Not only do our vendors work to improve the nutritional aspect of our food, but they are committed to putting processes in place that improve the sustainability of our supply chain. For example:
- One of our poultry suppliers built the first facility in the US to convert poultry waste into certified organic fertilizer.
- One of our chicken suppliers has created a 50 acre wetlands habitat with rapid infiltration beds, which effectively treats the discharge water produced in their facility. The filtration system provides a high level of waste water treatment for low operational costs and very low energy usage. It also sustains a wide variety of wildlife species.
The SUBWAY® brand recognizes the vital importance of sustainable fishing - both commercially and ecologically. Our long-term goal is to work with the industry to move to more sustainable practices worldwide including: sourcing our seafood from independently certified sustainable fisheries, supporting protected areas and changing our specifications. We have already taken significant steps toward achieving this goal.
We believe in the need to maintain sustainable fish stocks and we support the use of independently assessed responsible fishing practices worldwide. We are working with our vendors and suppliers to source the seafood we serve in our restaurants as sustainably as possible today and into the future. We support the establishment of marine reserves, specifically in the Pacific Commons, and actively advocate a ban on the purchase of fish from illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) vessels.
Tuna is the only seafood sandwich that is on the SUBWAY® restaurants’ menu worldwide. We only sell skipjack tuna, considered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List as a species of least concern. It is sourced from fisheries with non-threatened stock levels. Furthermore, we have a global ban on the sale of tuna species that come from anything less than healthy stocks, for example Yellowfin and Tongol.
Our suppliers only purchase from certified non-IUU boats on the Earth Island Institute approved supplier list. Multiple catch methods are employed, including purse seine and pole and line, depending sustainability needs of the fishery. We are concerned about 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.
We require our suppliers to only source our tuna from fisheries that use responsible management practices based on independent scientific evidence. These practices include the enforcement of seasonal fish aggregating device (FAD) bans and using improved catch methods to reduce and eliminate juvenile catch and by-catch as well as improving the traceability and verification of our tuna supply.
We support the work of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and will source only from MSC (or equivalent) certified sources in the longer term. In our ongoing efforts to source sustainably, we are working with the MSC, and others, to develop a commercially feasible transition plan to more sustainable tuna.
We have also taken steps to integrate certified seafood into our menu in the following ways:
- Certified Dolphin Safe
- Earth Island complaint
- Non-IUU certified fish
- Seafood Sensation™, currently sold in the US, is fortified with Omega 3 and is sustainably sourced from a responsibly managed fishery under the Alaska Responsible Fisheries (RFM) seafood certification program
- As of June 2012, all other seafood sandwiches served in our restaurants as a local offering or a limited time offer (LTO) are made with certified sustainable seafood.
The SUBWAY® brand will continue to work with our suppliers and organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council, the Earth Island Institute, the Blue Ocean Institute, the Monterey Bay Seafood Watch, and the Institute for Sustainable Seafood to continually improve the sustainable sourcing of our seafood.
Solar Fields at SW Baking in Tolleson, Arizona
Responsible Palm Oil Sourcing
- Palm oil is used as an ingredient in a few SUBWAY® products due to its high quality, desired baking characteristics and because it supports our initiative to eliminate added Trans fats. We believe that best practice today is to source palm oil from RSPO members (Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil). We endorse the RSPO as the primary sustainability standard for palm oil products.
Over the past several years we worked with our approved suppliers to improve the sustainability of the palm oil used in our products and/or eliminating it from recipes where feasible. Today, all of our approved suppliers globally, with the exception of one, have represented that they purchase the palm oil used in our products from RSPO members. While we believe we have made good progress in affecting responsible palm oil sourcing within our supply chain, we will continue to work with our approved suppliers to improve the sustainability of the palm oil used in our products.
- To encourage practices that support sustainable palm oil including the growing, processing and transportation processes that will stop deforestation while continuing to support the communities which rely on its production including the palm oil used in our products will:
- Not come from areas cleared of natural forest after November 2005
- Be derived from plantations and farms operation in compliance with local legislation
- Not come from forests with endangered species
- Protect high conservation areas
- Support the free and informed consent of indigenous and local communities to activities on their land where the plantations are developed
- Protect peat land and forest areas of “high carbon” value
- Comply with RSPO principles and criteria
- To continue to work with our partner manufacturers to ensure our palm oil purchasing commitments are upheld and to improve the sustainability of the palm oil used in our products with a goal is that all approved SUBWAY® products that use palm oil as an ingredient will use certified sustainable palm oil by the end of 2017. For example:
- As of April 2013 the supplier of our cookies began purchasing GreenPalm certificates to offset the volume used in our cookies.
- The palm oil used in products sold in the European Union has been certified sustainable since 2015.
- To continue to work with our partner manufacturers to improve the traceability and transparency of the palm oil sourcing for our products. Some of the palm oil suppliers in our supply chain have already begun this process. In fact last year, one palm oil supplier had a combined average traceability to mill and estate of 93% and 38% respectively. Also two palm oils suppliers have a documented grievance process, methodology for monitoring and engaging with palm oil suppliers and Initiatives with smallholders as well as external initiatives that support sustainable palm oil. We developing a mechanism to report of the progress within our supply chain.
- In the UK & Ireland, our restaurants serve only Rainforest Alliance certified coffee & tea.
Although the SUBWAY® brand benefits from the efficiencies of a centralized distribution network, we know our customers are increasingly interested in locally sourced products that help support local businesses as well as reduce the carbon footprint of the supply chain. Knowing this, our non-profit, franchisee owned, Independent Purchasing Cooperative (IPC) tries to incorporate locally sourced products where ever possible provided they meet our stringent specification and are cost effective. For instance:
- In the U.S., 100% of the standard beverages, salty snacks, beef, pork, poultry, cheese, eggs, sauces & dressings, soup, yogurt packaging paper and cleaning chemicals used in our restaurants are produced in the U.S.
- Throughout the year, we buy produce from all over North America, from tomato farmers in Ohio and Arkansas, bell pepper growers in Florida and Canada to cucumber growers in Georgia. No matter where we buy from, we ensure that the growers have met our strict food safety. The following chart illustrates the many growing regions that our tomatoes alone are sourced from throughout the year.