Nov 25th, 2020

Responsible Sourcing – making sure our products are ethical and can be consumed in confidence

Thai Union is one of the world’s leading seafood producers. Sourcing the raw materials for our products responsibly and ethically is of crucial importance to us as a business and to make sure that we’re meeting consumer demands and living up to our responsibilities as a major company. When we established SeaChange®, our global sustainability strategy, making Responsible Sourcing one of our four pillars was never in doubt.

And, since we launched SeaChange®, we’ve come a long way. From being involved in establishing 10 tuna Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) around the world, to working with prestigious names and launching SeaChange® IGNITE with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, developing our European transparency report with WWF and signing a landmark agreement with Greenpeace, we’ve always looked for ways to improve not only our operations, but to also help the industry improve with us. That’s even included joining forces with companies like Mars and Nestle to pilot uses of technology to help tackle modern slavery and prevent illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fishing activities so consumers can enjoy our wild-caught products in confidence of their provenance.

One of the most important parts of SeaChange® has been our commitments. To drive our Responsible Sourcing activities, we have developed, and delivered, on two of our most important commitments—our Tuna Commitment and our Responsible Aquaculture Commitment. Furthermore, our commitment to traceability from catch to consumption has formed the backbone of SeaChange® since its inception and a key piece of work has been the creation of can trackers for all of our branded products to enable consumers to trace their fish back to its source. These commitments have influenced our actions throughout our program so far.

In 2016, our Tuna Commitment was announced with an aim to achieve a minimum of 75 percent of our own brands of tuna coming from fisheries that are either Marine Stewardship Council certified, or in a FIP by the end of 2020. We managed to achieve this goal in 2019, reaching a total of 79 percent of tuna volume sourced for Thai Union-branded products. You can read more about the Tuna Commitment and our latest update in our Sustainability Report 2019, as well as in our regular progress updates.

Ever since we launched SeaChange®, we’ve made sure that we’re constantly working to improve and taking note of areas that need attention. We’ve also tried to help educate people and raise awareness of the issues we’re facing. We’ve released educational videos and supported local community action. We also joined forces with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) in 2018, then further celebrated that commitment with the #ghostgearreborn dive in 2019. In fact, we were also instrumental in the decision taken by The Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship (SeaBOS) to also partner with the GGGI. Thai Union is a founding member of SeaBOS, which is an initiative resulting from a series of Keystone Dialogues between scientists and seafood companies. The Keystone Dialogue aims to explore whether or not a small number of “Keystone Actors” have the potential to transform the global seafood system. and a keen advocate within the organization.

Launching SeaChange® was a very exciting time for us and we’ve worked hard to deliver on the promises and commitments that we made at the time. Over the last five years we’ve been very proud of the way we’ve been dedicated to constant improvement and the effects this has had on our operations and the industry. But there’s still more to be done. We’re shortly going to be launching the next phase of SeaChange®, with updates on our commitments and turning our attention to other, important areas of sustainable and ethical operations. Watch this space!