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By Leslie Hushka, Senior Vice President, Global Corporate and Social Responsibility at the Bumble Bee Seafood Company

Published by Progressive Grocer


The statistics are startling, and the stakes are high when it comes to feeding the world and protecting our oceans.  At the Bumble Bee Seafood Company, we know we can’t do the first without also focusing on the second.

According to the United Nations, the planet must produce 70 percent more food by 2050 to meet growing global hunger needs.  The World Wildlife Fund says approximately 3 billion people in the world currently rely on seafood as a primary source of protein.  We are working closely within the industry and with NGOs and governments globally to rebuild ocean abundance and diversity to ensure seafood remains a viable and vital long-term source to feed a surging population.

American shoppers are also increasingly sharing concerns about the health of the planet. According to a 2020 study conducted by IBM and the National Retail Federation, 57 percent of consumers surveyed said they were willing to change their buying habits to reduce their impact on the environment.  And in a GlobeScan survey from that same year, 55 percent of U.S. seafood consumers – including many who live hundreds of miles from an ocean shoreline – agreed that fish and other seafood should only be consumed from sustainable sources.

Last year, Bumble Bee debuted our first annual Seafood Future Report, renewing the company’s commitments to sustainability and social responsibility and setting bold goals for the future.  Together with our parent company FCF CO., LTD. (FCF), we committed to ensuring that all seafood we source would be externally recognized as sustainable or in a formal program moving towards certification by 2025.

Just this past May, Bumble Bee and FCF announced that we will be entering two new Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) longline fishery assessments spanning multiple nations, three oceans and three tuna species.  These assessments come as result of two years of implementation of Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) action plans which work to protect the abundance of tuna stock, mitigate fishing impact on other species, and ensure that fisheries are monitored and well-managed.  These assessments represent approximately 50 percent of the entire albacore tuna production for our company.

The two longline fishery assessments will be certified against the three core principles and 28 scoring indicators set out in the MSC Fisheries Standard by conformity assessment body, Control Union.  The three core principles are: sustainable fish stocks, minimizing environmental impact, and effective fishery management.  MSC is the premier global wild-capture tuna fisheries certification program that simultaneously meets best practice requirements set by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI).

We recently released our 2021 Seafood Future Report to share all progress made this past year against our sustainability and social responsibility goals as well as to announce new alliances in the ocean regeneration area.  In addition to announcing the two new longline fishing assessments, other highlights from the report include:

  • Achieving 100 percent MSC certification on wild salmon, up from 68 percent last year.
  • Working with FCF to expand a best-in-class social audit program announced in 2020 that includes extensive training, a risk-based screening approach and third-party audits on fishing vessels to identify and address issues and protect crew members.  The program also includes a new component – a worker’s voice program – that gives fishers the opportunity to anonymously provide feedback to third-party NGO on their working environment and vessel compliance.
  • Supporting regenerative ocean practices through collaboration with two non-profits, SeaTrees in partnership with The Bay Foundation, and the Oyster Recovery Partnership.

Bumble Bee’s sustainability and social impact journey began years ago but we recognize that now is the time to accelerate our actions. In 2020, we announced that we would be investing $40 million over five years to continue to close the gap on some of the biggest challenges in the sustainability space through new and expanded partnerships and continued collaboration within the industry and with outside charitable foundations and environmental champions.  Protecting our oceans is the right thing to do for the planet, the billions of people who rely on seafood for sustenance and for the long-term success of our business.

Our 2021 Seafood Future Report and more information about our sustainability and social responsibility efforts can be found at https://thebumblebeecompany.com/impact/