(Montreal, July 6, 2011) – Less than one year after launching its sustainable fisheries policy, Metro is reporting positive results and plans to expand its efforts to its in-store merchandising and supply processes, especially for its private-brand grocery products. The stated objective, i.e. to offer by June 2011 to all customers of all supermarkets and discount stores under the Metro banners across Quebec and Ontario, fresh or frozen wild and farmed seafood products in line with Metro’s sustainable fisheries policy, has now been almost completely met. The company is now preparing for phase II.
All wild and farmed fresh fish and seafood were the subject of a traceability analysis. The information collected from the various stakeholders was thoroughly reviewed by an oceanographer specializing in sustainable fisheries who was hired by Metro in January 2011. Accordingly, we now know the scientific name, fishing type, and fishing zone or country for fresh products sold by Metro. Frozen products are currently undergoing a similar analysis, which should be completed by the end of August.
Also, all suppliers of fresh and frozen fish must sign a code of conduct attesting to their commitment to Metro’s sustainable fisheries policy. This step should also be completed by the end of August.
After removing seven threatened species from its shelves in September 2010, Metro does not anticipate having to stop the sale of any other species for now. "In the meantime, together with the various scientific experts, we will continue to rely on research into sustainable and constructive solutions for the various fishing and farming techniques. By choosing suppliers who will make tangible improvements in terms of the sustainable management of their activities, the traceability of their products and the implementation of recognized standards, we are sending a clear message to the industry, and our impact will only be stronger," stated Claude Jauvin, Vice-President, National Procurement - Perishables at Metro.
Over the coming months, Metro will ensure that its suppliers are committed to a process of continuous improvement aimed at using sustainable fishing methods and good practices with the least impact on the environment, both in terms of the origin of their stock and the fishing type.
The promotion of lesser known species whose stocks are high and which are fished in a sustainable manner, or varieties from fishing areas that do not have an overfishing problem, is also a part of the solution, and will simultaneously allow clients to taste all that the oceans from here and elsewhere have to offer, without compromising its viability.
Note that, in addition to stricter control of the traceability of the products it sells, Metro has also implemented a range of initiatives in the past year, including a more transparent labelling system for its fresh seafood products, training for staff affected by the new policy, as well as various communications tools to inform consumers about the issue of sustainable fisheries and about Metro’s efforts in this matter.
Since fishing and farming techniques, and the health of ocean species and ecosystems are constantly evolving, Metro will regularly update its species-specific diagnoses, based on the latest facts and scientific reports and on the independent scientific opinions it requests on a regular basis. To ensure that it takes its decisions based on an objective diagnosis, Metro will take into account official scientific opinions but also the points of view of all stakeholders (governments, NGOs and suppliers).
Phase 2 of Metro’s sustainable fisheries policy will focus on private brand grocery products affected by the policy, such as canned goods. A deadline for completion of this step has not yet been determined.
With annual sales of over $11 billion and over 65,000 employees, Metro Inc. is a leader in the food and pharmaceutical sectors in Québec and Ontario, where it operates a network of more than 600 food stores under several banners including Metro, Metro Plus, Super C and Food Basics, as well as over 250 drugstores under the Brunet, The Pharmacy and Drug Basics banners.
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