Costco agrees to stop ravaging the oceans
Photo: Sharon MollerusIt only took eight months for pressure from Greenpeace to make food-hoard purveyor Costco stop selling threatened fish. Twelve species that appear on Greenpeace’s “red list” were also appearing on Costco’s shelves. Activists finally made the wholesale giant revise its seafood policies, but first they had to open up economy-sized whoop@ss:
Over 100,000 people took action online — sending messages to Costco’s CEO demanding real progress. Thousands of concerned citizens downloaded our activist toolkit and participated in surveying Costco stores across the country. And, that’s not all — hundreds of phone calls were placed to stores, the Greenpeace airship flew over their headquarters and shoppers handed out informational flyers in front of stores on busy days.
Here’s what the future of Costco’s seafood purchasing and sales looks like:
— Eliminate 12 red list species, which will not return unless the company can find an MSC-certified option. This is certainly not perfect — we’d like to see these unsustainable options off the shelves until the populations recover — but it’s a major step forward. The species are:
– Atlantic cod
– Atlantic halibut
– Chilean sea bass
– Greenland halibut
– Orange roughy
– Skates and rays
– Bluefin tuna
— Pledge to play more of a leadership role within aquaculture;
— Partner with World Wildlife Fund to examine their remaining wild-caught species and determine how to best transition to the most sustainable alternative; and
— Acknowledge the role that the canned tuna industry plays within the global sustainable seafood movement and is in the process of shifting to more sustainable tuna sources in all sectors (fresh, frozen, and canned).
Whether you shop at Costco or elsewhere, there are apps — like one from the Monterey Bay Aquarium — that will let you know whether the fish you’re buying is sustainable, and what to choose instead if it isn’t.
Now here’s a video of Greenpeace oceans campaigner Casson Trenor, who has an awesome name with all kinds of anagrams including “cornea snorts” and “Senator Scorn” (which I hope will be my new Grist nickname/job description), wearing a cute fedora and talking about the Costco win:
Get Grist in your inbox