BALI PROCESS GOVERNMENT AND BUSINESS FORUM
25 August 2017, 11h00-11h45
Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director for Sustainable Development, Thai Union Group
Statement from the Floor (5 minutes)
As prepared for delivery – check against quotes
Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs of Australia, Ms. Julie Bishop,
Honorable Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia, Ms. Retno Marsudi,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On behalf of my company, Thai Union, a global seafood leader, allow me to express our gratitude to the Ministers for convening this important and timely discussion.
We appreciate your foresight in recognizing the need to engage the private sector in combating human trafficking, forced labor and related exploitation. It is a privilege and honor to participate in this process.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Human life is not expendable.
The slaveries that stain some modern-day supply chains can no longer be tolerated. It can no longer be tolerated by governments. It can no longer be tolerated by businesses. It can no longer be tolerated by consumers.
It is time we all take meaningful action to eradicate modern slavery in all its forms.
Thai Union is actively working to combat these exploitative practices. In line with our sustainability strategy, SeaChange, our mission is to be the seafood industry’s leading agent of positive change.
We believe traceability is the backbone of sustainability. It is the key to improving the transparency and operational practices throughout the entire seafood industry. It is also a core component of Thai Union’s commitment to 100 percent sustainable tuna.
With full traceability in place, we can track every product from catch to consumption. And we can ensure our suppliers abide by the same sustainability standards as Thai Union – monitoring their operations, actions and labor conditions.
We are committed to providing safe, legal and freely-chosen employment in our facilities and supply chains. From vessel to factory, Thai Union’s supply chains will comply with labor regulations and our Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct.
The Code of Conduct covers the recruitment and treatment of all workers. It outlines protocols on employee welfare, benefits, wages, age protections, the right to freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, and non-negotiable frameworks for health and safety.
Our suppliers must sign and adhere to this Code of Conduct, establishing a baseline for expected behavior across Thai Union’s entire supply chain.
And with a global workforce that welcomes legal economic migrants, Thai Union is focused on reducing the potential of abuse and extortion against these workers.
For instance, in Thailand, not only are migrant workers susceptible to discrimination, but they can be coerced into paying high recruitment fees on the way from their home country to secure a job. This means migrants seeking lawful employment might find themselves deeply indebted before their work begins. Buried in debt that often takes years to repay.
Debt bondage has no place in our workplace. So, in 2016, Thai Union eliminated recruitment fees for all workers in its factories and processing plants, effective for all future recruitment of workers both from within Thailand and overseas.
The elimination of recruitment fees follows Thai Union’s continued development of an ethical migrant worker recruitment policy.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I could go on. However, due to time restraints, permit me to conclude with a message of opportunity and optimism.
There is, at this precise moment, a once-in-a-generation chance to influence the sustainable development priorities of our world and our future.
Thai Union will continue to do our part to eliminate modern slavery, human trafficking, forced labor and other exploitation. This includes the stringent enforcement of our Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, ethical migrant worker program and zero-recruitment fee policy. Suppliers that fail to work to meet these standards will be unable to remain a supplier to Thai Union.
As we move forward, it is incumbent upon the people in this room to lead the world in this fight. We do this, in part, through genuine political will, multi-party collaboration, and resolute, uncompromising determination.
If we work together, we can create the future we all envision — for every man, woman and child.
A future where no one lacks access to safe and legal employment; where no one profits off another’s misery; and where no one is suppressed by the scourge of slavery — regardless of color or class, caste or creed.