Supporting the local GHG reduction scheme in Thailand.
In 2017 we signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to participate in the Thailand Voluntary Emission Trading Scheme (Thailand V-ETS). The scheme brings together the private and public sector to monitor, report and verify GHG emissions in Thailand. This MOU is a critical step in understanding and agreeing on the importance of establishing environmental targets as an effective tool for combatting climate change.
Improving our technology and processes is helping us to deliver against our 30% GHG reduction commitment.
In 2014, we conducted an energy audit to understand the consumption sources; explored alternative energy sources such as bio-gas, solar, wind and biomass; increased our energy efficiency; and used innovations in technology to reduce energy consumption. In 2015, Songkla Canning Company replaced using fuel oil in its steam production to biomass energy, which resulted in energy reduction of 124,570.4 GJ per year.
Our Business Ethics and Code of Conduct has a focus on protecting workers’ health and workplace safety, and environmental performance.
In 2015 we updated our stringent Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct and in 2016 started rolling this out to suppliers globally. It is applied to all of our group companies and business partners, and has a focus on the protection of workers’ health and workplace safety, as well as environmental performance in our own operations and those of our supply chain partners.
Our Code of Conduct is available in 19 languages at: http://www.thaiunion.com/en/sustainability/sustainability-at-thai-union/code-of-conduct
We have brought the pre-processing of shrimp in-house, contracting workers directly so we can guarantee safe and legal employment.
In 2016 over one thousand former employees from external pre-processing facilities have been employed to work in Thai Union factories in Thailand. We ended all relationships with external pre-processing facilities so we have full oversight of all processing stages in the supply chain. This move has provided safe and legal employment for an additional 1,200 workers in our factories in Samut Sakhon.
As a key partner of the tuna Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in the Indian Ocean, we will work to meet the sustainability standard set by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC).
In 2016, we signed a letter by WWF that encouraged member countries of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) to engage in a tuna FIP and work towards MSC certification of the fishery. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in 2016 by the governments of Seychelles and Mauritius, WWF, Thai Union and Princes, indicating their interest to establish the Indian Ocean tuna FIP. The FIP will be active in 2017 and will focus on the key areas of sustainable sourcing – healthy fish stocks, minimal and reversible impact on ecosystems, and effective fisheries management. The FIP will also focus on supporting the recovery plan of the yellowfin stock in the region and will work closely with the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission to improve fisheries governance in the region.
We are providing education facilities for the children of workers at our production facilities in Thailand.
In 2014 we opened two preschools for children of our migrant and local workers in Thailand, and a third preschool was opened in 2016. These preschools help the children enter into the Thai education system so they can progress to primary school. They also ensure the children are safe during the day, providing their working parents with real peace of mind.
Our Business Ethics and Code of Conduct has been presented to all our suppliers and seeks to guarantee that all our suppliers adhere to Thai Union’s own standards.
In 2015 we updated our stringent Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct and in 2016 started rolling this out to suppliers globally. The aim is to promote higher levels of accountability and transparency throughout the supply chain and is applied to all of our group companies and business partners.
The Code of Conduct clearly sets out Thai Unions principles. These include requirements to ensure:
Any companies or suppliers who want to work with us must sign an acknowledgement of our Code of Conduct, confirming they will strictly adhere to our mandatory 12 principles.
Our Code of Conduct is available in 19 languages at http://www.thaiunion.com/en/sustainability/sustainability-at-thai-union/code-of-conduct
We have initiated a full and comprehensive audit of the entire fleet supplying tuna to our European markets to ensure every vessel fully complies with our sustainability commitments.
In 2016 we initiated an external audit process of the fleet supplying tuna to our European markets, which will be completed in 2017. The audit will check against compliance with regulations by the European Union (EU) and the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF); around Illegal, Unreported, Unregulated (IUU); quality and food safety; our own Thai Union sustainability policy and code of conduct.
Freezing is one of our major sources of energy consumption. Improving our equipment and processes is delivering against our 30% CO2 reduction commitment.
In 2015 we have undertaken a number of measures that have improved the efficiency of freezing. New working practices have reduced the time needed to load tuna into our freezers and smaller doors with integrated air curtains prevent air leaking from our freezers. We have also reduced the moisture in packed tuna as high humidity leads to higher electricity consumption by the cooling system. The combination of all these initiatives has reduced our annual energy consumption by 5,234 GJ.
Thai Union Europe's partnership with WWF-UK supports WWF's Coastal East Africa (CEA) program, which works to improve the management of artisanal tuna fisheries in the South West Indian Ocean.
In 2014, Thai Union Europe started direct funding to WWF’s CEA program. The funds supports WWF’s work on overall tuna stock management in the Indian Ocean, improving management practices, and examining opportunities for value chain addition. The work is critical in supporting greater food security and sustainable resources for millions of people, and will also contribute to the management of migratory tuna in the Indian Ocean.
We have conducted an external audit of our full shrimp feed supply chain to verify the legal status of workers on vessels.
In 2016, 100% of our shrimp feed supply chain was externally audited by UL. As a member of the Seafood Task Force, this is part of our work towards establishing traceability systems – from the vessel to the feed mill.
We help support the conservation of sea turtles in Italy, through partnerships with organizations such as Legambiente.
Since 2012, our Mareblu brand in Italy has supported the Sea Turtle Recovery Center of Manfredonia (FG) operated by non-profit organization, Legambiente. Mareblu’s contribution has funded tanks for livestock, water treatment facilities, sand filters, feed and supplements.
Our focus on standardizing safety practices and behavior has led to improvements on our lost-time injuries frequency rate (LTIFR).
In 2015, our ongoing focus on standardizing safety practices saw year-on-year improvement in our LTIFR (Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate), from 0.77 in 2014 to 0.7 in 2015 (per 200,000 work hours).
To celebrate its 100th anniversary, Chicken of the Sea donated $1m to local good causes in the US to ensure their ongoing community support.
In 2014, Chicken of the Sea celebrated its 100th anniversary. To mark the occasion, it created the Great American Gratitude Award to give more than US$1,000,000 to 100 non-profits and individuals across America who give back to their communities and exhibit the ‘pay it forward’ spirit. It also donated 1 million meals to Feeding America®, in continuation of the brand’s ongoing relationship with the American nationwide network of food banks. Chicken of the Sea continued to pay it forward in 2015 through the Mermaid Legacy Fund, a permanent corporate initiative that allows the company to donate money, volunteer hours and other resources to a select number of non-profit organizations in its hometown of San Diego and beyond on a longer term, partnership basis.
We have a helpline that allows workers to report any employment issues they might experience of witness and provides immediate guidance and advice.
Since 2014 we have been partnering with the Issara Institute to improve the conditions for workers in Thailand. In 2015 we worked together to provide workers with access to Issara’s independent worker helpline – available in five languages – in our factories and ports and we continue to support the Issara Institute’s Inclusive Labor Monitoring Program in our own facilities and supply chains. For further information see http://www.projectissara.org/
By funding partners such as the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF), we are ensuring that fishing vessels minimize bycatch like turtles.
Since 2009, our Chicken of the Sea brand in the US makes a significant financial donation every year to ISSF’s Sea Turtle Conservation Projects, which secure nesting beaches across the world. More information can be found here http://iss-foundation.org/what-we-do/areas-of-focus/bycatch/turtles/
Our ‘Garbage Bank’ program gets staff involved in our environmental program and raises funds to support the local communities.
In 2014 we established our ‘Garbage Bank’ program to reduce waste by encourage reusing and recycling; developing alternative materials that are more eco-friendly; and implementing alternative disposal methods. The program helped staff become more aware of waste, both at home and at work. Through collaboration with all levels of staff within our facilities, we collect plastic waste from our facilities and sell it to responsible recyclers. In 2015, our operations in Thailand raised 59,010 Thai bhat which has been used to fund community projects including planting mangroves, a lunch program for local children and support to victims of flooding in Myanmar.
We are supporting the efforts to combat climate change by restoring a damaged coral reef in a high profile biodiversity and ecotourism site in the Seychelles.
In 2016, we started working with Nature Seychelles to restore a small coral reef in the shallow waters facing Cousine Island that lost to climate change. The restoration includes transplanting 10,000 coral fragments of several species, and will provide a tourism opportunity for the area. When restored, it will also strengthen the case for Cousine Island to be a marine protected area.
To help keep the children of our workers in Thailand fit and healthy, we are encouraging them to participate in sport.
In November 2015, we organized a football clinic session led by legendary permit league footballers Dietmar Hamann, Jari Litmanen and Stéphane Henchoz for the children from Wat Sri Suttharam School. The session was a great success and achieved its aim of getting more of the children interested in sports which can link to a healthier lifestyle.
Working with Legambiente, our Mareblu brand is supporting the education of the Mediterranean diet.
In 2014, our Italian brand Mareblu supported local NGO Legambiente in the Mediterranean Diet exhibition at the Living Museum of the Sea (Museo Vivo del Mare). The exhibition looks to educate visitors on how the Mediterranean diet was born, and offers different experiences for students of different ages to explore and experience the Mediterranean culture through its cuisine.
Responding directly to sweeping new dietary guidelines that call for significantly increased seafood consumption, Chicken of the Sea challenged Americans to explore a happier, healthier year in 2016.
In 2016, our US brand Chicken of the Sea launched “Sea the Possibilities” challenge that asked consumers to broaden their horizons through bold new foods, everyday experiences and once-in-a-lifetime adventures that can contribute to a richer, more satisfying life – both in the kitchen and beyond. The challenge followed the launch of “Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020” that encourage Americans to choose seafood in place of other protein foods for two meals per week. See the winning entries here http://chickenofthesea.com/possibilities
“Give a man a fish and you will feed him for a day; teach him to fish, and you feed him for life.”
Since 2013, we have been working with the Right Livelihood Foundation to develop a model for a sustained fishing community. We are helping to establish social enterprise initiatives which encourage local fishermen to sell their sustainably-caught fish and earn their own income; this helps the community towards self-sufficiency. We are also working with International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) to assess environmental impacts and improvements for the project.
We run an ongoing program to keep the beaches of Seychelles clean of plastic and waste.
Since 2013, our teams in the Seychelles have been running the ‘Caring for our Ocean’ initiative to ensure the beaches and coastal waters are cleaned regularly and are free from litter and plastic waste. From the initial launch, our work has developed and now encompasses cleaning the rivers that flow into the ocean as this is a significant source of rubbish from local household waste.
We support studies into the presence and volume of plastic in Italian seas, as marine litter is a global concern, affecting oceans around the world.
Since 2015, our Italian brand Mareblu has supported local NGO Legambiente on its marine litter initiative. Contributing to the European Directive on Marine Strategy to protect the marine environment, the initiative studies the presence of micro-plastic particles in Italian Seas and Lakes, which help inform the planning of preventive measures.
We are committed to helping the families of migrant workers, as well as the employees themselves. Our program of English lessons is designed to develop the skills necessary for the children to have the brightest futures possible.
In 2016, in collaboration with Wat Sri Suttharam School, we organized an English Teaching Program to improve the English language skills of students, many of whom are the children of migrant workers. The two-month scheme was led by both Thai and expatriate Thai Union employees. It is part of our commitment to promote lifelong learning opportunities, in support of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
For many years, we have been providing food relief to communities suffering the after effects of natural disasters including famines, earthquakes and tsunamis.
In 2011 we donated 200,000 cans of tuna to the disaster relief campaign to help those who suffered in the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. In 2015, we donated 100,000 cans of SEALECT tuna and sardines to support earthquake victims in Nepal and an additional 50,000 cans of sardines and rice those who had suffered flooding in Myanmar. In 2016, we donated 100,000 cans of SEALECT sardines to support relief efforts for flood victims in the central region of Thailand.
Identifying factories with high water-shortage risk enabled us to focus on their water efficiency and effective water treatment.
In 2015 we used the Aqueduct global water risk mapping tool to map the water stress at 15 of our key factories and facilities globally. In 2016, we included assessed 11 more sites, and increased the scope to include water shortage, floods, water quality, and water cost. This assessment identified 4 out of 25 factories that were located in areas of high water-shortage risk.
Developing alternative water sources in a water stressed location in Thailand.
Songkla Canning Company (SCC) is situated in a municipality with unstable water supply volume and quality. In 2015, SCC in the Songkhla province of Thailand developed alternative water sources that accounted for 79% of all water consumption at the facility, through a private surface water pond and its own rain reservoir. It also developed water treatment facilities to enable wastewater reuse, which amounted to 19% of its water consumption in 2015.
Our biogas initiative is helping us deliver against our commitment to reduce our GHG emissions by 30% over the coming years.
In 2014 we initiated a bio-gas project at Thai Union Manufacturing Co. Ltd. The project allows us to capture bio-gas from the treatment of our wastewater; this is then used to generate electricity. In the first year, this project delivered a GHG reduction of 0.00961CO2eq for every ton of production. And in 2015, the project reduced our electricity consumption by just under 9,000 GJ.
We supported WWF’s petition to encourage Peru to engage in a Mahi-Mahi Fishery Improvement Project (FIP).
In 2016, we signed a petition by WWF that encouraged the Peruvian authorities to engage in the Mahi-Mahi FIP and to work with Ecuador to establish joint management measures. As Mahi-Mahi is a migratory species and the stock is shared by Peru and Ecuador, this would be a key progress towards MSC certification of the fishery.
We are supporting the Royal Thai Government’s efforts to create sustainable fisheries, and tacking problems in IUU fishing.
In 2016 we worked with the Thai Sustainable Fisheries Roundtable (TSFR) to adopt international standards for a feed FIP in the Gulf of Thailand. The main goals of this feed FIP is to ensure that all its fisheries are traceable and transparent throughout the supply chain; deters and eliminates IUU fishing and overfishing; and protects the wider marine ecosystem.
As a partner of the blue swimmer crab Fishery Improvement Project (FIP) in Sri Lanka, we will support the research and formulation of a harvest control strategy.
The Sir Lanka FIP aims to maintain the social and economic benefits generated by the fishery through sustainable management of blue swimmer crabs.
Since the FIP was active in 2016, it has completed the assessment on the ecological impact of the fishery in the Palk Bay (Bay of Bengal). Chicken of the Sea Frozen Foods is co-financing the cost of researching and formulation of a harvest control strategy for blue swimmer crab fisheries in Sri Lanka.
More information of the FIP can be found here: http://www.committedtocrab.org/projects/sri-lanka/
We have conducted an external audit of our full shrimp feed supply chain to ensure compliance with sustainability requirements.
In 2015, our Thai-sourced shrimp feed supply chain was internally audited by trained team members. In 2016, 100% of our Thai shrimp feed supply chain was externally audited by UL.
We are committed to source from vessels that are on the ProActive Vessel Register (PVR) by the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF).
The PVR lists vessels that have taken meaningful sustainability efforts in order to improve responsible practices in tuna fishing. Thai Union is committed to increasing the amount of fish sourced from PVR vessels, and we encourage our suppliers to join the PVR. From the 1st January 2016, 100% of the large-scale purse seiners we source from were registered. The full list of vessels on the PVR can be found here: http://iss-foundation.org/knowledge-tools/databases/proactive-vessel-register
Thai Union and all its consumer brands around the world have been certified as ‘dolphin safe’ since 1991.
We support the International Marine Mammal Project, an Earth Island Institute project that has been in place for more than 30 years; to protect dolphins, whales and the ocean environment. It pioneered the “Dolphin Safe” tuna fishing standard. We are proud that all our tuna – across every brand and every market – carries Companies that have signed a dolphin safe agreement are subject to regular monitoring by Earth Island Institute International Monitoring Program, the only independent marine conservation assessment in the world. It includes monitoring of ports, canneries and on-board vessels.
Aquaculture – shrimp and other species that are not sourced from the sea – is a major part of our business. We are working towards certification by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).
In 2015, TMAC, our subsidiary in Thailand, started its Biodiversity-inclusive Environmental Impact Assessment (B-EIA) and participatory-Social Impact Assessment (p-SIA), which were completed in 2016. Results of these assessments will be used to improve the environmental and societal performance of TMAC’s shrimp farms in south Thailand, as they work to meet the standards of the ASC. Three TMAC farms and one key supplier farm are in the process of developing and implementing Aquaculture Improvement Projects (AIPs) to achieve ASC certification.
Our French brand, Petit Navire, answers any questions that consumers may have on its sustainable fishing practices.
In 2015, our French brand, Petit Navire, has developed a website called Questions de Confiance (matter of trust), where consumers can find Frequently Asked Questions about sustainable fishing and ask any additional questions they may have.
The website covers questions on fishing methods, resource management, quality and traceability, and marine conservation.
Go through http://questionsdeconfiance.fr for FAQs on the different topics.
We have 100% traceability for all our tuna, with all of our major brands offering consumers a can-tracker allowing them to trace their tuna back to the ocean it came from and the boat that caught it.
In 2016 we achieved 100% traceability for all tuna brands with a public facing can-tracker, supporting our commitment for full traceability for all tuna sourced.
On all of these sites, consumers are invited to enter the code on their can to discover the name of the vessel that caught the fish and the ocean in which it was caught. This level of transparency builds confidence for consumers.
We provide practical support, medical help and legal aid to victims of human trafficking in Thailand.
In 2015, we initiated a pilot program with the Labour Rights Promotion Network (LPN) Foundation to deliver counselling, medical assistance, temporary food and shelter, and to provide legal aid to repatriated men who had been victims of human trafficking. During this program, Thai Union offered employment to the rescued men, which seven accepted. These men were given a thorough medical assessment, accommodation and their rental fees for the first month. The men began work in our fish production department in August 2015. We also work with the Issara Institute in Thailand to offer humanitarian aid, safe and legal employment, and support for victims of human trafficking or forced labor.
In 2016 we also offered this program to workers in other industries in Thailand, and are developing a scalable and sustainable model for this project.
Our ethical migrant recruitment policy is protecting workers in Thailand from the risk of extortion by unscrupulous labor agents and brokers.
In 2016, as part of our ethical migrant recruitment policy, we launched a zero recruitment fees commitment for all future recruitment of workers for our Thai facilities. By recruiting locally or directly through licensed agents in border countries, we are protecting workers from the risk of extortion by unlicensed agents and brokers. This reduces the risk of workers becoming involved in debt bondage or forms of forced labor.
Recognizing that suppliers sometimes need some help in addressing labor management and oversight practices, we are now providing practical support and guidance to help them implement real improvements.
In 2014 our subsidiary, Chicken of the Sea (COSI), decided that audits alone were not enough to help suppliers improve their labor standards. We found that many wanted to improve their practices, but lacked the in-house knowledge to do so promptly and effectively. So COSI has introduced a “performance improvement plan (PIP)” approach. Now, working with the NGO Verité, a third-party audit team conducts an initial assessment to determine performance gaps, and then works with the supplier over the following year to develop new policies, change or introduce new practices, and to create better data management systems. Since moving to a PIP model, COSI has seen remarkable improvement, with all audited suppliers making substantial progress against the requirements of our Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct.
In 2016 Verité began training our own auditors in Thailand to extend this program.
As part of our long-term labor empowerment program, we have trained all our migrant workers so they are aware of their employment and welfare rights.
Since 2014 migrant workers employed in our facilities across Thailand have received formal training on Thai labor and social welfare regulations. The program provides workers with information, support and empowerment through knowledge and communication, working on delivery with local NGO partners as well as the International Labor Organisation.