Sustainable seafood: building on our commitment
Animal and fish welfare is extremely important to our business—and crucially it’s an issue our customers increasingly care about too. We want our customers to be confident that the food they buy from M&S has been, and always will be, sourced responsibly.
At M&S, I’m part of a team of experts that oversees our Sustainable Seafood Policy and ensures we continue building on our high standards – because our simple aim is to lead the way when it comes to responsibly sourced seafood.
We’ve had our Sustainable Seafood Policy in place for over 20 years, and we are one of the only retailers to cover every single piece of fresh and frozen fish and seafood on our shelves—whether in a sandwich, a ready meal or a can.
Today, 100% of our seafood is responsibly sourced—and we make it easy for our customers to recognise this through our Responsibly Sourced messaging or logo on our packaging.
Responsibly sourced means our seafood comes from well-managed fisheries and farms, which in turn helps to safeguard fish welfare and sustainability, as well as the livelihoods of coastal communities. We also know our customers care about where their food comes from, so we’ve made it our priority to be as transparent as possible by listing all our seafood suppliers on our Interactive Seafood Map.
As part of our sustainable seafood commitment, we support and collaborate with a number of NGOs and organisations to continue improving the industry’s seafood sourcing standards and finding solutions to some of our biggest challenges.
We work with organisations such as the International Pole and Line Foundation, Fisheries Innovation Scotland, and the Global Tuna Alliance to name a few—and together, we’ve been able to support fisheries and fishing communities, both at home and overseas, with initiatives like digitalising catch reporting and improving fishing gear and equipment.
Whilst over 90% of our wild-caught seafood came from a fishery certified by a Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) recognised standard in 2019/20, our policy isn’t just about sourcing from suppliers that are certified or are already meeting our high standards. We want to play our part to help support fisheries that are on a journey to becoming more sustainable, and that’s why the remainder of our seafood comes from Fishery Improvement Projects or fisheries working with us and WWF to improve. Part of our work involves supporting these suppliers financially to make the changes they need, and we’ve invested over £100,000 in fishery improvement projects around the world in the last year alone.
One project we’re particularly proud to have supported is for the Maldivian One-by-One Tuna Fisheries, which supply M&S canned and fresh tuna. Through our work with the International Pole and Line Foundation, we’ve helped to create an online database (a fisheries information system) so that these fisheries can meet the traceability requirements for catch and vessel reporting. This meant that the Maldivian One-by-One Tuna Fisheries could maintain sustainability certification in line with our responsible sourcing standards.
Helping to make a positive difference
Helping to make a positive difference to these fisheries and the fishing community’s future is what makes our team’s role at M&S, and within the wider industry, so rewarding.
We’ve made great progress in sourcing our seafood sustainably, and we’ll continue doing all we can to raise the bar in the industry. Our customers can trust that every M&S fish and seafood product is not only great-tasting and fantastic value, but has been sourced responsibly so that together, we’re helping to Spark Change for a more sustainable future.