Nestlé and Mars have pledged to take steps to ensure their pet food supply chains are free of human rights abuses and illegally caught seafood, according to Greenpeace.
Greenpeace said the decision by the two biggest pet food firms in the world was taken “following global pressure” and a campaign against the practice of “transshipping at sea”, where companies shift fish from one vessel to another to remain at sea for longer and dodge regulations.
Transshipment gives illegal fishing vessels the opportunity to unload unregulated catches into supply chains away from the prying eyes of port authorities. It also hides labour abuses.
Jack Scott, head of sustainability at Nestlé Purina PetCare, said: “In light of Greenpeace’s research findings, Nestlé has committed to a ban on all transshipments at sea.”
Isabelle Aelvoet, global sustainability director at Mars Petcare, said: “We are committed to working with our suppliers to remedy these problems, but if we cannot resolve these issues to our satisfaction quickly, we will seek to end the use of transshipped products in our supply chains until these serious problems are fixed.”
Greenpeace said it would be closely monitoring the companies’ progress to ensure these policies lead to “real changes on the water”.
The NGO described the companies’ commitments as a “strong message” to global seafood giant Thai Union, which supplies both companies, that it should ensure it has no human rights abuses or illegal fishing in its own supply chains.
“Pet owners and activists have demanded that companies eliminate human rights abuses from their pet food supply chains. This move toward stopping out of control transshipment at sea means we’re finally seeing results,” said Greenpeace USA oceans campaigner Graham Forbes.
“These are the two largest pet food companies in the world, and their commitments to address transshipping at sea will put significant pressure on suppliers like Thai Union to show the leadership needed to clean up their own seafood supply chains.”
☛ Want to stay up to date with the news? Sign up to our daily bulletin.