Compass Group, one of the world's largest contract foodservice providers, announced this month the three-year results from the First Phase of its corporate sustainable seafood purchasing initiative.
Working with the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program, one of the leading science-based conservation programs for seafood, Compass Group started implementing its seafood policies in 2006, the first time a company of its size had undertaken such an initiative.
In 2006 the company pledged to:
- replace Atlantic cod, a species leading conservation organizations recommend consumers avoid, with the more environmentally sound Pacific cod, pollock and other alternatives.
- seek ways to decrease the company's use of shrimp and salmon that are farmed in an unsustainable manner.
- eliminate all other "Avoid" species found on the Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch list.
- increase the its use of 'Best Choices' selections and labeling.
Over the three year period (2006-2009), Compass Group says it exceeded its targets by decreasing 1.5 million pounds of unsustainable seafood from its purchasing invoices. The company has now achieved a sustainable purchasing rate of 70% for its seafood.
Over the past three years one of the biggest challenges for the company in achieving its sustainable targets has been addressing its need for sustainable aquaculture. Issues ranged from finding consensus on sustainable criteria for aquaculture production; finding sustainable producers; and finding sufficient sustainable volume to meet consumer demand.
Compass Group also initiated a 'culture change' in how it went about its business regarding seafood. This included working with its chefs, foodservice directors, frontline associates and suppliers as well as providing educational materials and communications for customers and clients.
At the same time as announcing these results, the company also set out its plans for the next three years (2009-2011). Key issues to be addressed are engaging the salmon, shrimp and tilapia aquaculture industries to implement sustainable methods and to enable the company to increase the sustainable purchasing of these products.
The company is also planning over the next three years to facilitate a joint Monterey Bay Aquarium/Compass Group education program on ocean sustainability issues tailored for the company's national and regional seafood suppliers.