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Thai Union and WWF-UK release Partnership Progress Report 2018

Thai Union Group PCL and WWF-UK have released an annual progress report on their European partnership.


Since 2014, Thai Union and WWF have been working together in Europe to deliver the commitments in the WWF ‘Seafood Charter’, which focuses on improving the sustainability of seafood supply chains. This work is supported globally through Thai Union’s SeaChange®sustainability strategy and its tuna commitment. Thai Union has pledged to source 100 percent of its branded tuna from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council certified or engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), and is investing $90 million into this work. 

A key part of the partnership, FIPs involve collaboration between all the stakeholders in a particular fishery—including fishing vessel operators, government-run fishing authorities, processors and non-governmental organisations. They use private sector power and market forces to make specific improvements to a fishery, with the ultimate aim of achieving the MSC standard. 

By the end of 2017, Thai Union had launched two FIPs focussed on purse seine caught yellowfin, bigeye and skipjack tuna, in the Indian and Eastern Atlantic Oceans, working alongside a number of industry participants. This progress means that approximately 85 percent of the tuna being sold by Thai Union brands in Europe is sourced from a FIP. With additional FIPs set to be implemented in Brazil and Senegal in 2018, there is potential for more than 95 percent of the tuna sold by Thai Union’s European brands being sourced from credible and comprehensive FIPs by the end of this year. Additionally, the volume of all Thai Union seafood for Europe sourced from MSC certified fisheries increased from five percent to 21 percent from 2015 to 2016. 

On top of the transformative progress achieved through the implementation of the FIPs, WWF has completed an annual analysis of Thai Union’s European supply chains and provided recommendations to address further improvement work. As part of this analysis WWF confirmed that 100 percent of the purse seine vessels supplying Thai Union’s European brands are registered on the International Seafood Sustainability Foundation’s Pro-Active Vessel Register—a database that allows tuna vessel owners to identify themselves as active participants in meaningful sustainability efforts. There have been further achievements across all aspects of the WWF ‘Seafood Charter’ regarding supply chains, traceability and legality, advocating for improvement, transparency and engagement. 

Contributing to wider conservation is an important part of the company’s SeaChange® commitments, and Thai Union has continued to provide funding to WWF’s east Africa Regional Sustainable Fisheries programme. This year WWF released a video to promote this project, which has ensured improved data on artisanal fish catches is now being regularly collected at 113 landing sites and included in national fisheries reports.

The achievements of the partnership have been recently recognised at the Global Good Awards UK 2018. A panel of expert judges presented Thai Union and WWF with gold in the “Best Sustainable Supply Chain” category—a testament to the partnership’s pivotal work. 

The full report can be found here

Paul Reenan, Regional President of Thai Union Europe, said: 

“As a result of our collaboration with WWF, Thai Union has witnessed numerous positive developments in our European business and supply chains.

“Industry and NGOs, as well as governments and other stakeholders, must come together to meet the protein needs of the global population in a way that is sustainable and protects our oceans now and for future generations; confirms workers are safe, legally employed and empowered; and ensures that vessels are legal and operate responsibly. 

“This partnership, now entering its fourth year, serves as an excellent example of what can be achieved when important actors come together and work to ensure our seas are sustainable now and for future generations.”

Mike Barrett, Executive Director of Science & Conservation at WWF-UK, stated: 

“Globally our oceans are under more pressure than ever before from threats including overfishing, climate change and plastic pollution. At WWF we cannot tackle these threats alone – we need to work with the biggest companies who depend on healthy oceans and healthy fish stocks to transform their industries from within. That’s why we’re pleased to be working with Thai Union Europe, who share our mission to protect our precious oceans.

“The third year of our partnership has seen significant progress towards sustainability in tuna supply chains. We can reflect proudly on achieving a number of milestones, including the launch of tuna fishery improvement projects (FIPs) in the Indian and Eastern Atlantic Oceans, with more FIPs in development.” .

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