Social Responsibility Deep Dive Survey Project

Have you ever caught yourself eating a perfectly seared tuna steak or a handful of pineapple-coconut shrimp skewers and wondered about the fishermen who caught them or the farmer who raised them? If so, you’re not alone.

At Hy-Vee, we believe our success is grounded in the principle of always doing the right thing when it comes to our customers, our employees, our suppliers and our communities. That’s why we’re committed to having a comprehensive seafood program focused on both environmental sustainability and human and labor rights – exemplified through our Seafood Procurement Policy. We also believe that strong, trusted supplier partnerships built on a model of continuous improvement and collaboration are key to sustained, long-term success.

A New Project:

Together with our sustainable seafood consultant, FishWise, Hy-Vee took a detailed look at the human and labor rights protections that three of our most valued private label seafood suppliers —Mazzetta Company, LLC., Eastern Fish Co., and Beaver Street Fisheries — have embedded into their operations. Our goals were to 1) reinforce Hy-Vee’s commitment to worker protections and best practices, 2) collect data on current policies, practices, and/or procedures in place at each company, and 3) identify future actions that could be taken to support social responsibility improvements.

When describing why Hy-Vee invested in this project, Jason Pride, vice president of meat and seafood operations, said:

“It’s important to have partnerships that are built on trust, transparency, reliability, and data. Our suppliers know we’re committed to meeting customer demand for sustainably and responsibly caught seafood. We are always looking for opportunities to support continuous improvement efforts.” 

The Process:

The 25 question survey was developed in consultation with publicly available guidance and best practices from human and labor rights organizations from around the world (to learn more visit RISE – the Roadmap for Improving Seafood Ethics). Each supplier completed the survey on time, and the results were analyzed by FishWise and shared directly with the team at Hy-Vee. We then held hour-long phone calls with each supplier to go over the results and highlight their strengths, opportunities for improvement, and some specific resources and tools to support them in those efforts.

We were encouraged by our supplier’s responses and by the policies and practices they already have in place to protect workers, such as strong human and labor rights codes of conduct, regular human rights risk assessments and social audits, and worker grievance mechanisms.

Moving forward we will continue to support these suppliers in their efforts and will look for opportunities to conduct similar projects in the future. Hy-Vee’s aim is to ensure our supplier partners share our commitment to do the right thing and that our customers can be proud of the seafood they purchase. We believe that the best way to do that is to invest in moving the industry forward – together.