Since 2016, our Food Business Unit is partnering with WWF with the aim of helping safeguard a healthy ocean and the livelihoods of communities that depend on it.
In renewing our collaboration with WWF® in 2021, we decided to broaden the scope of our work and to focus on the concept of “Ocean Stewardship”. We increased our sourcing from more sustainable fishing practices: 86.5% of our branded tuna now comes from responsibly managed fisheries.
We played an important advocacy role to improve stocks’ management within the international organizations regulating fishing activities in high seas. We started an exciting project related to the blue forest conservation project in the Gulf of Guayaquil, Ecuador, which will protect more than 7,000 hectares of mangroves.
“ We have the ambition of becoming the most sustainable tuna company for the world. To this end, we are confirming our objective of 100% tuna from MSC-certified fisheries or Credible and Comprehensive FIPs by 2024 for the whole perimeter of our business unit. On top of this, we are committing to adopt stricter sustainability criteria in line with the newly released WWF’s Tuna Strategy and to intensify our advocacy efforts”, says Luciano Pirovano, Global Sustainable Development Director of the Food Business Unit of Bolton Group.
Tuna, one of the world’s most commercially valuable fish, is essential for a healthy ocean ecosystem. They are vital to food security for coastal communities and also a fundamental item in the basket of consumers all over the world. However, tuna species are under a lot of pressure. “Tuna fisheries are part of the complex and multi-dimensional relationship people have with the ocean. Tuna is extremely valuable as a food source, particularly for coastal communities, and healthy tuna populations are essential for resilient and productive marine ecosystems,” says John Tanzer, WWF Global Ocean Lead. “Working with different actors through partnerships like this with Bolton Food is important to achieve WWF’s goal of sustainable, well-managed fisheries supporting food security, livelihoods, and ocean health.”
During the first phase of the partnership (2016-2020), Bolton’s focus was on improving the sustainability of its supply chains for both artisanal and industrial fisheries. Today, almost 70% of the sourcing of Rio Mare comes from MSC certified fisheries or Credible and Comprehensive Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), up from 20% since the start of the partnership. In terms of transparency and traceability, 100% of Rio Mare’s tuna products are fully traceable from catch to plate, with information being shared in real-time with consumers. Considering the perilous state of tuna stocks globally, the Food Business Unit of Bolton Group and WWF identified the need to raise Bolton’s sustainability commitments through the adoption of a holistic seascape approach for tuna management and sourcing: while the MSC certification and Fishery Improvement Projects will remain two important tools for promoting more sustainable fisheries in phase II of the partnership, Bolton is committed to looking beyond certification.
In addition to working towards improving supply chain sustainability and transparency, the partnership will actively advocate for the adoption of new measures by the Tuna Regional Fisheries Management Organizations (RFMOs) with the goal of helping rebuild overfished stocks and preventing overfishing in the future. The partnership will also develop communication campaigns to promote responsible seafood consumption and increase awareness about more sustainable fishing, under the “Together for the Oceans” banner.
The Food Business Unit of Bolton Group will also continue its commitment to the respect and protection of people and communities across its supply chains, working with international experts such as Oxfam.