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Whole Foods Tops Greenpeace Sustainability Scorecard United States, June 3, 13

Greenpeace's Carting Away the Oceans (CATO) report evaluates and ranks supermarkets on their sustainable seafood policies. This seventh iteration of CATO has been written under a new motif—one that lends itself to a slightly softer and more humorous tone. This is no coincidence, because for the first time, we truly do have more good news than bad news to report.

There is still a great deal of work to be done, but let's take a minute to raise a glass in acknowledgement of some of the truly remarkable stories of this past year:

• Through a combination of instituting progressive sourcing policies, participating in political initiatives, and eliminating numerous red list items, Greenpeace's old nemesis Trader Joe's has skyrocketed 13 places up the rankings to capture the bronze medal and join Whole Foods and Safeway in the CATO green zone.

• The world's foremost retail giant, Walmart, has introduced both fish aggregating device (FAD)-free skipjack and pole-and-line albacore in more than 3,000 stores across the country, making affordable and responsibly caught canned tuna available to the majority of the population of the United States.

• By continuing to improve its overall practices, Whole Foods has recaptured the top spot in this year's CATO rankings, an honor that the grocery chain has not held since 2008.
The CATO ratings evaluate retailers using a variety of factors—including the sale of “red list” seafood, engagement with conservation initiatives, transparency of supply and the establishment of cohesive internal policies—to score each retailer on a scale of 0-10.

“It’s great news that Walmart, Safeway and Trader Joe’s are all introducing responsibly-caught canned tuna options, at a similar price to the environmentally devastating tuna available from Chicken of the Sea, Starkist and Bumble Bee,” says Casson Trenor, Greenpeace senior markets campaigner. “This means there’s now a more sustainable seafood option available to almost every consumer in the country, so people don’t have to choose between their bank account and the planet.”

Additionally, Greenpeace says Wegmans, Supervalu and Trader Joe’s have taken strong stands to protect the Zhemchug and Pribilof Canyons of the Bering Sea, home to the billion-dollar pollock industry. These commitments, according to Greenpeace, show significant movement across retailers toward sustainability.

“It’s hard to believe that brands like Kroger, Publix and BI-LO are continuing to sell tuna that’s sourced using destructive fishing methods, and sell red list species that are struggling for survival,” says Trenor. “This seems so far out of step with consumer preferences, which have encouraged most grocery retailers to offer more sustainable seafood options.”

The CATO report, according to Greenpeace, is the product of heightened consumer awareness of the destruction caused by certain seafood items, as well as sustained advocacy by environmental groups.