Darden Restaurants announces commitment to action at 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting – Fishupdate.com

Darden Restaurants announces commitment to action at 2011 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting Published:  22 September, 2011

Darden Restaurants formally announced, at the Clinton Global Initiative’s (CGI) Seventh Annual Meeting, the company’s three-year commitment to rebuilding troubled fisheries through Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs).

Initial FIP work will be in and around the Gulf of Mexico with partners Publix Super Markets and Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP).

Darden’s recognition stems from CGI’s Commitments to Action, where members are encouraged to propose concrete plans to address global challenges as a means of translating practical goals into meaningful results.  According to the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), nearly a third of global fish stocks are over-exploited, depleted, or recovering while 50 percent of stocks are fully exploited.

Darden’s submission, “Catalyzing Industry to Rebuild World Fisheries,” was selected as an exemplary approach to addressing challenges in the environment and energy cluster, and includes commitments to combat illegal fishing, enhance productivity and reduce negative ecological impact.

“As one of the largest buyers of seafood in the world, Darden is an industry leader in supporting healthy ecosystems for future generations. Through this commitment, Darden is taking action to create change within the seafood supply chain by building alliances with governments, conservation advocates, and communities to develop and implement fishery improvement. We hope others will look at what Darden has achieved and committed to, and as a result, take action,” said Jim Cannon, CEO, SFP.

As part of its Commitment to Action, Darden will lead the creation of an alliance of companies, non-governmental organizations and other groups, including SFP and Publix Super Markets, to support targeted fishery improvement projects. Darden and its partners’ commitments address the fishery crisis and its potential to undermine global food supply.

“We are honored the Clinton Global Initiative recognizes our efforts to preserve world marine ecosystems that benefit our environment, fishing communities and people around the globe who rely on seafood as a sustainable source of protein,” said Ian Olson, Darden’s director of sustainability. “We will continue to work with SFP and other organizations to build on the success of our commitment to sustainable aquaculture.”

Other Darden contributions in support of fishery and aquaculture sustainability include: co-founding the Global Aquaculture Alliance to promote aquaculture best practices; partnering with the New England Aquarium to provide current data regarding wild-capture fish and aquaculture species; and supporting work in Caribbean and Canadian fisheries to enhance lobster stocks and ensure a sustainable livelihood for fishermen.

“Seafood sustainability is an effort that must be championed not just within our company, but also throughout our industry,” said Publix Director of Environmental and Sustainability Programs, Michael Hewett. “We recognize that only through a unified effort, and with the support of the seafood industry, will sustainability efforts truly advance. That is why we have partnered alongside organizations such as Darden and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership, with whom we share a common vision to improve fisheries and move the seafood sustainability conversation forward.”

Darden Restaurants, Inc., the world’s largest full-service restaurant company, owns and operates more than 1,900 restaurants that generate more than $7.5 billion in annual sales. About SFP

Founded in 2006, the mission of the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership is to maintain healthy ocean and aquatic ecosystems, enhance fishing and fish-farming livelihoods and secure food supplies. To learn more, visit www.sustainablefish.org and www.fishsource.org. SFP is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.