The world’s biggest corporation, Wal-Mart, adopts GAA certification

Wal-Mart has partnered with Global Aquaculture Alliance and Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) to certify that all foreign shrimp suppliers adhere to Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards
November 19, 2005

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. took an important step this week to ensure that the company's imported shrimp is farmed with environmental sustainability in mind.  Wal-Mart has partnered with Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) and Aquaculture Certification Council, Inc. (ACC) to certify that all foreign shrimp suppliers adhere to Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards.


Wal-Mart helped develop the sustainability standards as part of an environmental initiative announced last month.  Wal-Mart has pledged to take a leadership role in environmental sustainability, with a focus on climate, waste, and the products it sells.


"This certification is just one way Wal-Mart is working to source products in environmentally sound ways -- and deliver these high-value products at affordable prices to our customers," said Peter Redmond, vice president and divisional merchandise manager for deli and seafood.


The BAP standards provide quantitative international guidelines and auditing procedures throughout the shrimp production process.  Wal-Mart guided the development of the new standards with the GAA, assistance from leading technical experts such as Dr. Claude Boyd with Auburn University, and various non-governmental organizations such as Conservation International.


"We felt the governance structure and geographic scope of the BAP program best fit our environmental goals, and it was the right thing to do for our customers," says Redmond.  "With this new certification, when customers buy shrimp in our stores, they can be assured it is farmed in a way that is sustainable and helps protect the environment.  Soon, a certification stamp on the package will reinforce that fact," Redmond adds.


The BAP standards address such issues as mangrove and wetland conservation, effluent management, drug and chemical management, and microbial sanitation.  They align conservation stakeholders and shrimp farmers in a comprehensive program that includes participating shrimp hatcheries, farms and processing plants.


"This action by Wal-Mart represents an important step in addressing environmental sustainability within the shrimp aquaculture industry," says Bambi Semroc, manager of agriculture, forestry & fisheries for Conservation International.  "These revised aquaculture standards now contain strengthened provisions to ensure conservation and restoration of coastal mangrove ecosystems that are threatened by unsustainable shrimp farming practices."


"As consumers study more closely the seafood they eat -- as well as where it came from -- continued demand for BAP certification will improve the image of farmed shrimp," says GAA President George Chamberlain.  "We are grateful for Wal-Mart's initiative in driving improvements in the BAP standards that will benefit the entire shrimp-farming industry."


Site inspections and ongoing audits are carried out by ACC's independent certifiers.  They examine facility procedures and infrastructure, review records and sample effluents to ensure production processes meet the highest standards.  ACC has a system that traces shrimp products from processing plants back through the supply chain to the farms and even to the individual ponds where the shrimp were raised.  "All of these measures will mean a high quality product for our Wal-Mart customers," says Redmond.  "Customers should not need a greater income for access to seafood that is produced in a sustainable manner.  We're proud to offer that peace of mind."


Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM'S CLUB locations in the United States.  The company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Germany, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. 


For more on BAP facility certification, visit the ACC website: