As we celebrate five years of our global sustainability strategy, SeaChange®, Dr. Darian McBain, Global Director for Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, looks back over the strategy and how we worked to make a difference.
In 2016, we officially launched our global sustainability strategy, SeaChange®. This was a recognition that sustainable development is essential to the future of our business and our growth and that it is fundamental to being a responsible corporate citizen for both our employees and our global community. SeaChange underpins our vision of being the world’s most trusted seafood leader, caring for our resources to nurture generations to come, improving our business and leading meaningful change across the industry. As we prepare to launch the next phase of SeaChange®, it’s a good time to look back at some of our achievements.
Through SeaChange®, Thai Union has placed sustainability at the heart of its business with the aim of creating real transformations for PPP – people and planet, whilst also maintaining profit. With so many aspects to our business, we’ve had to consider some major issues. The significant challenge of overfishing is one we’re addressing with our Tuna Commitment, for all of our tuna to be sustainably sourced, 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 (MSC)-certified or in a Fishery Improvement Program (FIP) by the end of 2020. We’ve also been heavily involved in improving the industry for all, leading the way with our commitment to ethical recruitment, as well as helping our suppliers on their sustainability journeys with our Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct and Vessel Code of Conduct. These codes of conduct undergo regular third-party audits to ensure transparency and progress. We’ve also been working hard on our packaging, introducing our Ocean Plastic Commitment, which commits us to ensuring 100 percent of our branded packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
But we haven’t been alone. Throughout the last five years we’ve worked with some truly impressive partners, from the Global Ghost Gear Initiative (GGGI) on combating marine plastic to signing a landmark and independently-audited agreement with Greenpeace—the first ever signed by a seafood company. Over the years, we’ve also partnered with WWF, the Monterey Bay Aquarium and a host of other key non-governmental organizations and key industry bodies. We also work closely with the International Transport Workers Federation (ITF) and the Migrant Workers Rights Network (MWRN), carrying out workshops and training sessions as we strive to improve labor practices across the industry.
And we’re proud to have been recognized by top bodies both inside and outside the seafood industry. Our people and programs have received awards from the Royal Thai Government, the Responsible Business Awards, Fast Company, edie sustainability Leaders and we have been ranked number one in the food products industry in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) for two consecutive years and included overall for six years running as well as placing first in the inaugural Seafood Stewardship Index (SSI). This expertise has also been put to good use as we have used our position to be advocates for change at organizations such as the United Nations General Assembly, the European Parliament and by becoming a founding member of SeaBOS, which is an initiative resulting from a series of Keystone Dialogues between scientists and seafood companies. The Keystone Dialogues aim to explore whether or not a small number of “Keystone Actors” have the potential to transform the global seafood system. We’ve also addressed Australian and other business leaders on tackling modern slavery risks and our experience of ethical recruitment.
The journey since we launched SeaChange® has not always been easy, but we are extremely proud of our achievements. Over the coming weeks we’ll be publishing a number of blogs looking back over the last five years.
We’re also getting ready to launch our new, evolved, SeaChange® 2025, including updates to our commitments, as well as new goals, so please stay tuned!