We're thrilled to announce that leading UK retailers have brokered a voluntary agreement with the largest krill fishing companies and Greenpeace to voluntarily restrict fishing in key areas around the Antarctic Peninsula, including ‘buffer zones’ around breeding colonies of penguins.

This will make a real difference to the protection of Antarctic waters and wildlife. Retailers have worked closely with suppliers like Aker BioMarine as well as Greenpeace to ensure the region and its wildlife will now be better protected.

Many animals, including penguins, seals and whales, depend upon krill, a small crustacean which is a keystone species in the Antarctic food web.

Our members recognise their responsibilities in protecting the marine environment and have set out a clear statement of commitment to safeguard vital areas of the Antarctic Ocean and its ecosystem now and in future. The new industry statement has been signed by the BRC, Aldi, Asda, Boots, the Cooperative Group, Holland & Barrett, Lidl, M&S, Morrisons, Ocado, Sainsbury’s, Tesco and Waitrose.

But we want to go further and enshrine this protection with the establishment of a network of marine protected areas. Leading retailers and suppliers under the Association of Responsible Krill harvesting companies (ARK) have also now pledged to support the scientific and political process for the creation of a network of large-scale marine protected areas in the Antarctic, including areas in which fishing companies currently operate.

Greenpeace agree. Louisa Casson, of Greenpeace's Protect the Antarctic campaign said:

"It's great that British retailers are responding to the wave of public support for ocean protection by backing ocean sanctuaries in the Antarctic and upholding the precautionary approach with their suppliers when it comes to krill products. Their voice is a welcome addition, alongside 1.7 million people globally, scientists, politicians, and now even the majority of the krill fishing industry, to the growing calls for protecting for Antarctic this year."

Under Better Retail Better World, the retail industry is taking action to build a better, more prosperous and sustainable world with a leading role in delivering the UN’s sustainable development agenda. This includes goals based on SDG 12 on responsible consumption and production. Using the widely recognised United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework, clear, transparent and measurable goals developed with businesses and campaigners are at the heart of the initiative.

Learn more about Better Retail Better World here.