Hy-Vee Inc. has announced the adoption of a new Seafood Supplier Code of Conduct (SCoC), reinforcing its commitment to environmentally and socially responsible seafood.
Hy-Vee has joined a growing contingent of retailers committed to upholding human and labor rights in its supply chains, the grocer said in a news release.
Hy-Vee aims to partner with seafood suppliers that share its commitment to quality products, environmental responsibility, and fair labor practices. The labor expectations set out in the SCoC are aligned with international norms, standards, and best practices, including the United Nations (UN) Global Compact, International Labor Organization (ILO) International Labor Standards, and Verité Responsible Sourcing Tool Sample Code of Conduct Provisions for Seafood Supply Chains.
The SCoC was created to ensure that Hy-Vee’s suppliers enforce safe working conditions; that workers in Hy-Vee’s seafood supply chains are treated with respect and dignity; and that seafood harvesting and production processes are legal and transparent. Since its adoption in January 2021, 100 percent of Hy-Vee’s active seafood suppliers have received and signed a copy of the new Seafood SCoC.
“Hy-Vee is committed to advancing social responsibility in our seafood supply chains, and this new Code of Conduct is an articulation of our company values and commitments that we believe align with our customers’ expectations,” said Jason Pride, vice president of meat and seafood for Hy-Vee, in the release. “This sends a clear message to all our suppliers of the standards and expectations we have for doing business together.”
Based on the results of a supplier social responsibility assessment conducted last year, many of Hy-Vee’s seafood suppliers were found to already have strong policies and practices in place, such as human and labor rights codes of conducts, regular human rights risk assessments and social audits and worker grievance mechanisms. Hy-Vee’s goal is to support the important work already being conducted by suppliers and identify opportunities where social responsibility improvements can be made.
Hy-Vee also employs its own U.S. Department of Commerce (USDC) lot inspector to ensure the quality, safety and integrity of the fresh seafood it buys from suppliers. The USDC inspector is stationed on-site at Hy-Vee’s Perishable Distributors of Iowa distribution facility in Ankeny. The inspector routinely checks incoming shipments of fresh and frozen seafood, ensuring that it meets Hy-Vee’s standards.
The SCoC is Hy-Vee’s most recent initiative to build an increasingly comprehensive seafood sustainability program that places an equal emphasis on the protection of workers’ rights and environmental sustainability. Hy-Vee collaborated with FishWise, a sustainable seafood consultancy, on the new standards.