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Campaigners for the environmental organisation Greenpeace have been criticising one of the world’s largest supermarket chains – Tesco. They claim that the supermarket in 2012 pledged to ensure that they only stock sustainably fished tuna on it’s shelves – but had broken that promise.

The group have said that Tesco is stocking budget tuna from the low cost supplier Oriental and Pacific. This supplier is believed to use large nets called purse seines, which are harmful to other sea life. There is some confusion over the claims though which the supermarket chain deny and the manufacturer claim is misleading.

The recognised sustainable way to catch tuna is by using a pole and line, the primary benefit is that no other creatures are caught by accident. Tesco has promoted it’s ethical standpoint on tuna fishing heavily so this accusation is extremely embarrassing.

The company who owns Oriental and Pacific tuna, claims that 85% of it’s tuna is caught using the ethical manner. However it did admit that the specific brand Tesco uses is caught using large nets. It’s unclear on what basis Tesco are denying the claims when the manufacturer had in fact confirmed it. Some celebrity chefs have called for consumers to boycott buying this tuna and the supermarkets who are supplying it.

There is a concern among many environmentalists that many companies are using green issues to promote their products and brands, but the reality is many are only paying lip service to the issue rather than actually doing anything about it. The example of Tesco seems to be very typical of the attitude of many large corporations who wish to promote an environmentally friendly image without any of the costs involved. It’s unknown what sort of effect this bad publicity is going to have on Tesco but the UK is a fairly environmentally sensitive market so it will be interesting to see. You can watch the news updates and coverage of this issue on the BBC site and the Iplayer application – this method allows you to hide your location and watch the UK only programmes over the internet. It’s merely a method of changing your IP address using proxies in order to bypass the many blocks on major media sites – check this out for more information.