In the most recent edition of ESM, as part of our Sustainability 2022 feature, we spoke to a number of top executives working across the global retail and consumer goods landscape about how they are seeking to set a high bar when it comes to sustainability.
Tracy Cambridge, Responsible Sourcing Director (Europe), Thai Union
COVID-19 has had two major impacts on how businesses think about sustainability. Firstly, it has refocused minds on the ties that bind society together. Secondly, it has highlighted the delicate nature of international supply chains, showing that we need to continuously invest in their resilience and plan for low-probability, high-impact risks.
Secondly, businesses, customers, governments, and the public have all seen what global-scale disruption looks like and that has energised efforts to accelerate decarbonisation and protect ecosystems. Thai Union wants to be successful for a long time into the future—but that means ensuring there is a future in which success is even possible.
Health And Sustainability
Two core consumer trends have come to dominate the global food industry agenda: health and sustainability. Through our commitment to Healthy Living, Healthy Oceans, Thai Union is seeking to deliver healthy, nutritious seafood and be a steward for the oceans.
Understanding of where food has come from is going to continue to grow and we will continue to develop initiatives, such as our Can Tracker service, which enables consumers to take their can of tuna to the relevant brand website and find out information such as which vessel caught their fish and how.
Our commitments to sustainability have recently been commended by the Seafood Stewardship Index, where we were ranked number one out of the world’s largest seafood companies.
The evidence increasingly demonstrates sustainability is a key differentiator for brands. NYU Stern showed sales of sustainably marketed consumer packaged goods in the US grew seven times faster than conventional equivalents between 2015 and 2019, while WWF found online searches for sustainable goods globally has risen 71% over the past five years. The demand is there; it is up to brands to provide sustainability information in a way that is relevant, credible, and clear, so that consumers have the confidence to make their choice.
In 2016, we launched our sustainability strategy, SeaChange®, which covers key areas of focus: responsible sourcing and operations; people and communities; and safe and legal labour. We’ve also partnered with the Nature Conservancy on an ambitious commitment to deliver better transparency with the tuna vessels that we source from. Alongside these efforts, we’re innovating to create sustainable products for the future.
This is achieved through our Global Innovation Centre, as well as collaboration with international companies, members of the Space-F food tech accelerator, and businesses backed by our Corporate Venture Fund.
Collaboration is key. For more than five years, we have been working to establish and deliver Fishery Improvement Projects, which bring together all the stakeholders in a fishery to work on an action plan with the goal of achieving MSC certification. So far, we have been involved with nine tuna FIPs, whose progress is all independently tracked by the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership.
Through ambitious collaborative efforts, FIPs have emerged as a vital tool, helping fisheries work towards sustainability and ensuring our oceans are sustainable for the next generation. We continue to be committed to further support our suppliers engage in these projects and reach the MSC standard.
Thai Union has put effort into working with many partners to establish the FIPs and all are continuing to progress towards their goal. We are continuing to develop measurable milestones for sustainable sourcing as part of our Tuna Commitment and will be reporting against these annually through to 2025.
What’s more, we are working with our international peers through forums like the Global Dialogue on Seafood Traceability and Seafood Business for Ocean Stewardship to both expand seafood traceability and raise ambitions for the health of our oceans.