Loblaw announces year one progress report on its seafood sustainability

Loblaw extends seafood sustainability awareness campaign into schools and announces action plan for next 12 months

BRAMPTON, ON, May 18 /CNW/ - May 2010 marks one year since Loblaw Companies Limited (Loblaw) took a leadership role amongst Canadian food retailers by announcing its commitment to source all seafood sold in its stores from sustainable sources by the end of 2013. The Company today announces that it is on track to meet its goal, reveals its year two action plan and extends its public awareness campaign to include a national secondary school program featuring a documentary about the state of our oceans, The End of the Line.

"As Canada's largest buyer and seller of seafood, we are pleased today to report we continue to make progress and are on track to reach our goal of 100 per cent sustainable seafood sold in our stores by the end of 2013," said Paul Uys, vice-president, sustainable seafood, Loblaw Companies Limited. "While we remain focused on achieving our milestones, we continue to invest in meaningful ways to raise awareness of the challenges facing our oceans and why it's important to have sustainable seafood sources."

Year One Progress Report:

Loblaw's sustainable seafood commitment covers all canned, frozen, fresh, wild and farmed seafood products and products containing seafood as an ingredient, in all categories, across all brands. Loblaw is proud to report it has achieved the goals set out in its year one action plan:

    1.  Began assessment of all sources of seafood, in partnership with WWF-
    2.  Continued to work through our supply chain for Loblaw brand seafood
        products to prepare for additional audits to Marine Stewardship
        Council (MSC) standards. As of February 2010, Loblaw increased the
        number of MSC-certified products to 16, the most of any Canadian
    3.  Developed and began to execute a four-year implementation plan upon
        completing the seafood sourcing assessment.
    4.  Began identifying sources with no improvement potential. These
        sources were stopped or will be phased out as soon as possible, based
        on the results of our assessment. Species identified as being "at
        risk" include orange roughy, chilean sea bass, shark and skate.
    5.  Identified and recruited experts in fisheries and marine science to
        provide us with sound, independent advice when needed. Some of these
        experts include WWF-Canada and Dr. Jeffrey Hutchings, professor of
        biology and Canada research chair in marine conservation and
        biodiversity, Dalhousie University.
    6.  Confirmed our commitment decisions and communicated these with
        suppliers, distributors, colleagues, franchises, franchise employees,
        customers, the general public, and other external stakeholders.

Awareness Campaign:

Leading up to Ocean's Day (June 8), a global event where concerned communities from around the world take stock of the state of our oceans, Loblaw has added a fresh element to its public awareness campaign. Loblaw is currently making the documentary The End of the Line available to more than 700 Canadian schools across the country. The goal of the program is to provide educators and students with a platform to have a dynamic dialogue about the challenges facing our oceans.

"Proper ocean management and education play a key role in healthy thriving oceans," said Hadley Archer, vice president, strategic partnerships, WWF-Canada. "Purchasing sustainably sourced seafood is one way we can all help and with Loblaw's leadership we are hopeful more Canadians will understand the importance of buying sustainable seafood and taking action in their daily lives to improve the health of our oceans."

The End of the Line is an award winning documentary that offers a fascinating, compelling and educational look at the state of our oceans by world-renowned scientists. It examines the global impact of overfishing, the profound possibility of a future world with no fish and provides suggestions as to changes we can make to how we catch and consume seafood that can have a lasting effect on our seafood supply.

This program is in partnership with Criterion Pictures and the Visual Education Centre, Canada's leading sources for educational multi-media products.

The school program is a complement to the public awareness campaign Loblaw launched in select stores earlier this year to educate customers about sustainable seafood and the challenges facing our oceans. In these stores, Loblaw seafood counters feature empty trays, where fish Loblaw identified as "at risk" were once displayed. The goal is to create a visual message to help educate customers about sustainable seafood choices. Once a viable sustainable product can be found the trays will be filled. The Company will be rolling-out its in-store campaign to all participating corporate and franchise stores in June.

Additionally, to help Canadians make better choices, Loblaw created a Facebook page, www.facebook.com/LoblawSustainableSeafood, to share information about its seafood sustainability commitment and progress and encourage dialogue about the issue.

Year Two Targets:

As Loblaw moves into year two of its sustainable seafood commitment, it has set out to achieve the following milestones by May 2011:

    1.  Through continued focus on both Loblaw control brands and national
        brands, double the current number of MSC-certified wild seafood
        products available to our consumers.
    2.  Adopt a policy of selling 100 per cent International Seafood
        Sustainability Foundation (ISSF) canned tuna to facilitate a
        transition to MSC certification.
    3.  Work with Canadian fresh salmon farmers to launch a more responsible
        aquacultural program into the marketplace; this in turn will support
        the development of a credible certification standard.
    4.  Continue to work towards appropriate solutions in managing "species
        at risk" in partnership with the fishing industry, WWF-Canada and
        independent marine science advisors.
    5.  Introduce the appropriate tools to establish and assess the required
        information to manage the buying process effectively.
    6.  Engage different levels of government, non-government organizations
        and other stakeholders to assist in the implementation of Loblaw's
        stated commitment.
    7.  Continue to educate colleagues, and inform consumers with an ongoing
        public awareness campaign and the launch of a Loblaw sustainable
        seafood web site.

For more information about Loblaw's commitment to source seafood from sustainable sources only by the end of 2013 please visit: www.loblaw.ca/seafood and www.facebook.com/LoblawSustainableSeafood.

Loblaw's sustainable seafood commitment is driven by its corporate social responsibility pillar, source with integrity. A commitment to source with integrity is one of five Loblaw corporate social responsibility pillars, which also includes Respect the Environment, Make a Positive Difference in our Community, Reflect our Nation's Diversity and Be a Great Place to Work.

About Loblaw Companies Limited

Loblaw Companies Limited, a subsidiary of George Weston Limited, is Canada's largest food distributor and a leading provider of drugstore, general merchandise and financial products and services. Loblaw is one of the largest private sector employers in Canada. With more than 1,000 corporate and franchised stores from coast to coast, Loblaw and its franchisees employ over 138,000 full-time and part-time employees. Through its portfolio of store formats, Loblaw is committed to providing Canadians with a wide, growing and successful range of products and services to meet the everyday household demands of Canadian consumers. Loblaw is known for the quality, innovation and value of its food offering. It offers Canada's strongest control (private) label program, including the unique President's Choice(R), no name(R) and Joe Fresh Style(R) brands. In addition, the Company makes available to consumers President's Choice Financial(R) services and offers the PC(R) points loyalty program.

SOURCE Loblaw Companies Limited

For further information: For further information: Loblaw Public Relations Department, (905) 459-2500 or pr@loblaw.ca

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