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US retailer Publix tells its suppliers: 'We’ve still got work to do'

More than 90 seafood suppliers gather at retailer's headquarters for a sustainable seafood summit.

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Companies supplying seafood to US supermarket chain Publix gathered at the retailer's Lakeland, Florida, headquarters last week for its 2019 Seafood Sustainability Summit.

More than 90 seafood suppliers and sustainability leaders attended the day-long event, which included sessions led by long-time partners the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) and the National Fisheries Institute (NFI).

The event marked the midway point in the retailer's work toward achieving Target75 sustainability goals set out by the SFP.

Target75, which aims to ensure that 75 percent, at a minimum, of the world’s seafood production in key sectors is either sustainable or making regular, verifiable improvements, mirrors many of the objectives of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14—Life Below Water.

“Publix is an engaged retailer and you are engaged suppliers,” SFP Founder and CEO Jim Cannon told those in attendance.

In addition to discussing Target75, the event highlighted Publix’s new sustainable, responsible and GreenWise seafood labels as well as the 2020 rollout of newly designed frozen seafood packaging.

Guy Pizzuti, category manager for seafood at Publix emphasized the need to build consumer confidence in sustainable seafood through increased accountability and transparency.

To that end, Publix will be conducting reverse audits on sustainable practices data that is self-reported by suppliers used by SFP to rate fisheries and by Publix to determine which seafood products have earned sustainable and responsible certifications.

“We’ve still got work to do, and there are people in this room who can make it happen," said Pizzuti. "We can’t move forward independently. We’re going to roll up our sleeves and work together.”

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