I was never expecting to post a successive list of positive enviro-stories, but today’s blog is one of the more positive I will write. Yesterday, after a year of campaigning, the Oceans team at Greenpeace UK won their long battle with John West, the tuna suppliers. John West (labelled ‘John Worst’ by those imaginative Greenpeace people) was the last of the UK’s big tuna suppliers to agree to change its tuna fishing policies to more sustainable practices, all thanks to months of Greenpeace campaigning.
In the last year, Greenpeace UK’s Oceans group have managed to turn the hands of Princes, Tescos, Morrisons, Asda, and now finally John West. The success of the campaign has been outstanding, and it’s a wonderful tribute to hard work, determination, but also people power. Greenpeace’s record of taking on big corporations and winning seems to be growing due to innovative campaigning techniques that are capturing the imaginations of an increasing number of people. As a group, their motions seem to be becoming more and more powerful, and after the changing policies of the other major groups, John West’s decision yesterday really was only a matter of time.
But I’m curious to see what will come next on the Greenpeace Oceans agenda. John West’s new policy is to be fishing with out FADs* etc by 2016. Presumably, they’ve got a bit of work to do, changing their fishing fleets and so on, yet 2016 still seems a long way off. For the next five years, John West will still be fishing in ways that are damaging to endangered species – only now that they have met Greenpeace’s original demands, consumers will feel they have been given the green light to buy John West tuna. Hopefully, conscientious consumers will still be following the Greenpeace tuna league table, and buying tuna caught hook and line by the table leaders: Sainsburys, M&S, and Waitrose. John West may have changed its policy, but until its fishing practises are actually changed, its still worth boycotting.
*FADs: Fish Aggregating Device