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Despite progress, Walmart slips in Greenpeace seafood rankings

Walmart came in ranked at number 13 out of 20 seafood retailers on a recent report from Greenpeace titled, “Carting Away the Oceans.” It is the fifth year the environmental group has published the report, which examines the retail industry’s seafood practices, and last year Walmart was ranked ninth. None of the companies included in the report are where Greenpeace thinks they should be in terms of sustainability and responsible harvesting practices, but the organization does acknowledge progress is being made.

“Walmart has made progress in certain key areas of its seafood operation over the last year, and especially in the month leading up to the release of this report,” according to Greenpeace.

The main reason Walmart slid in the ranking was due to more rapid progress by other retailers and the reintroduction of two species contained on Greenpeace’s “red list.” Species on the red list are those the organization deems to be so depleted that the harvesting and sale should be suspended until such time as stocks can be restored to sustainable levels. The red list contains 22 species and, according to Greenpeace, Walmart sell 12 of them, including Alaskan Pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, bigeye tuna, Greenland halibut, grouper, hoki, ocean quahog, redfish, South Atlantic albacore tuna, tropical shrimp and yellow fin tuna.

Greenpeace did commend the company for halting the sale of Chilean sea bass, but added it was frustrated and baffled by the company’s decision to reintroduce red list species such as Greenland halibut and redfish.

“One step forwards, two steps back, it seems,” according to the report.

Walmart could be in a position to move up the list next year as Greenpeace noted that the company in March released an updated policy that requires all suppliers to either have attained certification or have a plan to do so by June 2012.

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