeace noted Hy-Vee’s “rapid ascent in rankings,” as this is only the third time Hy-Vee has been included in the CATO report.
Hy-Vee was praised by Greenpeace for its efforts to address illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing through political advocacy, and participation in industry and NGO-led conversations to identify solutions. Greenpeace also congratulated Hy-Vee on its Responsible Choice canned skipjack and albacore tuna products, which are produced exclusively with tuna caught using environmentally friendly methods.
“Hy-Vee has continued to make significant improvements in recent years on sustainable seafood,” said David Pinsky, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace USA. “From ensuring its own brand canned tuna products are more sustainably sourced to avoiding unsustainable seafood like Chilean sea bass and advocating for industry improvements, Hy-Vee sets a high bar for other retailers to follow.”
Hy-Vee’s decision to discontinue selling Chilean sea bass – due to concerns about overfishing and bycatch of threatened or endangered species – also helped improve its ranking, as it’s one of only three top retailers to do so. Hy-Vee’s stance against genetically modified fish was also highlighted as a notable achievement.
Since the report’s inception, many large retailers including Hy-Vee have developed stringent seafood policies. Many of Hy-Vee’s policies are developed in partnership with FishWise, a nonprofit sustainable seafood consultancy that promotes the health and recovery of ecosystems through environmentally and socially responsible business practices.
“Hy-Vee has always set a high bar for sustainable seafood,” said Kathleen Mullen-Ley, project director at FishWise. “Not only does Hy-Vee prioritize sourcing environmentally responsible seafood, but they are proactively tackling some of the toughest challenges in seafood supply chains.”
Greenpeace’s full Carting Away the Oceans report can be found at https://www.greenpeace.org/usa/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Carting-Away-the-Oceans-10.pdf.