Sobeys Inc. Responsibly Sourced Seafood Commitment
Seafood is an important component in our company’s offering to help customers Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better. It has been an integral part of Sobeys’ heritage and Maritime roots stretching back over one hundred years.
Our commitment is straightforward. Sobeys will actively manage our complete assortment so that we will not sell any seafood species’ that have major sustainability issues associated with them.
Supporting our overall commitment to sustainability, Sobeys wants to ensure that seafood is available to meet the needs of customers today and in the future. We understand that protecting the long-term health of ocean ecosystems is important to ensuring the continued viability of the species we source as well as to supporting the economies of the communities we source from, many of which are in Canada.
1. Sustainable Seafood Working Group
- Sobeys continues to work diligently to transition to sustainable sources. The company has assembled an internal team that includes national and regional experts as well as non-governmental partners. The group meets regularly to identify and focus on opportunities for improvements.
2. Supplier Accountability
- Sobeys regularly communicates our responsibly sourced seafood program to the supplier community. We continually gather sourcing information such as species, tonnage, geographical location of harvest, and fishing gear type from suppliers for the seafood they supply for our company.
- This information has and will allow us to understand the state of our current assortment as we work with the industry to improve where and how products are caught or farmed.
- We believe that the people working to catch, farm and process seafood must do so under accepted global standards for safe and fair working conditions. Sobeys will require that suppliers operating in countries at risk for social compliance issues, provide independent audits as proof that their operations meet our expectations.
3. Marine Conservation
- We will continue to partner with the non-governmental organizations to gain objective, science-based assessments on the seafood we sell. Our two most important relationships with regards to this are with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) on a national basis, and with Ocean Wise in western Canada.
- SFP is a long term partner of Sobeys. Their constructive approach to environmental challenges is to work together with the seafood industry including retailers to figure out how to produce and sell the world’s fish and shellfish in ways that are better for both the environment and the livelihoods of the people who produce it. SFP’s twin principles of information and improvement to foundationally support positive change align closely with Sobeys approach.
- Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program, created to help retailers and their customers make environmentally friendly choices. Ocean Wise has been a valued partner with Sobeys’ Thrifty Foods stores in British Columbia and more recently with the company’s Safeway and Sobeys’ store networks in western Canada. Ocean Wise provides a public rating system that classifies seafood on environmental criteria.
- We will not source species listed as Endangered or Critically Endangered by the International Union of Concerned Scientists (IUCN), nor will we source from high-risk fisheries that lack an improvement plan or from suppliers known as harvesting through illegal, unreported or unregulated fishing. Sobeys does support the seafood industry on Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) and Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs) to improve the environmental performance of these sources. Sobeys recognizes FIPs and AIPs as important initiatives in developing responsible supply chains. We support procuring from both comprehensive and basic FIPs as outlined in the Conservation Alliance for Seafood Solution’s Guidelines for Supporting Fishery Improvement Projects, and we are committed to only sourcing from FIPs that demonstrate true progress. FIPs must consistently achieve a minimum of a “C” rating in accordance with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership’s Fishery Improvement Project Ratings
Sobeys is committed to the humane and respectful treatment of all livestock animals within our supply chain. We source livestock-derived proteins – such as beef, milk, eggs, poultry and pork – through processors and distributors who in turn are supplied by a wide range of primarily Canadian farms.
Each livestock commodity has its own trade association and regulatory requirements that cover animal welfare and food safety among other issues. Each association has its own codes of practice and care assessment programs.
We are committed to working with stakeholders in the area of animal welfare. We are one of the few Canadian companies who are Associate Members of the National Farm Animal Care Council (NFACC). As a member we work with a variety of organizations to advance a national approach to farm animal welfare and care across the entire supply chain.
Sobeys Inc. has taken a leading role in providing our consumers with on-shelf options that focus on animal welfare. We are the only major Canadian retailer to offer our customers beef, pork and poultry that meet the Certified Humane® standard, which ensures that animals are treated humanely and free to do what comes naturally with a quality diet free from animal by-products, antibiotics or growth hormones.
Blue Goose is a leader in humanely raised animals providing consumers with transparency and quality products since 1992. Sobeys’ commitment to animal welfare makes it an ideal company to carry a full line of Certified Humane® Blue Goose poultry products.
As the largest producer and processor of natural pork in North America, duBreton concentrates on animal welfare, letting animals behave naturally and mature without the use of antibiotics or hormones. Sobeys carries a wide variety of Certified Humane® duBreton products.
We pride ourselves on offering customers an option to choose products produced with a focus on animal welfare. Aspen Ridge Certified Humane® beef products are sourced from cattle that are born and raised in Canada under strict feeding and handling protocols.
Sobeys Inc. has a history of working in partnership with producers, industry groups and animal welfare experts to continuously improve the lives of farm animals within our supply chain. In March 2016, Sobeys announced alongside other leading Canadian retailers, through the Retail Council of Canada, that we will work with the egg industry to transition to a completely cage-free egg offering in our stores by the end of 2025.
Sobeys is committed to the humane and respectful treatment of all livestock animals. This change in egg sourcing will improve the welfare of millions of laying hens by allowing them to better express natural behaviours. For example, it will provide more room for the hens to walk around freely, to spread their wings, and provide access to nests and perches.
Sobeys is focused on offering high quality food that our customers can feel good about buying. Reinforcing our purpose to help Canadians Eat better, Feel better and Do better, this announcement further extends our commitment to the humane and respectful treatment of all animals throughout the food supply chain. Another way Sobeys has demonstrated this commitment is through our associate membership in Canada’s National Farm Animal Care Council, where Sobeys Inc. works with a variety of organizations to advance farm animal welfare and care.
The transition to cage-free housing will require time and investment from the Canadian egg industry. New barns will need to be designed and built, equipment will need to be installed and most producers will need to be trained on the new production process. Sobeys’ 2025 commitment supplies the confidence that there will be a market for these eggs in the future.
As a member of the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) Sustainability Steering Committee we work with other environmentally progressive companies and support the CGF net-zero deforestation initiative that is aimed at addressing further tropical deforestation by 2020.
Palm oil has emerged as a popular alternative to other fats for use in confectionery, baking and personal care items.
Increased demand for agriculture space for palm plantations has led to significant tropical deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia. This has resulted in the loss of valuable biodiversity and the release of large amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere due to clear cutting and slash burning of tropical forests. Palm oil is used in a number of Sobeys’ private label products. While the total amount of palm oil used is small, it is important that we work to responsibly source oil to minimize its impacts on deforestation.
Sobeys’ commitment is that by 2020, we will completely transition to the use of Certified Sustainable Palm Oil (CSPO) as defined by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). We are actively engaging with our suppliers to reach this goal.
In an effort to achieve our commitment, Sobeys has made several efforts including:
- Becoming a member and actively engaging with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
- Supporting the production of sustainable palm oil in 2015 through the purchase of 1341 MT of GreenPalm Certificates for our private label products
- Supporting the production of sustainable palm oil in 2016 through the purchase of 229 MT of RSPO Credits for our private label products
- Releasing a Palm Oil Sourcing Policy in February 2016 to all vendors that manufacture private label products containing palm oil
- Developing and implementing a tracking mechanism to assess vendor progress and compliance
Our Progress to date:
- In 2016, 81% of the total palm oil used to produce our private label products was CSPO
- In 2016, the number of private label products containing palm oil or palm oil derivatives reduced by 10%
PULP & PAPER
Pulp and paper is used in a variety of private label products, including bath tissue and paper towel. However, the majority of our use of pulp and paper is in fibre-based packaging used for these products.
Our efforts to date have included:
- Developing responsible sourcing guidelines for pulp and paper
- Informing and supporting our procurement teams in making decisions that minimize our impacts
- Sourcing office paper certified by either the Forest Stewardship Council or the Sustainable Forestry Initiative
Sobeys has made steady progress to reduce the environmental impact of packaging materials such as steel cans, glass jars, plastics, boxboard containers and plastic bags by routinely evaluating our impacts at all stages of the lifecycle including manufacturing, transportation, consumer use, and end-of-life disposal.
We participate in several Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) programs across the country, through which we are responsible for funding the majority of the cost of recycling the packaging materials used in our private label products.
Continuing to enhance our sustainability in this area by:
- Assessing alternative materials and designs
- Decreasing packaging weight and increasing recyclability
- Sourcing packaging materials responsibly