Thai Union joined forces with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative to address problems of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear worldwide.
Thai Union joined forces with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) in 2018 in a drive to reduce the growing problem of abandoned, lost and discarded fishing gear (ALDFG) worldwide.
The GGGI is an alliance founded by World Animal Protection in 2015, dedicated to tackling the problem of ghost fishing gear at a global scale. The GGGI’s strength lies in the diversity of its participants including the fishing industry, the private sector, academia, governments, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations. Every participant has a critical role to play to mitigate ghost gear locally, regionally and globally.
Thai Union’s participation in the GGGI reflects its commitment to combat marine plastic pollution.
Thai Union and WWF-UK released an annual progress report on their European partnership in 2018.
Since 2014, Thai Union and WWF have been working together in Europe to deliver the commitments in the WWF ‘Seafood Charter’, which focuses on improving the sustainability of seafood supply chains. This work is supported globally through Thai Union’s SeaChange® sustainability strategy and its tuna commitment. Thai Union has pledged to source 100 percent of its branded tuna from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council certified or engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and is investing $90 million into this work.
A key part of the partnership, FIPs involve collaboration between all the stakeholders in a particular fishery—including fishing vessel operators, government-run fishing authorities, processors and non-governmental organisations. They use private sector power and market forces to make specific improvements to a fishery, with the ultimate aim of achieving the MSC standard.
By the end of 2017, Thai Union had launched two FIPs focussed on purse seine caught yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack tuna, in the Indian and Eastern Atlantic Oceans, working alongside a number of industry participants. This progress means that approximately 85 percent of the tuna being sold by Thai Union brands in Europe is sourced from a FIP. The full report can be found here.
To promote transparency, Thai Union announced it would provide this progress report annually.
In May 2018, Thai Union released its first annual Tuna Commitment Progress Report to provide a public update on its ambitious strategy to ensure 100 percent of the company’s branded tuna is sustainably sourced, with a target of achieving a minimum of 75 percent by 2020, in line with the company’s SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Thai Union’s Tuna Commitment also comprises an investment of USD $90 million in initiatives that will increase the supply of sustainable tuna, including the establishment of 11 new fishery improvement projects (FIPs) around the world to guarantee sustainable fish stocks, minimized environmental impacts and improved management in those fisheries.
Thai Union has made substantial, positive progress in 2018 on its commitment as outlined in the company’s landmark agreement with Greenpeace.
Thai Union has made substantial, positive progress in 2018 on its commitment to implement measures that tackle illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers throughout its supply chains, as outlined in the company’s landmark agreement with Greenpeace.
The agreement between Thai Union and Greenpeace was originally announced in July 2017. Thai Union committed to build upon its SeaChange® sustainability strategy, 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.
“Thai Union is working hard to drive strong, positive change throughout many parts of the seafood industry. The original agreement contained an ambitious set of commitments to deliver improvements in Thai Union supply chains for the benefit of our oceans and marine life, and for the rights of people working in the seafood industry. There is much work still to do, but it’s clear the company takes its commitments seriously and is making progress to deliver them,” said Greenpeace Senior Oceans Campaigner Oliver Knowles. “It is now time for other companies to step up and show similar leadership, so that we can increase the pace of change to protect the oceans and seafood workers.”
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As part of a personal commitment to improving the sustainability of oceans, Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union, competed in the Virgin London Marathon
As part of a personal commitment to improving the long-term sustainability of the oceans, Thiraphong Chansiri, CEO of Thai Union, competed in the Virgin London Marathon in April 2017 and raised 322,000 Thai Baht—approximately $10,000—for WWF-UK. The amount represented more than three times his fundraising goal. The race took place on a beautiful spring day in London, with the challenging 26-mile course winding by some of the world’s most iconic landmarks. Chansiri crossed the finish line on the Mall in front of Buckingham Palace in four hours and 28 minutes.
Additionally, in December 2017 Chansiri ran 106 kilometers and raised 14 million Thai Baht—approximately $429,000—for Thai rock star Artiwara Kong-malai’s charity run, which supported the “Kaokonlakao for 11 Hospitals Nationwide” project.
In 2017, Thai Union launched a tuna fishery improvement project in the Indian Ocean with a series of other stakeholders.
In 2017, Thai Union launched a tuna fishery improvement project (FIP) in the Indian Ocean with a series of other stakeholders, including seafood companies. This project addresses the majority of European Union-, Seychelles- and Mauritius-flagged purse seine vessels fishing for tropical tuna in the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean tuna purse seine FIP is important as it facilitates the development, discussion, implementation and monitoring of measures to improve management of the three most important commercial tropical tuna species in the Indian Ocean. This FIP works toward Thai Union’s Tuna Commitment as well as seafood sustainability commitments as part of our partnership with World Wildlife Fund (WWF).
The event was hosted by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos, an active Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries.
In January 2018, Thai Union brought together Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), sustainability experts, NGOs and industry representatives to discuss how best to join forces to drive positive change across the seafood industry. A high-level stakeholder event, organized in the European Parliament, marked the launch of a week-long exhibition on SeaChange®. During this period, visitors had the opportunity to learn about sustainability challenges in the seafood and fishing industry through a diverse range of panels, infographics and videos. The launch event welcomed more than 60 high-level representatives of the political, NGO and industry spheres with responsibilities in the field of fisheries, sustainability, trade and employment.
The event was hosted by MEP Ricardo Serrão Santos, an active Member of the European Parliament’s Committee on Fisheries, who applauded Thai Union’s leadership.
Thai Union committed to measures that will tackle illegal fishing and overfishing, as well as improve the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of workers.
In 2017, Thai Union committed to 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. Thai Union’s 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.
“This marks huge progress for our oceans and marine life, and for the rights of people working in the seafood industry,” said Greenpeace International Executive Director Bunny McDiarmid. “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.”
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The Declaration supports the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which were adopted by all 193 Heads of State via a UN Resolution in September 2015.
At a 2017 World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in New York City, Thai Union committed to the WEF’s Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration. The Declaration supports the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which were adopted by all 193 Heads of State via a UN Resolution in September 2015. The Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration has been endorsed by leaders of the world’s biggest retailers, tuna processors, marketers, traders and harvesters, with the support of influential civil society organizations and governments. The entities endorsing the Tuna 2020 Traceability Declaration have committed to concrete actions and partnerships to implement the Declaration and its Action Agenda.
Thai Union donated $50,000 to fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in East Indonesia in 2017.
Thai Union donated $50,000 to fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in East Indonesia in 2017. The donation supports pole-and-line fisheries as well as overall sustainability for skipjack and yellowfin tuna stocks. It will help bring together leading stakeholders in Indonesia—including industry, fishermen, government, non-governmental organizations and academia—to work collaboratively toward sustainability and influence change in the ocean through the implementation of various sustainability and responsible sourcing programs across the tuna supply chains.
The program helps our partner farms improve their farm management practices and address key technical improvements and conditions.
Thai Union has provided a capacity building program to our partner farms to help them improve their farm management practices to meet the standards of BAP; Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC), SEASAIP’s lead organization; SEASAIP; and ASC. We also assisted our partner farms in addressing key technical improvements and conditions set by these standards, such as legal compliance, labor management, biosecurity, disease control and water management.
Regulation requires Thai vessel owners to provide a satellite communication system and device onboard for workers at sea outside national waters.
Thai Union supported 2018 regulation from the Thai government requiring Thai vessel owners operating outside of national waters to provide a satellite communication system and device onboard for workers at sea. The regulation (Ministerial Regulation on Labor Protection in Sea Fishing Work (No. 2) B.E. 2561) states the system must be able to support the transmission of at least a 1 MB text message per person per month for at least one-fourth of workers onboard, and the employer must pay for these devices. The initiative aims to enhance the quality of life for captain and crew by providing a channel of communication to contact families or make a complaint and report any problems that might have occurred at sea.
The development reflects the government’s commitment to protect workers in the fisheries sector from falling victim to forced labor and human trafficking, to improve the management of labor in Thai fisheries to be more effective and to work toward the ratification of the International Labor Organization’s (ILO) Work in Fishing Convention (C188).
Innovative digital traceability pilot project helped promote digital traceability, as well as boost human rights and worker voice in the seafood industry.
The pilot project has the potential to improve traceability and transparency throughout Thai waters, as well as the greater fishing industry since many issues in Thailand replicate themselves in other fishing communities around the world. State-of-the-art Inmarsat Fleet One terminals were successfully installed on fishing vessels in Thailand to promote digital traceability, which helps ensure more ethical and transparent seafood supply chains. Crew members, captains and fleet owners were empowered to use mobile phone chat applications to connect with families and peers around the world while at sea—an industry first for Thai fisheries. Click here to learn more in this short film.
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 focuses on the key areas of sustainable sourcing, including 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 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.
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 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.
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/
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.
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.