Compass Group Announces Results of Landmark Policy to Purchase Sustainable Seafood

May 14, 2009

Seafood Watch Applauds Foodservice Provider’s Commitment

MONTEREY, Calif. and CHARLOTTE, N.C., May 14 /PRNewswire/ — At Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Cooking for Solutions, Compass Group USA announced the three-year results of its sustainable seafood purchasing initiatives implemented in 2006. They also took the opportunity to announce the second phase of its sustainability seafood platform leading up to 2012.

Compass Group recognizes the Monterey Bay Aquarium as the leading science-based conservation organization developing sustainable seafood recommendations. Compass Group’s ongoing commitment to sustainable seafood remains grounded in the Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program and the partnership between the two organizations.

2006: Kick-Starting Sustainable Seafood

Three years ago, Compass Group was the first company of its size, and in the contract foodservice industry, to pledge to the following,

    1.  Replace Atlantic cod, a species that leading conservation
        organizations have recommended that consumers avoid, with more the
        environmentally sound Pacific cod, Pollock and other alternatives.
    2.  Seek ways to decrease its use of shrimp and salmon that are farmed
        in an unsustainable manner. These two species are extremely popular
        with consumers but are of concern to conservation groups.
    3.  Eliminate all other 'Avoid' species found on the Monterey Bay
        Aquarium's Seafood Watch list, and
    4.  Increase its use of 'Best Choices.'

2009: Exceeding Target

Overall, Compass Group exceeded its target by decreasing 1.5 million pounds of unsustainable seafood from its purchasing invoices, with an overall purchasing rate of 70% sustainable.

    1.  With a focus on eliminating Atlantic Cod purchases, Compass Group
        has removed close to 300,000 lbs. since 2006. It eliminated
        Atlantic cod from its order guides and actively promotes Alaskan
        Pollock through its national broad-line distribution.
        Environmentally-sound Pacific cod, Pollock was placed on its order
        guides, and its preferred supplier lists only these specific
        environmentally-sound products.
    2.  Between 2007 and 2008, Compass Group decreased its unsustainable
        shrimp purchases by 835,000 lbs, and decreased its unsustainable
        salmon purchases by 192,000 lbs. while increasing its purchasing of
        sustainable (wild) salmon by 49%. This was the most challenging due
        to the popularity of both species with consumers and the lack on
        consensus among conservationists about what sustainably farmed
        seafood and salmon means.

        "Sustainable aquaculture continues to present the largest
        challenges - issues ranging from consensus on sustainable criteria,
        to finding sustainable producers, to finding sufficient volume to
        meet our consumers' needs. These needs to be resolved as we move
        forward. We'll continue to work with Environmental Defense Fund,
        the Monterey Bay Aquarium and our fish suppliers to reach out
        goals. In the meantime, we've been encouraging our chefs to find
        alternative sustainable species and to simply order less,"
        explained Marc Zammit, Vice President of Sustainability and
        Culinary for Compass Group North America.

    3.  Compass dropped 1.046 million pounds lbs. of unsustainable seafood
        from its purchasing invoices, and eliminated 12 species from its
        order guides, based on the "Avoid" list from the Monterey Bay
        Aquarium's Seafood Watch program, including Chilean sea bass,
        Atlantic cod, Atlantic halibut, monkfish, orange roughy, shark
        including dogfish, imported swordfish, bluefin tuna, red snapper,
        flounder, farmed salmon and grouper.
    4.  Compass Group increased sustainable seafood purchases by 5.5
        million pounds by purchasing more Alaskan pollock, farmed tilapia
        from Ecuador and wild Alaskan salmon, Pacific halibut, striped
        bass, Arctic char, barramundi, skipjack tuna, American lobster,
        wild-caught salmon, Dungeness crab, stone crab and wild-caught
        clams. Alaskan Pollock and Pacific cod are the only pollock and cod
        species that accounts are allowed to purchase through Compass'
        broad liner.

2009-2012: Phase II

Building upon the seafood sustainability platform it has already developed, Compass Group has decided to focus on the following:

    1.  Engage the salmon, shrimp and tilapia aquaculture industry to
        implement sustainable methods of managing production waste and fish
        escapes from the farm to the marine environment, with specific
        goals and timelines for further reducing the purchase of
        unsustainable shrimp and salmon by 500,000 lbs. in the next three
    2.  Facilitate a joint Monterey Bay Aquarium /Compass Group education
        program on ocean sustainability issues tailored for Compass'
        regional and national seafood suppliers. This will include the
        adoption of the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch platform and
        specific Seafood Watch descriptors on its purchasing order guides
        to aid Compass operators in making the right choices.

A Culture of Change

The switch to sustainable seafood hasn’t been strictly a policy change. What has changed is the culture as many throughout the company – chefs, foodservice directors, frontline associates – have embraced the initiative and succeeded in spreading a message of sustainability. Some examples include:

  • With point-of-purchase collateral materials, posters, national promotions and Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch pocket guides available, Compass Group gave its customers and clients an opportunity to make sustainable choices by distributing 825,395 Seafood Watch guides across the country in the past three years.
  • Chartwells promoted Seafood Watch on its DineOnCampus websites by distributing the 20-minute DVD, “Can the Oceans Keep Up with the Hunt?” for use in college movie nights and internal TV channels on-campus.
  • Sustainable seafood has been a key component of seasonal and sector-specific promotions to over 8,000 accounts, including promotions around National Seafood Month and seasonal sustainable fare featuring pollock, trout, catfish, wild Alaskan salmon and tilapia.
  • The culinary department created an instructional and chef-training DVD featuring sustainable seafood; to date, 2,828 have been ordered and distributed to accounts since November 2007.
  • Many senior-level chefs and directors speak on the topic to customers, clients, students (e.g. Johnson & Wales University, Culinary Institute of America), and culinary-related conferences.

The Influence

Inspired by one of its operating companies – Bon Appetit Management Company, a recognized industry leader in sustainable food sourcing policies – Compass Group was the largest food service company ever to introduce sustainable seafood purchasing as policy on this scale. Not only have others in the industry followed Compass Group’s lead, but its corporate clients and suppliers have committed to improving the sustainability of the seafood supply.

The implementation of the sustainable seafood program within Compass Group, including the development of purchasing standards, internal compliance mechanisms and chef training, was managed by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation-funded Making Waves Project, a non-profit partnership between the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Program and the Bon Appetit Management Company Foundation.

“I’m thrilled with Compass Group’s successes in meeting its commitment to develop and implement a corporate sustainable seafood policy,” said aquarium Executive Director Julie Packard. “As our relationship matures, Compass Group’s continued leadership and commitment to identify and source sustainable seafood will drive significant change in the seafood industry. I want to offer my personal congratulations for all they’ve achieved.”

SOURCE Compass Group

Source: newswire

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