27 DECEMBER 2017, BANGKOK — Thai Union Group PCL has introduced its Fishing Vessel Improvement Program and Vessel Code of Conduct (VCoC) to provide clear guidance to the fishing vessels from which the company sources as well as improve labor and ethical performance in the fishing sector.
The Vessel Code of Conduct is an extension of the Thai Union Business Labor and Ethics Code of Conduct, which is built on 12 fundamental principles designed to reinforce a culture of integrity and is aligned with the United Nations Global Compact principles of basic responsibilities to people and upholding their basic rights. The Business Labor and Ethics Code of Conduct focuses on the recruitment and treatment of workers stipulating protocols on employee welfare, benefits, wages, age, the right to freedom of association, the right to collective bargaining, and non-negotiable frameworks for health and safety.
The 12 fundamental principles frame both codes because they apply to every part of Thai Union’s business. However, the VCoC features specifically tailored clauses for application to vessels that reflect the unique set of working conditions that necessitate special consideration.
“Thai Union’s Fishing Vessel Improvement Program and Vessel Code of Conduct helps shape company expectations relating to labor and the ethical conditions on board the fishing vessels in our supply chain, and aims to engage suppliers on a journey to improve the seafood sector,” said Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s global director for sustainable development.
Thai Union’s existing and new suppliers are required to sign the Vessel Code of Conduct in order to conduct business with the company, ensuring the VCoC is applicable to all fishing vessels in the company’s supply chain.
Thai Union reserves the right to request verification of the level of compliance of a supplier to the VCoC, such as through third party audits, at any point during business transactions. A rolling annual audit program against this VCoC will be conducted by Thai Union.
Furthermore, the Vessel Code of Conduct includes a commitment by suppliers to develop a Vessel Improvement Program (VIP) to meet the clauses and address any non-compliance issues identified to be of a major or critical concern. This provides suppliers with the ability to increase transparency, demonstrate accountability as well as to remedy any issues.
The Fishing Vessel Improvement Program and Vessel Code of Conduct is in line with Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange®. Thai Union considers SeaChange® as a journey that covers every aspect of the seafood business: from how the company looks after the oceans to how it manages waste; from the responsibility Thai Union takes for its workers to building brighter futures for the people and communities where the company operates.
Additionally, the VCoC builds on the existing vessel audit program and is an extension of the Business Labor and Ethics Code, while also supporting commitments made in the company’s July 2017 Agreement with Greenpeace.
“Our mission is to be the seafood industry’s leading agent of positive change. We will continue to do our part to uphold human rights, and we remain committed to providing safe, legal and freely-chosen employment,” said McBain. “This includes the stringent enforcement of our Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct, and now, our Vessel Code of Conduct. Suppliers that fail to work to meet these standards will be unable to remain a supplier to Thai Union.”
To view the Vessel Code of Conduct in its entirety, visit: http://www.thaiunion.com/en/download/sustainability
Photo Caption: Purse seiner fishing boat heading out of Ventura harbor into eastern Santa Barbara channel in California. Photo credit: Marci Paravia/Shutterstock
ABOUT THAI UNION GROUP PCL
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 almost 40 years.
Today, Thai Union is regarded as the world’s largest producer of shelf-stable tuna products with annual sales exceeding THB 125 billion (US$ 3.7 billion) and a global workforce of over 46,000 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, 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 2017, Thai Union was named to the DJSI for the fourth consecutive year. Thai Union has also been included in the FTSE4Good Emerging Index.