NATIONAL supermarket retailer Woolworths has partnered with the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to further improve sustainable sourcing in the animal protein sector.
The collaboration will see WWF-Australia assess all of Woolworths’ Own-Brand seafood on shelves and at the seafood counter using WWF’s independently developed methodology, and implement standards of traceability to make it easier for customers to choose sustainably-produced seafood, the company said in a statement.
Raising awareness of sustainably-sourced products was an ongoing priority for Woolworths, the company’s general manager for quality, sustainability and health, Alex Holt said.
Over the past year, Woolworths’ seafood sales had grown by around seven percent. Recent research showed that more than 80 percent of Australian seafood consumers believed that seafood needed to be protected for future generations to enjoy.
Oceans and marine life stocks were under increasing pressure as global populations grow and as demand for seafood soars, Ms Holt said.
“The Woolworths-WWF-Australia partnership is built on the shared commitment to build more sustainable fishing and aquaculture industries.”
“We know our customers are enjoying more seafood each year and they are becoming increasingly more interested in knowing where their seafood is sourced from,” she said.
So to, was ensuring that all seafood offered at Woolworths’ seafood counters as well as own-brand seafood products, came from sustainable sources.
“WWF-Australia brings decades of experience helping businesses improve the sustainability of their operations, and we’re excited to partner with them,” Ms Holt said.
WWF Australia’s Jo-anne McCrea, said globally, WWF worked with major buyers like Woolworths to improve their supply chain management and leverage their purchasing power to promote more sustainable production of seafood.
“Working together with Woolworths will create real on the ground conservation outcomes for our precious marine environments. We will help Woolworths select seafood that minimises impacts on our oceans and marine life; work directly with fishing and aquaculture operations to help them improve sustainable practices where necessary; and make it easier for Woolworths customers to choose responsibly produced seafood. We are delighted to support Woolworths as they work towards a more sustainable future.”
The partnership follows Woolworths’ engagement in other responsible seafood initiatives including:
- Signing the Australian Seafood Traceability Statement, an industry-led business commitment towards best practice in traceability across the seafood supply chain
- ‘Whichfish’, an online tool developed by the Fisheries Research and Development Cooperation to help businesses understand the environmental risks associated with the seafood they buy and sell.
Beef Central has asked Woolworths whether similar sustainability claims might be developed for red meat. Here is the company’s response:
We understand that sustainability is important to our customers and we are working with our suppliers to reduce our environmental impact throughout the value chain.
Since 2016 we have been part of the consultative committee which forms the Australian Sustainability Beef Framework that looks at the environmental, economical and ethical aspects of sustainable beef production working alongside other retailers, farming bodies and NGO’s such as WWF.
We remain committed to working with industry on defining what is important in sustainability and collaborating on measures that promote continuous improvement.