Company Profile: Rising like a Phénix


By Nicolas Heffernan

News-RisingLike-300One of its biggest challenges turned into a big reward for Provigo, a member of Loblaw Companies Ltd.

Loblaw has been working since 2009 to sell only sustainable seafood in stores by 2013 with its Oceans for Tomorrow program.

“Gaining consumer engagement on sustainable seafood has been one of the biggest challenges in our commitment; this is part of the reasoning behind bringing the Oceans for Tomorrow campaign to life,” says Melanie Agopian, Senior Director, Sustainability, Loblaw Brands.

But the company’s work has been recognized with a 2013 Phénix de l’environnement prize in the environmental achievement category for the Oceans from Tomorrow program. “It is truly an honour to have our efforts in generating awareness for sustainable seafood recognized by a program as prestigious as the Phénix de l’environnement,” says Agopian.

Loblaw created the first Canadian national retail campaign for promoting sustainable seafood certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). The Oceans for Tomorrow campaign has raised awareness of the MSC’s ecolabel – and the mission to protect the health of the world’s oceans by recognizing and rewarding sustainable fishing practices – reaching 11 million households. Loblaw and its banner stores carry the widest range of MSC-certified seafood in Canada. “Oceans for Tomorrow drove an increase in both sales of MSC-certified sustainable seafood products and consumer awareness of the MSC eco-label,” says Agopian. “We are very pleased with these results and hope to continue to drive consumer engagement on this important issue.”

Despite the progress there is still room for improvement. “Sustainable seafood has increased in priority for our shoppers in the last two years,” says Agopian. “We need to continue to educate our customers about the importance of sustainable seafood practices to ensure the future health of our oceans. Awareness and education will drive change.”

Oceans for Tomorrow and the sustainable seafood campaign affects all wild and farmed seafood – including seafood as an ingredient – in any product throughout the store. Other proteins like chicken, beef and pork, have other sustainability targets that are reflected in the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility report, which includes local sourcing and animal welfare.

“As Canada’s largest grocery retailer and largest buyer and seller of seafood in Canada, we believe we have a responsibility to educate our customers about the importance of sustainable seafood so they can make informed choices that will benefit our oceans,” says Agopian.

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