Costco adopts sustainable seafood policy after Greenpeace campaign

March 1, 2011

Costco agreed to pull 12 fish species from display cases after Greenpeace targeted the company for seafood policies and sent a blimp to Issaquah to attract attention to the issue.

The Greenpeace airship A.E. Bates flies the banner ‘Costco: Wholesale Ocean Destruction’ over Costco corporate headquarters on June 30, 2010. File

Greenpeace called on Issaquah-based Costco to discontinue selling the fish — including Atlantic halibut, Chilean sea bass, orange roughy and shark — threatened by overfishing.

Costco — the largest wholesale club in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah — also pledged to pursue sound practices for farmed salmon and shrimp. The chain also has plans to focus on the environmental impact related to canned tuna.

“It is important that the items we offer our customers are those that we can continue to provide well into the future and to provide responsibly,” Jeff Lyons, Costco senior vice president for fresh foods, said in a statement. “Our policy will help us to continue to meet the demands of our customers, who look to us for high quality items at great value.”

The decision concludes a campaign launched last spring by Greenpeace to prod Costco to adopt a sustainable seafood policy.

Greenpeace sent a rainbow-patterned blimp to hover above Costco corporate headquarters and the flagship warehouse last June.

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Greenpeace sends blimp to protest Costco seafood policies

July 6, 2010

Greenpeace has launched a splashy campaign against Costco to change how the Issaquah-based chain procures and labels seafood.

Greenpeace activists sent a green blimp bearing the message “Costco: wholesale ocean destruction” to hover above Costco corporate headquarters and the flagship warehouse during the June 30 morning commute.

Greenpeace airship A.E. Bates brings a message to Costco employees from the skies above the chain’s Issaquah corporate headquarters June 30. By Anthony Bolante

The environmental group demanded for Costco — the third-largest retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah — to stop selling fish species threatened by overfishing and to adopt a sustainable-seafood policy for other offerings, including salmon and shrimp.

Greenpeace profiled Costco and 19 other grocery retailers in a recent sustainable seafood guide, Carting Away the Oceans. The report lambasted Costco, in part because executives refused to answer questions about how the 568-store chain acquires seafood.

Target, East Coast chain Wegmans and Whole Foods Market earned the top three spots on the Greenpeace list. The group ranked Costco at No. 14.

Greenpeace said Costco — the largest wholesale club in the United States — sells 15 of the 22 species on the list, including Atlantic salmon, Chilean sea bass and orange roughy.

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Greenpeace blimp targets Costco for seafood policies

June 30, 2010

Greenpeace airship A.E. Bates brings a message to Costco from the skies above the chain's Issaquah corporate headquarters Wednesday morning. By Anthony Bolante, Greenpeace

UPDATED — 3:30 p.m. June 30, 2010

The environmental group Greenpeace sent a blimp bearing the message “Costco: wholesale ocean destruction” to hover above the company’s Issaquah corporate headquarters and flagship warehouse early Wednesday morning.

Issaquah residents and Interstate 90 drivers reported seeing the green blimp during the morning commute at about 8:30.

Greenpeace took Costco — the third-largest retailer in the United States and the largest employer in Issaquah — to task for what the environmental group described as exploitation of the oceans. Greenpeace called on Costco to stop selling fish species threatened by overfishing, including orange roughy and Chilean sea bass.

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