Seafood Sustainability at Costco

How does Costco score on seafood sustainability?

Overall Sustainability


Score Explanation

Costco ranks among the mediocre stores in the industry—these retailers have engaged somewhat on seafood sustainability, but have a lot of work to do. Costco made a great move by introducing more sustainable Kirkland Signature canned tuna, and dumping its old supplier (Chicken of the Sea) for failing to offer more sustainable options. However, Costco needs to be more transparent about its policies and respond to concerns about slavery in the seafood industry.

Policy Explanation

Has issued a Seafood Sustainability document encompassing its fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable seafood items, however this should be strengthened. Lacks a comprehensive sustainable canned tuna policy.

Transparency Explanation

Does not provide customers sufficient in-store or online information about sustainable seafood.

Initiatives Explanation

Supports some sustainability or conservation initiatives. Greenpeace applauds the company for publicly calling for the protection of the Bering Sea Canyons. Costo must take action to address human rights abuses in the seafood industry.

Red List Explanation

Sells nine out of the 22 Red List species: Alaska pollock, Atlantic cod, Atlantic salmon, Atlantic sea scallop, bigeye tuna, ocean quahog, South Atlantic albacore tuna, tropical shrimp, and yellowfin tuna.



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Red List


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Source: 2015 Carting Away The Oceans Report

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Frequently Asked Questions

on seafood sustainability at Costco

Q: Should I buy canned tuna at Costco?
A: Yes! Costco recently added FAD-free skipjack canned tuna under its Kirkland Signature brand. Avoid the canned albacore tuna, though.
Q: What seafood should I never buy at Costco?
A: Costco sells nine Red List species, and because it sells so much seafood nationwide, what you buy there matters. Avoid all Red List species—especially bigeye tuna and yellowfin tuna.
Q: What improvements could Costco make towards sustainability?
A: Costco should develop a strong sustainable tuna policy, switch its Kirkland Signature albacore to more sustainable sources, and address growning concerns about human rights abuses in the seafood industry.
Q: Is there anything I can do to encourage more sustainable practices at Costco?
A: Yes—you can add your name to the petition asking Costco to use more sustainable practices.

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