Food Service Giant Unveils Sustainable-Seafood Purchase Policy

Food Service Giant Unveils Sustainable-Seafood Purchase Policy

Fish - CC license by malias/Flickr

Food-service company Compass Group USA has announced a major policy to shift its purchases away from threatened fish species and toward sustainably sourced supplies. The new policy will impact approximately one million pounds of fish purchased annually by Compass Group.

Under the policy, scheduled to begin implementation on March 1, 2006, Compass Group will replace Atlantic cod, a species which leading conservationists have recommended consumers to avoid, with more the environmentally-sound Pacific cod, Pollock and other alternatives. Compass Group also plans to seek ways to decrease its use of shrimp and salmon that are farmed in an unsustainable manner. These two species are extremely popular with consumers but are of concern to environmentalists. The company will eliminate all other 'Avoid' species from the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list, and increase its use of 'Best Choices.'

Compass Group is the largest food service company ever to introduce sustainable seafood purchasing as policy on this scale.

The implementation of the sustainable seafood program within Compass Group, including the development of purchasing standards, internal compliance mechanisms, and chef training, will be managed by the Packard Foundation-funded Making Waves Project, a nonprofit partnership between the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch Program and the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation.

"We applaud Compass Group North America for its leadership," said Michael Sutton, director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Center for the Future of the Oceans, which oversees the aquarium's Seafood Watch program. "Its commitment, and a similar decision by major food retailer Wal-Mart, is a significant step toward transformation of the seafood market in ways that support sustainable fisheries and healthy ocean ecosystems."

The conservation-driven mission of the Seafood Watch program is to empower consumers and businesses to make choices for healthy oceans. Seafood Watch publishes lists of seafood that are best choices, good alternatives and species to avoid. The goal of the Bon Appétit Management Company Foundation is to transform purchasing practices of the food services industry in ways that respect the global environment and traditional economies.

The policy is expected to be fully implemented within three years.

Fish - CC license by malias/Flickr