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Greenpeace ranks Target 2nd as seafood savior

Greenpeace has published its fifth annual “Carting Away the Oceans” report examining the retail industry’s seafood practices, and none of the 20 companies featured are where the environmental group thinks they should be in terms of sustainability and responsible harvesting practices.

Even so, the report isn’t all about bashing retailers who sell fish. Instead, Greenpeace makes a point of singling out those making the most progress and ranks them accordingly. Target was number two on this year’s list, behind top ranked Safeway, tied with Wegmans and ahead of Whole Foods.

“Target has plateaued somewhat after capturing the top spot in the 2010 Carting Away the Oceans rankings,” according to Greenpeace. “That said, the company is still making progress in key areas, and Targets’ seafood team continue to push forward in policy development concerning both capture fisheries and aquaculture.”

Last year, Target eliminated the sale of farm-raised salmon due to concerns over environment degradation. Still, the company could be doing more, and Greenpeace offered specific advice to such companies as Aldi, Ahold, Harris Teeter, Safeway, Wegmans and Whole Foods, who are already leaders in sustainable fisheries management, as to what they could do to take their efforts to the next level.

In Target’s case, Greenpeace advised, “More than just about any other company, you have an uncanny knack for innovation and tackling the hard targets. Take on another major challenge and own it, like you did with the elimination of farmed salmon. Try pushing the envelope with in-store labeling and taking the Ross Sea Pledge.”

The Ross Sea Pledge is basically a vow by retailers to not sell seafood harvested from one of the world’s last remaining pristine bodies of water located near the Antarctic. Efforts by Greenpeace to protect the Ross Sea have put the organization at odds with the Marine Stewardship Council, which last year granted its certification to species harvested from the region. Greenpeace said that move put a black mark on the reputation of the MSC.

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