John West is ‘paying the price’ for breaking its sustainability promise to consumers

Publication date: 25th July 2016

Responding to Tesco’s announcement that within the week many John West tuna products will be off its shelves, Greenpeace Oceans Campaigner Ariana Densham said:

‘John West broke their sustainability promise to consumers and now they’re paying the price. We know that this move by Tesco is going to cost John West millions. How long will it take for them and their owner Thai Union to work out that stripping our oceans of life is a dead-end business strategy?’

Tesco’s announcement follows years of campaigning by Greenpeace and Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Fish Fight, which led to all major UK retailers committing to only sell sustainably-caught tuna in their own-brand products. Waitrose has also recently promised that unless John West meets the supermarket’s sustainability criteria its products will be de-listed, prompting calls for other retailers to follow suit and take responsibility for the branded products on their shelves.

Despite over 80,000 emails from the public to Sainsbury’s CEO asking the supermarket to take action on John West, the retailer has so far refused to address the issue.

Tesco’s Group Quality Director, Tim Smith, said:

‘We wanted to take our commitments on quality sustainable tuna further, and earlier this year we announced we would take steps to make sure all the tuna on our shelves – including branded tuna products – met our requirements… We have now completed our review, and as a result have decided to de-list a number of core John West lines with effect from the end of July.’

Ariana Densham continued:

‘This is a huge victory for the movement for sustainable seafood. We’ve made massive progress over the last few years, and the UK is now one of the most sustainable tuna markets in the world. But for too long the presence of John West’s unsustainable tuna, caught using destructive fishing practices which harm all kinds of marine life, has sat uneasily at the centre of that market.

‘Hundreds of thousands of people are calling on John West and its owner Thai Union to clean up their act, and it’s a credit to Tesco that they have put their money where their mouth is and taken John West’s tuna products off the shelves. We’ll be keeping a close eye on how John West plans to meet retailers’ sustainability requirements.

‘Now it’s time for other retailers like Sainsbury’s to tell John West enough is enough: clean up or ship out.’



See here for the full Tesco announcement.

By the end of July, Tesco has said that ‘a number of core John West lines will be de-listed’. While there will still be some John West tuna products on offer, Tesco stated: ‘we are working with John West on a plan for these remaining lines to be converted to sustainable tuna sources as soon as possible.’

Over the past fortnight, hundreds of people have taken action in their local Sainsbury’s stores demanding action on John West’s unsustainable tuna. For more info, see here:

For further information, comment and interviews, contact:

Luke Massey, Press & Communications Officer, 07973 873 155,