In honor of World Oceans Day, Walmart announced as of July 2020 its Great Value brand canned tuna will be fully sourced from Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries, based on supplier reports, or from credible, time-bound Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). This announcement aims at providing its customers with greater access to canned tuna that supports healthier oceans and fishing communities.

Walmart has pledged to attain 100% of its canned tuna coming from MSC-certified fisheries, based on supplier reports, or FIPs by 2025. As cited in Walmart’s announcement, the company is reaching 100%, for it’s private label brand Great Value, 5 years early. This milestone confirms Walmart’s strong commitment to protecting global seafood resources by procuring tuna that was sourced more responsibly and from fisheries that are either MSC-certified or from FIPs working towards the MSC standard that maintain seafood stocks, minimize environmental impact, and require effective fisheries management. While meeting this Great Value canned tuna goal is an important step, Walmart is also aiming to do the same for all of Walmart’s shelf-stable tuna assortment by 2025.

© / Jeff Rotman / WWF

Transitioning fisheries to more sustainable resources and to reaching the MSC standard has been a significant part of WWF’s work for over a decade, with tuna as a priority commodity. Beginning in 2005, WWF worked with the American Albacore Fishing Association (AAFA) to become the first tuna fishery to enter the MSC program, resulting in MSC certification in 2007. WWF continued to advance tuna sustainability by co-founding the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) in 2009, which uses science-based initiatives for the long-term conservation and sustainable use of tuna stocks, reduction of bycatch and promotion of biodiversity and ecosystem health.

Most recently, WWF launched the Global FIP Alliance for Sustainable Tuna (G-FAST) to improve sustainability practices through direct engagement with tuna fishing vessel owners in formal comprehensive FIPs. Over 180 major tuna vessels are participating in G-FAST, which is more than 20% of the world’s major tuna purse seiners. Combined, these vessels catch a total of 850,000 metric tons of tuna, approximately 17% of all global catch. The organization is working across corporate sectors to develop and implement tuna FIPs, focusing on key pressure points that prevent companies from reaching sustainability at scale. Working with the biggest buyers, traders, and sellers of tuna leverages the purchasing power of the private sector to catalyze improvements in fishing practices, management, and conservation.

“We are pleased to see Walmart’s commitment to work for the full implementation of its commitment toward increased sustainability by already reaching requirements that the company’s Great Value canned tuna comes from fisheries that are either MSC-certified, based on supplier reports, or from fisheries in credible fishery improvement projects and on the pathway to meet MSC standard. Seafood sustainability is a continuous journey and when leading retailers leverage their buying power to push the world to fish better, helping to ensure healthy marine ecosystems and the livelihoods of people who depend on these resources.”

Michael Griff, Seafood Market Manager at World Wildlife Fund

Walmart’s collaboration with WWF is focused on change, food waste, and the more sustainable procurement of multiple commodities including seafood.

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