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Home / case studies / Case study: How Thai Union promotes ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry

Case study: How Thai Union promotes ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry

Recognizing that consumers across the globe increasingly expect companies to show respect for human rights throughout their supply chains, and that the global seafood industry faces challenges such as human trafficking and human rights abuses, Thai Union is committed to promoting safe and legal labor practices across its operations and supply chains.

This case study is based on the 2016 Sustainability Report by Thai Union published on the Global Reporting Initiative Sustainability Disclosure Database that can be found at this link. Through all case studies we aim to demonstrate that CSR/ sustainability reporting done responsibly is achieved by identifying a company’s most important impacts on the environment and stakeholders and by measuring, managing and changing. Layout 1

Abstract

As a global seafood leader, Thai Union strives to implement positive change across the global seafood industry  Tweet This! – which faces challenges like labor exploitation –, ensuring safe and legal employment is provided in Thai Union’s facilities and supply chains. In order to promote ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry Thai Union took action to:

  • implement a Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct
  • establish a Human Rights Due Diligence process
  • apply a supplier approval procedure
  • introduce an ethical migrant worker recruitment policy

What are the material issues the company has identified?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Thai Union identified a range of material issues, such as climate change and environmental protection, responsible sourcing, transparency and governance, innovation and product responsibility. Among these, promoting ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry stands out as a key material issue for Thai Union.

Stakeholder engagement in accordance with the GRI Standards

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) defines the Principle of Stakeholder Inclusiveness when identifying material issues (or a company’s most important impacts) as follows:

“The organization should identify its stakeholders, and explain how it has responded to their reasonable expectations.”

Stakeholders must be consulted in the process of identifying a company’s most important impacts and their reasonable expectations and interests must be taken into account. This is an important cornerstone for CSR / sustainability reporting done responsibly.

Key stakeholder groups Thai Union engages with:   

Stakeholder Group                Method of engagement
Thai Union management

 

 

·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

Thai Union staff ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

Thai Union legal staff

 

 

·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

Consumers

 

·         Microsite

·         Corporate sustainability campaign

Customers

 

·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Trainings (sales teams)

·         Site visits

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

Industry associations/lobbyists ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Microsite

International organizations (UN, Interpol, etc.) ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Site visits

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

NGOs/foundations ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Site visits

·         Microsite

Policy makers/regulators ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Site visits

·         Events (internal, external)

·         Microsite

Shareholders/investors ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation (personalized emails & letters)

·         Reporting (e.g. newsletter, emails)

·         Trainings (investor relations team)

·         Microsite

Suppliers ·         Online consultation

·         Trainings

·         Microsite

Think tanks ·         Online consultation

·         Tailored strategy presentation

·         Microsite

How stakeholder engagement was made to identify material issues

To assess and prioritize key material issues and identify suitable responses Thai Union engaged with external stakeholders and, also, implemented a global program with the company’s internal stakeholders.

What actions were taken by Thai Union to promote ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry?

In its 2016 Sustainability Report Thai Union reports that it took the following actions for promoting ethical labor practices in the global seafood industry:

  • Implementing a Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct
  • Thai Union’s Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct strictly prohibits any labor or human rights abuses in the company’s and its suppliers’ supply chains. The Business Ethics and Labor Code of Conduct is available on Thai Union’s corporate website, in 19 languages. All Thai Union suppliers are required to sign an acknowledgement of the Code.
  • Establishing a Human Rights Due Diligence process
  • To identify, manage and mitigate possible human rights risks and/or impacts in its fisheries supply chain Thai Union implemented, in 2015, a Human Rights Due Diligence process, which in 2016 included the company’s packaging, shrimp and food ingredients supply chains.
  • Applying a supplier approval procedure
  • All potential Thai Union suppliers are pre-assessed on the basis of a social compliance Self-Assessment Questionnaire (SAQ). Only suppliers who pass the pre-assessment will be able to do business with Thai Union. Those who fail may take part in a supplier performance improvement program, so as to improve their practices to meet Thai Union’s social compliance standards.
  • Introducing an ethical migrant worker recruitment policy
  • As migrant workers often suffer various forms of abuse and exploitation, Thai Union introduced and implemented, in 2016, an ethical migrant worker recruitment policy and an identification process of high-risk areas regarding human rights abuses, to protect migrant workers’ human rights and provide them with a safe and healthy work environment.

Which GRI indicators/Standards have been addressed?

The GRI indicators/Standards addressed in this case are:

1) G4-LA14: Percentage of new suppliers that were screened using labor practices criteria the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria

2) G4-HR1: Total number and percentage of significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening the updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 412-3 Significant investment agreements and contracts that include human rights clauses or that underwent human rights screening

3) G4-HR6: Operations and suppliers identified as having significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor, and measures to contribute to the elimination of all forms of forced or compulsory laborthe updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 409-1 Operations and suppliers at significant risk for incidents of forced or compulsory labor

4) G4-HR10: Percentage of new suppliers that were screened using human rights criteriathe updated GRI Standard is: Disclosure 414-1 New suppliers that were screened using social criteria

 

References:

1) This case study is based on published information by Thai Union, located at the link below. For the sake of readability, we did not use brackets or ellipses. However, we made sure that the extra or missing words did not change the report’s meaning. If you would like to quote these written sources from the original, please revert to the original on the Global Reporting Initiative’s Sustainability Disclosure Database at the link:

http://database.globalreporting.org/

2) http://www.fbrh.co.uk/en/global-reporting-initiative-gri-g4-guidelines-download-page

3) https://g4.globalreporting.org/Pages/default.aspx

4) https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/gri-standards-download-center/

Note to Thai Union: With each case study we send out an email to your listed address in request for a comment on this case study. If you have not received such an email please contact us.

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