23 MARCH 2017, BANGKOK — Thai Union Group PCL. and Issara Institute signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on 6 February 2017, formalizing a strategic partnership that builds upon a history of successful collaboration between Issara Institute and Thai Union to improve conditions for workers within Thai Union’s supply chain since 2014. The MOU establishes a framework of cooperation to incorporate Issara Institute’s innovative worker voice systems throughout Thai Union’s supply chain, as well as build collaborative partnerships with company supplier facilities, both in and out of Thailand.
Thai Union is now considered a Regional Partner under Issara’s Strategic Partners Program, which engages global brands and retailers such as Marks and Spencer, Mars, Nestle, Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Waitrose, and Walmart in a collaborative approach to address human trafficking in global supply chains. As a Regional Partner, Thai Union works together with Issara Institute to provide workers in Strategic Partner supply chains with access to Issara’s independent migrant worker helpline, Golden Dreams smartphone app, and worker voice channels—available in four languages. Additionally, Thai Union continues to incorporate the Issara Institute’s Inclusive Labor Monitoring Program in its facilities, and aims to have it integrated throughout their seafood supply chains, down to fishing vessels.
Issara Institute Founder and Executive Director, Lisa Rende Taylor Ph.D., stated, “Issara Institute is looking forward to deepening our partnership with Thai Union, to transform more workers’ feedback and concerns into tangible improvements in the working conditions and recruitment systems that affect thousands of workers – in factories, farms, and on fishing vessels at sea. Thai Union’s commitment expands across the entire supply chain, including proactively embedding Issara Institute in their supplier code of conduct. Issara’s worker voice systems aim to empower migrant workers, and at the same time provide progressive businesses such as Thai Union with tools for greater supply chain control, risk management, and respect for the rights and dignities of workers.”
“Thai Union considers our work with Issara Institute an imperative to effectively combating the difficult issues migrants often face,” said Darian McBain Ph.D., Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development. “We firmly believe public and private sector collaboration is the key to drive positive change. With this MoU, we look forward to continuing our collaboration with Issara to further enhance labor conditions for workers. Involvement from international institutions not only helps industry participants understand the importance of change in these critical areas, but also helps validate the progress which is achieved.”
Photo caption: Thai Union workers test out Issara Institute’s Golden Dreams smartphone app during a training session on 7 February 2017 in Samut Sakhon.