Keep the Pressure on HB Grandi over Its Links to Icelandic Whaling

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

The fin whaling season has once again come to an end in Iceland, this year with 137 endangered fin whales slaughtered for profit.

In September, the Environmental Investigation Agency ( EIA), Animal Welfare Institute (AWI), and Whale and Dolphin Conservation (WDC) released a joint report, Slayed in Iceland, and film prior to a meeting of the International Whaling Commission (IWC), exposing the scale of the hunt and international trade, as well as the financial and logistical links between the whalers and some of Iceland’s largest companies.

As the IWC meeting opened on September 15 in Slovenia, 35 governments delivered a formal diplomatic protest known as a démarche to the Icelandic government, calling on it to stop whaling and end all trade in fin and minke whales.

On September 17, nine Latin American governments participating in the IWC meeting added their support to the call for an end to Iceland’s whaling.

New research from AWI and its coalition partners reveals that major retailers are steering clear of sourcing seafood products from Icelandic seafood giant HB Grandi because of its strong links to Icelandic fin whaling company Hvalur.

Earlier this year, we wrote to 31 North American and 47 pan-European retailers, wholesalers, and seafood brands asking them to conduct a full and transparent audit of their seafood supply chain to guarantee they were not purchasing seafood with links to fin whaling, including fish from third-party agents and/or processors, and to confirm whether they have a policy opposing commercial whaling and trade in whale products.

Retailers currently purchasing seafood from HB Grandi or one of its subsidiaries were requested not to renew existing contracts and to inform HB Grandi (or its subsidiary) of this decision.

European Response

While audits are still underway, the vast majority of the European retailers that have responded so far do not source from HB Grandi and most have a clear policy against commercial whaling.

Retailer/Brand

Country/region of operation

Grandi-free?

Opposed to commercial whaling?

ASDA

UK

Brake Brothers / M& J Seafood

UK

Co-operative

UK

Findus Group

Europe (HQ: UK)

First FIMEX

Germany

Groupe Auchan

Multinational
(HQ: France)

HAWESTA Feinkost

Germany

Iceland

UK

Icelandic Seachill

UK

Iglo Group
(incl.Frozen Fish International)

Europe
(HQ: UK)

Kaufland

Germany

LIDL

Multinational
(HQ: Germany)

Lyons Seafoods

UK

Marks & Spencer

Multinational
(HQ: UK)

Morrisons

UK

Musgrave Group

Europe
(HQ: Ireland)

Norma

Europe
(HQ: Germany)

Sainsbury’s

UK

Smales

UK

Tesco

Multinational
(HQ: UK)

Waitrose

UK

 

North American Response

In North America, leading seafood supply company High Liner Foods has committed not to purchase products sourced from Icelandic companies linked to whaling, and will not enter into any new contracts with HB Grandi until that company has fully divested its involvement and interest in whaling.

Other companies such as Trader Joe’s have also made a public statement against whaling, and audits of its seafood supply chain are underway. AWI and its coalition partners have called on dozens of major North American retailers and seafood suppliers to ensure that they are not supporting Iceland’s fin whaling industry. The responses so far can be found here.

HB Grandi’s strong links to Icelandic whaling

In 2013, HB Grandi Marketing Manager Brynjolfur Eyjolfssonstated: “We have nothing to do with whaling.”

The reality is that HB Grandi has been, and continues to be, deeply involved in the bloody business of slaughtering endangered whales:

• Multi-millionaire Kristján Loftsson is chair of the board of HB Grandi, as well as being a member of Iceland’s delegation to the IWC; Loftsson is also the CEO of Hvalur, the whaling company hunting and killing fin whales primarily for export to Japan.

• Hvalur’s single largest asset is its significant share in HB Grandi, controlling 49.7 per cent of HB Grandi shares.

• HB Grandi continues to allow Hvalur to use its facilities in Akranes to process fin whale meat, as it has done every year that commercial fin whaling has taken place.

In late August, HB Grandi released financial figures for the first half of 2014, reporting €10.6 million in profits (US$13.98 million), a decline of €5.6 million (US$7.3 million), or 34.5 percent from the same period in 2013. Profits in 2013 were also down from the previous year.

It’s time for HB Grandi to take notice

HB Grandi recently became a publicly traded company on the Nordic NASDAQ stock exchange. With retailer and public opinion so firmly opposed, it is high time that HB Grandi looks to the bigger picture and pressures Hvalur to cease whaling and all international trade in whale products, given the significant threat to HB Grandi’s business and international reputation.

Please help us to pressure HB Grandi to do the right thing: Protest directly to the company and ask it to use its influence to end Hvalur’s whaling. We also ask you to contact key businesses sourcing from HB Grandi and to politely ask them to use their connections to pressure Hvalur to quit whaling.

Tell Seafood Companies to Stop Supporting Iceland's Endangered Fin Whale Hunt

Take action now.

Thank you for adding your voice to our campaign.