OAKLAND and PLEASANTON, CA (February 19, 2015) — Today Safeway and nonprofit organization Fair Trade USA announce a new partnership to launch Fair Trade Certifiedâ„¢ seafood into the North American market. Beginning with wild-capture tuna from small-scale fishermen in Indonesia, this program is the first of its kind to address both social and environmental responsibility in fishing communities across the globe. The world’s first Fair Trade fish will debut in Safeway stores in their Northern California, Portland and Seattle Division in March. As additional supply becomes available, the tuna will be introduced in other operating areas.
After four years of research and consultation with leading industry experts and nonprofits around the world, Fair Trade USA has expanded the number of Fair Trade Certified products available by launching the Fair Trade Fisheries program. Its goal is to build resilient livelihoods in impoverished coastal communities, improve working and living conditions, increase supply and demand for responsibly-sourced seafood, and enhance environmental stewardship.
“Fair Trade’s holistic approach has an important role to play in sustaining healthy fishing communities and oceans for generations to come.” said Maya Spaull, Director of New Category Innovation at Fair Trade USA, “and we’re thrilled that Safeway shoppers will be the first to help create lasting change through their everyday seafood purchases.”
Similar to other well-known Fair Trade Certified products, such as coffee, tea, cocoa, flowers, produce and apparel, the Fisheries program requires fishermen to source and trade according to rigorous, independently audited standards. These standards help to protect fundamental human rights, prevent forced and child labor, establish safe working conditions, regulate work hours and benefits, and enable responsible resource management. This is especially important in an industry with a long history of labor abuse.
Fair Trade is also helping to foster community collaboration among previously isolated groups of fishermen. For every Fair Trade Certified tuna sold, fisherman receive an additional Community Development Premium–10 percent of the dock-side price–which they can collectively invest in much-needed community projects like education and healthcare.
The first certified tuna products, imported by Anova Food LLC and packed under the Natural Blueâ„¢ brand, will come from four associations representing 120 small-scale fishermen in the Indonesian Maluku island chain. Using single-hook handlines attached to handmade kites, the fishermen locate and catch large adult yellowfin tuna from their small boats. They plan to use part of their first Fair Trade Community Development Premiums to purchase compasses to help them navigate their way home through thick fog.
“Safeway recognizes its responsibility to help protect our oceans in an effort to maintain the availability of seafood for future generations and the health of our planet,” said Buster Houston, Group Director of Seafood at Albertsons Safeway, “and this unique offering, beginning with frozen tuna steaks and burgers has the added benefit of being a Fair Trade Certified product.”
In 2011, Safeway set a progressive, industry-leading goal for their fresh and frozen seafood to be responsibly caught or farmed, or from sources making credible improvements. They are on track to accomplish the goal by the end of 2015.
“The partnership with Fair Trade fits well into our overarching sustainability strategy and 2015 seafood goal. We are pleased to add the tuna products to the other Fair Trade Certified products offered by Safeway such as O Organicsâ„¢ coffee and pineapples from Costa Rica.” said Chris Ratto, Director of Sustainability at Albertsons Safeway.
About Fair Trade USA:
Fair Trade USA is a nonprofit organization that promotes sustainable livelihoods for farmers, workers, and fishermen, protects fragile ecosystems, and builds strong, transparent supply chains through independent, third-party certification. Its trusted Fair Trade Certifiedâ„¢ label signifies that rigorous standards have been met in the production, trade and promotion of Fair Trade products from over 70 countries across the globe. Recognized as a leading social venture by the Clinton Global Initiative, the Skoll Foundation and Ashoka, Fair Trade USA also provides capacity-building programs at origin and educates consumers about the power of their purchase. Visitwww.FairTradeCertified.org for more information.
Special thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, the Rockefeller Foundation, and The Disney Worldwide Conservation Fund for their generous funding of the Fair Trade Fisheries program, and to Anova’s Fishing & Living and Masyarakat Dan Perikanan Indonesia (MDPI) for all their hard work in helping the fishery achieve certification.
Teena Massingill, Director of Corporate Public Affairs
Fair Trade USA
Jenna Larson, Senior Manager, Communications