Ned Daley, Moderator (Seafood Choice Alliance, Seaweb)
Randy Hayes, Founder of Rainforest Action Network
How do we find and convey hope to the audience? Need to define it based on the scale of the issue. And make the plan commensurate with the scale of the problem at hand. The BIG picture is demise of the state of the global environment. What then is the cause of the global biosphere degradation? It is the state of global economy and consumerism worldwide. Three major “Economisms” is Capitalism, Socialism, and Communism. But the one that we need to focus on here today is “Capitalism”. The problem is free trade. Every politician stands behind the “Free Trade” banner but as a result, weÕve lost track of the fundamental human rights and equity balance that can otherwise be created. The problems of Global Capitalism, fall into 2 buckets: 1) the failure to incorporate environmental externalities. 2. It doesn’t address the earthÕs carrying capacity. So instead we focus our energy on the “brushfire fights”.
For example, let’s focus on a coal fire plants. We need a true cost economy. Need to link the true costs of goods into shelf prices. Imagine a world that is socially just and ecologically sustainable. RAN has attacked the Home Depot, Citibank, and Burger King.
John Hocevar, Greenpeace Oceans Campaign (See Powerpoint Presentation-too fast to capture)
Greenpeace is identifying and addressing ways to promote a greener fisheries economy. Greenpeace is measuring progress of conservation strategies aimed at market reform and consumer consciousness. We need to put the responsibility on the retailer for sustainable seafood sourcing. Need to work on engaging the public in policy reform and consumer consciousness. Refer to Red list criteria for fisheries. Struggling with the multitude of seafood guides out there, but bottom line is that the data is drawn from the same source. The difference is where you set the bar on sustainability. Assessments have been done on US retailers to see where they are with regard to sourcing sustainable seafood. Low on the list: Trader Joes! High on the list: Whole Food, Harris Teeter, Walmart. (See powerpoint for list of “green retailers”). Noted some of the worst fisheries out there: blue fin, big eye, albacore tuna etc. Consumers need to get familiar with the list. (See ppt slide for species listing)
Solutions for the Western and Central Pacfic Ocean tuna fisheries include reducing the fishing effort, banning FADs, pushing for regs on the high seas (e.g. closures). How can retailers improve sustainability and equity of tuna fisheries? (See slide). Another challenge to fisheries is the impact of piracy on the high seas which hastens fishery declines and impacts local food security in developing countries. We need to keep IUUs off the water and figure out ways to strengthen FAO and NMFS efforts to combat it. Greenpeace created a “Blacklist” of pirate ships to avoid. Need to also protect seafloor habitats. Right now there is a UN resolution to protect high seas areas and regional management organizations in place. Now they have seabed floor mapping tools that can illustrate the life and diversity on the seabed floor, and use these tools to articulate to industry that there IS harm done by their dredging/harvesting activities. We need to keep supporting good science to prove that there is life on the floor of the ocean (and not just explore Mars!). Consumer shifts and purchasing practices can really help change the market significantlyÑespecially as was the case for the orange roughie! (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Laura Holley (representative of MOM’s-My Organic Market)
MOM’s is eager to assist with moving the bar on retailer engagement in sustainable seafood and greater product consciousness overall. The challenge is that there is currently very little regulation around use of the marketing language on “organic” or “sustainable” etc. As a result, the market is flooded with greenwashing which makes it especially challenging for consumers to distinguish one product from another. Consequently, they use a group called FishWise to help determine what is organic or sustainable or not, using a third party assessment/certifier. They feel that by offering green products like this gives consumers a chance to vote with their pocketbook. Fishwise helps to review product sources. Then MOMÕs went about identifying new sources for their new sustainable product supply. The challenge is that some species of fish or seafood products do not have a sustainable source and therefore MOM’s cannot sell that fish. (E.g sardines). They also held a staff training exercise to inform their employees about product sources and sustainability. They also try to maximize consumer awareness and educational opportunities. “The switch to sustainable products has not had an impact on their bottom line.” They are confident that they are offering their customers a quality product that is good for their health and good for the environment.
Q: How to incentivize consumers to choosing organic over non-organic when their budgets are so strapped in this economy? –MOM’s says that they try to offer good sales, bulk purchasing options, accept food stamps.
–RAN says maybe get labels to actually report the true contents and true costs of the product’s development. And that the argument shouldn’t be about organic and non-organic, but rather, about healthy vs. toxic. Consumers should know more about what’s in the products they’re getting.
Q: How can we get other companies to take the “bad products” off their shelves the way that MOM’s does with their unsustainable seafood products? -Greenpeace: Consumers need to make their opinions known to the industries and retailers.
Comment: Need to better incorporate true costs of products on the shelf and need to better internalize externalities. Need to do away with government subsidy’s that take away from the real costs of products.
For More Information or to get involved contact:
The Blue Frontier Campaign
T: (202) 387 – 8030