24 SEPTEMBER 2018, NEW YORK CITY – In recognition of Thai Union Group PCL.’s efforts to address modern slavery and forced labor, the company participated in a high-level panel at the United Nations (UN) General Assembly to present its actions and experiences in front of the world’s leadership on this agenda Monday in New York City.
Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s Global Director for Sustainable Development, was joined alongside by Kirstine Cooper, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Aviva, Anbinh Phan, Director of Global Government Affairs at Walmart, and Dan Viederman, Managing Director at Humanity United. The panelists shared insights and demonstrated lessons learned from their experience on the importance of innovation and partnership between government and the private sector to eliminate modern slavery from supply chains.
Featured government speakers included representatives from the United Kingdom, Australia, Bahrain, United States, Canada, Bangladesh, and Nigeria. The audience was comprised of approximately 300 UN member states, as well as representatives from civil society, the private sector, investors and media.
“Governments and businesses must come together to resolve the social challenges plaguing some modern-day supply chains, specifically forced labor, modern slavery, and human trafficking,” said McBain. “I genuinely believe success is only fully attainable through authentic political will, multi-party collaboration, and resolute, uncompromising determination – this is why it was so important for Thai Union to be able to highlight the initiatives we have taken and lessons we have learned through our SeaChange® sustainability strategy, and share that knowledge with the international community at the UN General Assembly.”
Thai Union’s participation brought perspective not only from the private sector, but crucially served as a key voice from Thailand as the nation has started to make advances on its human rights agenda.
Multiple leaders highlighted the importance of the Bali Process Government and Business Forum, an important platform of which Thai Union is a member that enables public and private sector leaders across the Indo-Pacific region to learn from each other’s experiences to eradicate human trafficking, forced labor, modern slavery and the worst forms of child labor. Additionally, Thai Union recently announced its support for the Bali Process Acknowledge, Act and Advance (AAA) Recommendations, set as a pathway for action to achieve Target 8.7 of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and eliminate transnational crimes currently afflicting people throughout the Indo-Pacific region.
“One of the keys to ensuring that Target 8.7 of the SDGs is met is to put worker voice at the heart of combating modern slavery and forced labor,” said McBain. “It is only then that we can know whether or not we’re truly affecting change.”
The United Kingdom co-hosted this ministerial event to convene a cross-regional group of countries demonstrating political will to address these challenges and achieve SDG 8.7. Representatives from the private sector were invited to explore the challenges and opportunities to eradicate modern slavery from our economies. It marked the first time a Thai business had the privilege to address the General Assembly on combating these issues.
Thai Union was an early responder of companies to publish a UK Modern Slavery Act, publishing its first statement online in 2016, with the latest update published in 2018.
“It is an incredibly prestigious honor to be invited as a global business leader and I feel privileged to have been able to share Thai Union’s sustainability story on the world stage in front of so many key leaders and decision makers,” said McBain. “Policies and high-level commitments are very good, but it is the many small steps that impact people’s lives that makeup change.”
ABOUT THAI UNION GROUP
Thai Union Group PCL. is the world’s seafood leader bringing high quality, healthy, tasty and innovative seafood products to customers across the world for more than 40 years.
Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 135 billion (US$ 4.03 billion) and a global workforce of over 49,000 people who are dedicated to pioneering sustainable, innovative seafood products.
The company’s global brand portfolio includes market-leading international brands such as Chicken of the Sea, John West, Petit Navire, Parmentier, Mareblu, King Oscar, and Rügen Fisch and Thai-leading brands SEALECT, Fisho, Qfresh, Monori, Bellotta, and Marvo.
As a company committed to innovation and globally responsible behavior, Thai Union is proud to be a member of the United Nations Global Compact, and a founding member of the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation (ISSF). In 2015, Thai Union introduced its SeaChange® sustainability strategy. Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized by its inclusion in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets (DJSI) in 2014. In 2018, Thai Union was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for the fifth straight year, as well as rated No. 1 in the Food Products Industry. Thai Union is also part of the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.
Global Head of Sustainability and Innovation Communications