SAFETY, HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT
Thai Union has many initiatives in place to help ensure we operate responsibly and manage some of our most material issues. In line with the UN Sustainability Goals, we are focused on SDG 12 for Responsible Production and Consumption, and SDG 13 for Climate Action. Looking to 2022 and beyond, we believe these SDGs will play an even more important role in our sustainability strategy.
Global environmental risks such as climate change, resource consumption and waste management have an increasingly negative impact on our oceans which, in turn, threatens the marine species on which we depend. The way we operate has to be environmentally responsible and also show a duty of care for our workers.
We have initiatives in place that contribute to water reduction, energy efficiency, waste to landfill reduction, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and accident reduction in our workplace. We want everyone who works for Thai Union to play an active role in delivering our safety, health and environmental goals—we see safety and environmental protection as everyone’s business. We also strive to make advances in our occupational health and safety policies, continually strengthening our safety standards, procedures and processes. For more information on Thai Union’s environmental performance, please see here.
At Thai Union, our top priority has always been the health, safety, and wellbeing of all employees, partners, suppliers, customers, and local communities. Since COVID-19 emerged in 2020, we have been working closely with local authorities, community leaders, and NGOs to ensure the safety of our employees and community.
Over the past two years, we have implemented comprehensive measures to prevent infections inside factories. These include social distancing, wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) as well as workforce clustering. The Company also has comprehensive protocols in place for those who test positive, including taking care of the affected employees while isolating them according to government guidelines, identifying and testing close contacts and deep cleaning visited work areas. In addition, we have also arranged for employees to be vaccinated against COVID-19, including under the national vaccination program and through self-funded vaccinations for employees.
SAFETY AND OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH
Thai Union’s number one priority is building a safe workplace to reduce the risks of injuries and fatalities.
In order to ensure that we are prepared to respond to these major hazards - we can reduce physical and financial losses and we can ensure business continuity - the following measures have been put in place: SHE risk assessments, particularly fire risk assessments; ‘Gemba’ walks by management; SHE approval prior to budget approval of major projects; timely incident notification and reporting; and root cause analysis to prevent incident recurrence. (see our SHE management framework here).
We are committed to achieving our Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate (LTIFR) targets though the implementation of our Group SHE Management Guidelines, adhering to SHE mandatory requirements, and top three issues and root cause analysis including near miss programs.
In 2021, we reduced Lost Time Injury Frequency Rate - LITFR3 by 13 percent compared to 2020 which surpassed our target of an 8 percent year-on-year reduction. We have strengthened our accident management program, which includes our accident reporting and escalation, to ensure proper investigation as well as knowledge sharing and implementation of preventive measures across our sites. We also maintained our occupational illness frequency rate for employees at zero4.
We continue our focus on fire risk at our factories. In 2020, we assessed our factories in order to identify gaps and needed risk controls. In 2021, we initiated risk controls which included, but were not limited to, improvement of our fire protection system, strengthening our electrical inspection and maintenance, and setting minimum safety requirements of our new projects. We are committed to spending more than THB 200 million over the next five years to improve fire protection facilities at our factories.
ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION & CLIMATE CHANGE
Thai Union is committed to protecting the environment by exploring innovations and initiatives to keep minimizing our consumption of natural resources and adverse impacts on environment. We continue our focus on improvement of our greenhouse gas intensity, our water withdrawal intensity and waste-to-landfill intensity.
Comparing 2021 to 2020, our greenhouse intensity has reduced by 0.5 percent. In 2021, we continued to expand our solar energy at our factory in Samut Sakhon, installing or completing an additional 7 Mega Watts of solar energy and we have avoided greenhouse gas emissions of 4,409 tons CO2eq from solar energy. We also continually worked towards efficiency improvement, either by improvement of administrative control or engineering design. In addition, we are exploring converting our coal boiler to bio-mass fuel.
Our water withdrawal intensity was reduced by 6 percent. In addition to improving our water consumption efficiency, we have reused and recycled water totaling 1,888,825 m3. As a food processing manufacturer, food safety and quality cannot be compromised. We are working closely between our production department, quality control department and engineering department to ensure we achieve both quality control and reduce our water withdrawal and discharge.
SOLID WASTE & WASTEWATER
Our waste-to-landfill intensity increased by 1 percent mostly due to COVID-19 related measures implemented by the Company to ensure the health and safety of all its workers. The waste included protective equipment worn by workers, sanitation equipment as part of the regular cleaning of work areas, along with the disposal of COVID-19 test kits used by workers . We focus on wastewater segregation and waste utilization in order to divert the waste from disposal. As a result, we have sent 32,234,812 tons of our waste to either be reused or recycled, which accounted for 49 percent of our total generated waste and only 21 percent of our total generated waste was sent to landfill. Key initiatives include reduction of sludge by using a bio-gas incinerator, converting sludge to soil fertilizer, and strengthening our packaging (of raw material) collection for recycling.
Water is essential to continuity in the food business thus responsible water management is critical to the future of Thai Union’s business, especially in water stressed areas where we operate. We facilitate sustainable management of water catchments around our factories by improving water usage efficiency and reuse & recycle water in production process.
WATER STRESS RISK ASSESSMENT AND MANAGEMENT
In 2021, Thai Union assessed water related risks by the Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas 3.0, developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI). The assessment includes Physical Risk Quantity (e.g. baseline water stress, Riverine Flood Risk, and Drought Risk), Physical Risk Quality, and Regulatory and Reputational Risk for our manufacturing facilities5 and our critical tier 1 suppliers.
We found that 3 percent of our manufacturing facilities6 are located in water stress areas where water withdrawal accounts for 2 percent of our total water withdrawal. In addition to consumption efficiency improvement and pushing for higher reuse and recycled water, we have also explored water withdrawal sources in order to reduce the impacts on water stress in the area. In 2021, 1,218,599.94 m3 came from rainwater collected internally and externally, and seawater.
Baseline water stress measures the ratio of total water withdrawals to available renewable surface and groundwater supplies. Water withdrawals include domestic, industrial, irrigation, and livestock consumptive and nonconsumptive uses. Available renewable water supplies include the impact of upstream consumptive water users and large dams on downstream water availability. Higher values indicate more competition among users. Overall water risk measures all water-related risks, by aggregating all selected indicators from the Physical Quantity, Quality and Regulatory & Reputational Risk categories. Higher values indicate higher water risk.
The result of the risk assessment using Aqueduct Water Risk Atlas 3.0, developed by the World Resources Institute (WRI), shows that all 64 critical tier-1 suppliers are located in the area where “Untreated Connected Wastewater” is present. We have been working with our suppliers as part of our Sustainable Supply Chain Management, which includes education and supplier audit with regards to the topic, to assure them as part of our supplier selection that Thai Union is working to eliminate the risk. You can read more about the Aqueduct 3.0 relevant global water risk indicators here.
All of these efforts not only reduce the operational risks of both Thai Union and our suppliers, but also reduce impacts that may occur to the surrounding communities when water risk is significantly presented, which could happen at present or in the future.
3 Number of lost time injuries per 200,000 worked hours for employees and contractors. (See in Sustainability Report 2021 for reporting coverage)
4 Number of occupational illnesses per 200,000 worked hours for employees in the manufacturing facilities. (See in Sustainability Report 2021 for reporting coverage)
5 See in Sustainability Report 2021 for reporting coverage
6 Aqueduct Country Rankings