Spain, 26th August, 2020: Thai Union Group PCL (Thai Union), AENOR and Global Seafood Assurances (GSA) today announce that they have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) designed to actively share knowledge and resources to create efficiencies across their individual, respective and proprietary programs which establish standards and best practice for fishing vessels and crew welfare, ensuring that the people who work in fisheries are well represented and looked after. This agreement represents an opportunity to collaborate on constant improvement for the future.
In 2017, Thai Union published its Vessel Improvement Program and Code of Conduct (VCOC). The VCOC is subject to regular, third-party audits with more than 120 vessel audits having taken place since 2018. In 2016, The Organization of Associated Producers of Large Freezer Tuna Freezers (OPAGAC) promoted the creation of the public-private Standard UNE 195006: ‘Tuna from Responsible Fishing: tuna purse seiners’ with the collaboration of the Spanish Government and a number of stakeholders including industry, NGOs, unions and scientific entities. Currently, all OPAGAC vessels are certified by AENOR under the auspices of the UNE 195006 Standard. GSA have recently completed a two-year transparent and collaborative process to develop their Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard. Following this MOU, the three companies will work together for mutual improvement.
Tracy Cambridge, Responsible Sourcing Director, Thai Union Europe said, “Ensuring the welfare of crew and other fishery workers is of paramount importance and we have been working on our standards and improvement programs for some time. Being able to join forces with AENOR and Global Seafood Assurances is a great step to ensure that we are able to reduce costs and improve efficiencies. Our standards are all based on globally-agreed conventions such as ILOc188 so there is a lot of commonality we can draw on.”
Rafael García Meiro, AENOR CEO said, “It is of great importance that the companies and organizations that cooperate in the development and maintaining of standards work together to achieve the same objectives. It is key that the same consideration be given to crews on fishing vessels as to workers in land-based sectors, namely safe working conditions, proper contracts and properly upheld and understood rights. We are pleased to work with Thai Union and Global Seafood Assurances to seek to make these standards achievable and normal around the world.”
Melanie Siggs, Director, Global Seafood Assurances said, “We see vessel standards, particularly around crew welfare, as critical in seafood supply chain assurance. It is no longer acceptable to view the environmental management of fisheries as a separate issue from the provision of safe and legal labor to the people working in them and we have a collective responsibility to support those seeking to achieve best practices. Collaborating to create greater efficiencies, such as in audit costs or training, or by recognising and adapting other standards is an important step in providing that support. This MOU is a great start and we hope to invite others to join us in time.”
The MOU was signed on 26th August 2020 and is in force on a rolling, annual basis. New parties may be invited to join with the consent of all signatories.
About Global Seafood Assurances
Global Seafood Assurances (GSA) is an independent, not-for-profit organization. The GSA vision is to provide high quality, end to end, fully traceable, assurance for seafood, supporting the sustainable development of global production while protecting people and planet. GSA works with partners where standards already exist, and creates transparent and credible standards to fill gaps where needed. The Responsible Fishing Vessel Standard was developed by GSA through a transparent and rigourous two year process. It enables fishing operations to provide assurance of decent working conditions and operational best practice from catch to shore.
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 one of the world’s leading seafood producers and is one of the largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 126.3 billion (US$ 4.1 billion) and a global workforce of over 44,000 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. Find out more at seachangesustainability.org. Thai Union’s on-going work on sustainability issues was recognized in 2018 and 2019 by being ranked number one in the world in the Food Products Industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index, achieving a 100th percentile ranking for total sustainability score. Thai Union has now been named to the DJSI for six consecutive years. Thai Union was also named to the FTSE4Good Emerging Index for the fourth straight year in 2019.
For more information, please contact: John Merva, European Communications Director, Thai Union: email@example.com
AENOR is the Spanish leader in conformity assessment, that identifies and helps organizations to overcome relevant competitiveness gaps. Its main goal is contributing to society transformation by building trust between people and organizations.
As a global company AENOR has presence in 90 countries in TIC (Testing, Inspection and Certification), training, and information services. Currently, more than 82,000 working centres around the world own AENOR certificates in the fields of quality management, sustainability, risks and safety, animal welfare, compliance and governance and IT, among others.