The Co-operative Nets Top Marine Accolade
Released on: December 16, 2011, 1:36 pm
The Co-operative Food
Industry: Food & Beverage
The Co-operative Group has been ranked top in the Marine Conservation Society's
(MCS) Supermarket Survey 2011, scoring 84% and earning a gold award for
As one of the most sustainable seafood retailers in the UK, The Co-operative was
praised for its product labelling, Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy and sustainability initiatives.
The retailer doesn’t sell any of the products identified by MCS’s “Fish to Avoid”
list and all its own-brand tuna is now caught using the pole and line method. Pole
and line fishing is a more selective fishing method which results in less by-catch*,
which reduces the impact of fishing on the biodiversity of a region.
According to The Co-operative Ethical Consumerism Report, which is published this
week (Thursday 15 December), last year, UK sales of fish from sustainable sources
grew 16.3 per cent, from £178m to £207m, twice the rate for total fish sales which
increased 8.2 per cent.
The Co-operative Food's Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy governs the sourcing of all its own-brand wild and
farmed seafood including all food products, which contain fish, from ready meals to
sandwiches. Each own-brand product is assessed to confirm the source is a
responsible fishery, examining the individual species based on fishery location and
method of catch; species’ resilience to fishing; by-catch estimates and whether
species are endangered.
In 1998, The Co-operative was one of the first organisations to register support for
the Marine Stewardship Council and has continued to work closely with them to
promote responsible, environmentally friendly fishing practices.
Since then, The Co-operative has provided £200,000 to support UK fisheries to pursue
Marine Stewardship Council certification. To date, 12 UK fisheries have benefited
from this fund, including the entire Sussex inshore fishery comprising of 26
In 2009, the retailer supported the MCS’s Marine Reserves Now! campaign to lobby to
adopt a policy manifesto commitment for 30% of UK waters to be Highly Protected
Marine Reserves by 2020.
More recently, The Co-operative joined the battle to save the European eel with an
innovative river navigation scheme designed to reverse the dramatic decline in eel
numbers. Together with its partner The Rivers Trust, The Co-operative is building
specially-designed passes, enabling eels to navigate physical barriers such as dams,
weirs and flood defences which prevent them from reaching the slow-moving, upstream
waters they require to grow to maturity.
In light of its work with UK fisheries, The Co-operative was also highly commended
by MCS for the Best Sustainability Initiative.
Sean Toal, Acting Chief Executive at The Co-operative Food, said: “To top the Marine
Conservation Society Supermarket Survey demonstrates our commitment to responsible
sourcing and sustainable seafood. Our Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy, engagement
in seafood sustainability initiatives and the work we have done to eliminate ‘Fish
to avoid’ identified by MCS scored particularly highly.”
For more information about The Co-operative’s Responsible Fish Sourcing Policy visit http://www.co-operative.coop/join-the-revolution/our-plan/Environment/Nature-conservation/.
* The term “bycatch” is used for fish caught unintentionally in a fishery while
intending to catch other fish.
About The Co-operative Food:
The Co-operative Group is the UK’s largest mutual business, owned not by private
shareholders but by over six million consumers. It is the UK’s fifth biggest food
retailer, the leading convenience store operator and a major financial services
provider, operating The Co-operative Bank, Britannia and The Co-operative Insurance.
Among its other businesses are the number one funeral services provider and
Britain’s largest farming operation. As well as having clear financial and
operational objectives, the Group has also set out its social and sustainability
goals in its groundbreaking Ethical Plan, which specifies almost 50 commitments in
these areas.The Group operates 4,800 retail trading outlets, employs more than
106,000 people and has an annual turnover of more than £13bn. Further information is
available at www.co-operative.coop
Contact Details: Lindsay Colbeck
Senior PR Officer
Telephone: 0161 827 5629
Mobile: 07713 267 499
Facsimile: 0161 833 1035
Back to previous page
Submit your press release