An early marker of a more stringent seafood sustainable effort to come, this July, Walmart will launch Great Value canned tuna that is certified by sustainable fishery practices. The private brand product will set the tone for other brands to create positive change, the retailer said.
The move toward more sustainable fish comes from the United Nations saying that a third of global fisheries have been fished beyond sustainable limits. Walmart delivered the news on its new tuna on June 8 to coincide with the United Nations’ World Oceans Day.
“With a clear signal from leadership, our team has invested in research to help us better understand the value chain of tuna and ask the question, ‘What’s the right way to do this?’” said Sean Reber, Walmart’s global sourcing team leader on direct import programs for packaged food.
Walmart’s using the Great Value canned tuna as a roadmap for other brands to practice sustainable seafood. Part of this move is also Walmart’s request that suppliers report their progress of seafood sustainability using the Seafood Metrics System, managed by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, a system that helps track suppliers and keep them accountable.
While meeting the Great Value canned tuna goal is a good first step, Walmart said it is still looking to have all of Walmart’s shelf-stable tuna assortment be equally sustainable by 2025. “When Walmart says, ‘we’re committed to buying sustainable tuna,’ it sends a message loud and clear to the fishing vessels, to the captains and to the industry at large,” said Reber.