THAILAND: Thai Union Group PCL this Tuesday announced its commitment to adopt measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout the company’s supply chains, as part of an agreement settled with Greenpeace.
The group explained its new commitments build upon its sustainability strategy SeaChange®, including efforts to support best practice fisheries, improve other fisheries, reduce illegal and unethical practices in its global supply chains, and bring more responsibly-caught tuna to key markets.
“If Thai Union implements these reforms, it will pressure other industry players to show the same level of ambition and drive much needed change. Now is the time for other companies to step up, and show similar leadership,” pointed out Greenpeace International Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid.
The firm’s comprehensive package of reforms include commitments to:
• Reduce the number of fish aggregating devices (FADs) used globally in its supply chains by an average of 50 per cent by 2020, while doubling the amount of verifiable FAD-free fish available in markets globally in the same period.
• Extend its current moratorium on at-sea transshipment across its entire global supply chain unless new strict conditions are met by suppliers.
• Ensure independent observers are present on all longline vessels transshipping at sea to inspect and report on potential labor abuse, and ensure 100 percent human or electronic observer coverage across all tuna longline vessels it sources from.
• Develop a comprehensive code of conduct for all vessels in its supply chains, to complement the existing and strengthened Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, to help ensure workers at sea are being treated humanely and fairly, and third party independent audits with publicly accessible results and clear timelines to ensure its requirements are being met.
• Shift significant portions of longline caught tuna to pole and line or troll-caught tuna by 2020 and implement strong requirements in place to help reduce bycatch.
• Move to full digital traceability, allowing people to track their tuna back to the vessel it was caught on and identify the fishing method used.
As part of the new strategy, Greenpeace and Thai Union have agreed to meet every six months to assess the company’s progress and implementation. At the conclusion of 2018, an independent third-party will review progress to-date on the commitments.
Thai Union owns well-known tuna brands globally, including Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Mareblu, and Sealect.
Nearly 700,000 individuals around the globe called on Thai Union to commit to selling more sustainable and ethical canned tuna. Following the announcement, Greenpeace, its allies, and the independent auditor will continue to track Thai Union and the broader industry’s progress to ensure these commitments lead to real changes on the water.