Subway became the latest member of the International Pole & Line Foundation (IPNLF), the non-profit association that is committed to developing and supporting responsible one-by-one tuna fisheries and supply chains. With the backing of its members, IPNLF helps ensure the demand for one-by-one caught tuna can be met without compromising the sustainability of the fisheries, while at the same time providing much-needed support for fishing communities who are heavily reliant upon those stocks.
Founded in 1965 in Connecticut, and primarily specializing in sandwiches and salads, Subway is a multi-billion dollar industry that today comprises around 44,600 outlets in 112 countries, including 26,880 outlets in the U.S. At the end of 2010, Subway became the largest fast food chain worldwide.
Tuna is the only seafood sandwich that is featured on Subway restaurant menus worldwide—and the company only serves its customers with skipjack tuna, sourced from fisheries with non-threatened stock levels.
Subway becomes the 40th Member of IPNLF, and its membership is a further step in the company’s on-going support for improved social and environmental responsibility in its supply chains. In particular, Subway is concerned by the levels of by-catch (the catch of unintended and even endangered species) associated with purse seine nets and will continue to support efforts to reduce or eliminate it.
The company will also continue to source from and support pole-and-line fisheries. Additionally, through its support of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Subway intends to only source its tuna from MSC or equivalent certified fisheries in the longer term. It is working currently with the MSC, and others, to develop a commercially feasible transition plan to more sustainable tuna.
“We are committed to reducing our environmental footprint and creating a positive influence in the communities we work with. Joining the International Pole & Line Foundation helps to contribute to this cause by supporting our customer promise to supply high-quality food that is also environmentally and socially responsibly sourced, in this case tuna—one the world’s favorite seafood products. We believe that using good, environmentally sound business practices helps increase our franchisees’ profitability, they improve our customers’ dining experiences and they also help protect the planet,” says Elizabeth Stewart, director of corporate social responsibility for Subway.
Commenting on Subway’s membership, Martine Purves, managing director of IPNLF, says, “It is fantastic to have such a big player in the international market on board with our work. As an international NGO working to develop and demonstrate the value of one-by-one tuna fisheries to coastal communities, IPNLF is particularly thrilled to have a company of Subway caliber and magnitude working alongside us. We are a hub for sustainably-minded organizations like Subway who, through their commitment to responsible sourcing and best-practice in the supply chain, want to see one-by-one tuna fisheries play a growing role in their supply chain going forward.”
Purves continues, “IPNLF’s membership is growing at an unprecedented rate as more and more companies and retailers take their support of small-scale, sustainable fisheries and the fishing communities that are so deeply dependent upon them to the next level. Alongside IPNLF, our Members are pushing for greater equity and ensuring that these environmentally and socially responsible fisheries continue to be a growing part of the tuna supply chain. It’s thanks to our Members’ continued engagement that policymakers around the world are increasingly addressing historical failings in fisheries management, thus helping new and existing fisheries to supply the fast growing consumer demand for these products.”