Dec 7th, 2022

Thai Union Preparing to Launch New Sustainability Strategy with Biodiversity at its Heart as leaders gather for COP15

With the world’s biodiversity being lost at an alarming rate, Thai Union recognizes the need to develop nature-based solutions to address what is a growing global challenge.

Through the company’s global sustainability strategy, SeaChange®, Thai Union has been implementing programs and initiatives both under and above water as part of broader sustainability efforts, but with pressing topics being discussed at the UN Biodiversity Conference (COP15), we recognize that we need to make the link to protecting biodiversity stronger and at the heart of the strategy.

Biodiversity will be in focus this week, as governments from around the world gather in Montreal, Canada, for COP15. From 7-19 December, negotiators will work to reach an agreement on a new set of goals for nature over the next decade. Through the Convention on Biological Diversity post-2020 framework process, they aim to implement broad-based action to transform society’s relationship with biodiversity so that by 2050 living in harmony with nature can be achieved.

Shortly after COP15, in early 2023, Thai Union will launch a major update to SeaChange® that will include new goals and commitments through to 2030. This will include actions across a wide range of topics to address the issue of decline in biodiversity such as tackling climate change, ensuring endangered species are protected, important ecosystems are restored and that natural resources are managed sustainably.

As with Thai Union’s approach to its sustainability strategy, we believe that collaborating with partners is critical to success.

This year, Thai Union entered a partnership with Sustainable Fisheries Partnership (SFP) to help strengthen the transparency in its supply chains and consider wider impacts on biodiversity. The agreement is dedicated to delivering healthy marine and aquatic ecosystems and a secure seafood supply through the creation of a responsible seafood economy. An important element of the partnership will be an ‘audit’ of the fisheries that Thai  Union sources from to identify areas of risk of interactions with endangered, threatened and protected species.

Since 2018, Thai Union has been working with the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) to address the threat of abandoned, lost or discarded fishing gear, which cause significant harm to the environment, marine animals and negatively impact global fish stocks. We have developed a work program with GGGI which is published on our website.

Thai Union is also working with The Nature Conservancy (TNC), whose experts are supporting us to reach a target of 100 percent ‘on-the-water’ monitoring of the tuna vessels that we source from by 2025. This program will further demonstrate our commitment to ensure that no illegal, unregulated and unreported (IUU) fish is purchased by us – IUU fishing is identified as one of the greatest threats to biodiversity in the ocean from the fishing industry.

Climate change will be at the heart of the next iteration of SeaChange®, which will include new climate targets across scope 1-3 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in alignment with the Science Based Targets Initiative. Thai Union has been pursuing the implementation of numerous initiatives to reduce our GHG emissions. Our initial focus was on scopes 1 and 2, where we have reduced our (GHG) intensity by 18% since 2018. Between 2018 and 2021, we reduced our water withdrawal intensity by 22%, our waste to landfill by 43%, and increased renewable energy consumption at our factories by 76%.

Thai Union is not just addressing risks below water but also those on land, which are helping to address biodiversity loss. Thai Union’s Policy on No Deforestation includes a commitment to promote responsible aquaculture that preserves biodiversity and protects sensitive habitats. In addition, Thai Union’s newly established operational sites, starting in 2021, shall not be located on or in close proximity (within 1 km distance) to protected forest areas or sites of globally important biodiversity. In 2021, the company released its Responsible Sourcing of Palm Oil Policy, which recognizes the impact on the environment and communities that palm oil can have when not grown responsibly. Under the policy, Thai Union has committed that by 2025 all palm oil it sources shall meet segregated or identity preserved Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) or equivalent certification requirements.

So, as negotiators gather in Montreal, we are hopeful they can move the agenda forward so that protecting the world’s biodiversity is, and will remain, a priority.