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How Pick n Pay and WWF-SA are collaborating to transform seafood procurement

A report titled 'A decade of impact', released yesterday by World Wide Fund for Nature South Africa (WWF-SA) and Pick n Pay, demonstrates how partnerships in the seafood supply chain can help secure responsible fisheries and healthy marine ecosystems.
Suzanne Ackerman-Berman (Pick n Pay) and Dr Morné du Plessis (WWF-SA).
The ocean plays a critical role in sustaining life and livelihoods, but it's being rapidly being overfished. For over a decade, Pick n Pay has supported WWF’s efforts to transform South Africa’s fisheries sector, investing over R18 million in marine conservation efforts and leading the way for other retailers to follow through the transformation of its own seafood procurement practices.

Commitment to responsible procurement


In 2010 Pick n Pay signed a partnership agreement with WWF’s Sustainable Fisheries Programme, of which WWF SASSI forms a major component. In 2011 Pick n Pay became the first retailer in Africa to announce its sustainable seafood commitment: to sell seafood that is sourced 100% from SASSI green list, certified sources, or from fisheries where improvement projects have been implemented – while simultaneously supporting the vital conservation work of the WWF South Africa.

“We have actively engaged with our seafood suppliers to ensure a deeper understanding of seafood sustainability. Many of these interactions have led to a successful shift in the actions of the fisheries,” says Suzanne Ackerman-Berman, Pick n Pay’s director for transformation.

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In terms of species sold in-store, Pick n Pay says its progress against these commitments has increased from 45% in 2014 to 79% in 2017, of which 52% is from sustainable sources and 27% from sources undergoing credible improvement in terms of responsible fishing operations. In terms of sales value, showing commercial importance to the business, 89% of all seafood sold in-store meets Pick n Pay’s seafood commitment.

Ackerman-Berman says that the Namibian hake fishery is currently undergoing certification and once completed, 95% of Pick n Pay’s seafood will meet its commitments. “We will work with WWF to address the remaining 5%.”

Making a meaningful, measurable difference


The WWF-SASSI programme has also trained over a 1,000 people from the culinary and restaurant industries, and 1,943 fishers, skippers, observers, compliance officers and law enforcement officials have been trained since 2008 in sustainable practices.

“As a company with millions of customers and thousands of suppliers, we are mindful of our broad reach. Our ability to form enduring partnerships with stakeholders will continue to help make a meaningful, measurable difference in the lives of ordinary South Africans. It is through this kind of collective action that we will achieve a more sustainable future.”
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Ackerman-Berman continues: “Collaboration between our network of over 1,700 stores and the outstanding expertise of WWF-SA has been a catalyst for far-reaching sustainable improvements. These have yielded a significant benefit for the South African marine environment. At the same time, these in-store improvements are a positive response to the growing awareness of our customers that they have choice in what they buy, and why.

“Our partnership with WWF-SA has demonstrated what can be done with effort, commitment and a strong value system. We will continue to partner for WWF-SA’s sustainable fisheries work, mindful that our oceans are increasingly vulnerable. With this in mind, we will be intensifying our efforts to reverse the tide of plastic in our oceans through our plastic and packaging reductions initiatives, and enhance our awareness to customers of the need to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and Repurpose plastic,” concludes Ackerman-Berman.
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