Attention retailers and tuna brands: Don’t be like Walmart.

Greenpeace is attending the Retail West 2016 Conference to remind Walmart’s retailer peers, vendor partners and suppliers to not be like Walmart and follow through with strong CSR and social responsibility commitments, starting with their canned tuna procurement.

- - -

Attention retailers and tuna brands: Don’t be like Walmart.

No one expects Walmart to be a leader in social responsibility or sustainability. Let’s be honest, expectations are fairly low. But when they raise them by going through the motions of creating a sustainability policy and talking a green game, it leaves customers wondering why the false advertising, the broken promises, the shattered dreams, the #oceanfails? So Greenpeace is attending the Retail West 2016 Conference to remind Walmart’s retailer peers, vendor partners and suppliers to not be like Walmart and follow through with strong CSR and social responsibility commitments, starting with their canned tuna procurement.

 Some other retailers, brands and companies are working to do better for their customers, our oceans and seafood workers. They are working to offer more sustainable and ethical tuna products on store shelves across Canada. Our Sustainable Canned Tuna Guide app highlights these more responsible products and can be downloaded here.

Walmart’s canned tuna aisle needs cleaning up for various reasons. The tuna is sourced from Thai Union, the world’s biggest tuna company and one that is failing to provide its major retail customers like Walmart with sustainable and socially responsible products. Walmart’s Great Value brand tuna is caught using destructive fishing methods that are putting already threatened marine life like sharks, turtles and seabirds at further risk because many are caught and often die in the tuna fishing process. The fishing method Walmart relies most heavily on, purse seining using fish aggregating devices (FADs), also puts vulnerable tuna stocks at risk because large numbers of baby bigeye and yellowfin tuna are caught on top of the target adult skipjack tuna.

Thai Union has also been linked to labour and human rights violations in its broader seafood supply chains, as has Walmart, so customers are also unable to be certain its  product hasn’t put the lives of seafood workers at risk. From environmental degradation to a lack of clarity around ensuring safe and fair working conditions, Great Value products, and a lot of other tuna found on Walmart shelves, does not instill consumer confidence. 

As a reminder, here’s what Walmart isn’t doing and what your company should do (or you should ask your favourite supermarket chain to do if you’re a customer reading this blog :) ).

Walmart is not:

  • able to guarantee that its Great Value products are socially responsible or that they   will be any time in the near future;
  • willing to follow through on preferentially sourcing tuna from current best practice fishing methods like pole and line, troll, handline or FAD-free purse seining;
  • strengthening its policy to make it clear to its supplier, Thai Union, that ethical and sustainable products are a must under its Great Value brand; or
  • committing to work towards real, tangible solutions to its various supply chain problems in a timely manner.

What should Walmart do?

  • Demand that Thai Union supply sustainable and ethical tuna.
  • Conduct regular third party audits to ensure human rights and labour standards are being met, starting now.
  • Commit to a full switch of unsustainable tuna products to more sustainable ones within in a timely manner.
  • Solidify these demands in a stronger sustainability and socially responsibility tuna sourcing policy.
  • Better. Its customers, our oceans and seafood workers deserve it.

Great Value brand = #NotJustTuna.  Walmart: Save Oceans. Protect Workers.