‘Seeing slavery in seafood supply chains’, by Katrina Nakamura et. al., Science Advances

Article description:

The authors of this paper won the grand prize in the Partnership for Freedom challenge 2016 for their work developing technological solutions that can identify and address slavery and trafficking in goods and service supply chains. They designed a five-point-framework, called the Labor Safe Screen, and collaborated with eighteen food companies to test the results of implementing the framework. The results showed that companies can reduce forced labor using the framework. 

Read the article here: http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/7/e1701833

Greenpeace and Thai Union Group Summary of Agreement – July 17

Greenpeace released a very critical report on the Thai Fishing industry and Thai Union – who are the largest canner of tuna in the world and process prawns and other seafood for the Australian market – have come to a very helpful agreement with Greenpeace on ways forward. They recognise:

Greenpeace and Thai Union share an understanding that the problem of labour and human rights violations in global tuna supply chains include, but are not limited to, the following:Forced labour and human rights abuses in the extended seafood supply chain, especially in commercial fleets that stay out at sea for extended periods of time.

  • The lack of fair remuneration and decent working conditions for workers in the fishing sector.
  • The absence of collective bargaining rights and freedom of association, especially for migrant workers in the fishing sector.
  • The lack of contracts in a language that the workers can understand.
  • The method of recruitment for workers on fishing boats through brokers that perpetuate labour and human rights abuse.

What they agree to in the labour section of the paper is:

  • Vessel code of conduct – Thai Union commits to create a vessel code of conduct with an accompanying auditable standard across its global supply chain by January 2018.
  • Audits will be conducted on an ongoing basis by a reputable third party with a proven track record of delivering comprehensive and respected social audit reports. The audit program will be initiated by 2018 in line with Thai Union’s SeaChange program, and continue beyond as part of continuous improvement. The Vessel Code of Conduct will be communicated to all vessel suppliers in 2018, with the notification that they can expect to be audited against this Code at any point.

And other agreements in the areas of:

  • Support for organizing rights and collective bargaining
  • Electronic Catch Data and Traceability (eCDT)
  • Audits and transparency
  • Ethical recruitment

The report can be downloaded or read at:

Thai Union Sustainability Report 2016

Thai Union realised they had slavery in their chain of supply – mainly, but not exclusively in the fishing boats. They have been working at changing the culture and the supply chain traceability and transparency. This 2016 Sustainability Report tells what they have been aiming to do and how. Key areas in their Safe and Legal Labour section include:

  • Thai Union Business Ethics And Labour Code Of Conduct

    Human Rights And Ethical Labour Practices

    Supplier Approval Process

    Migrant Worker Recruitment Policy

    Opting For Zero-Recruitment Fees Policy

    Continues Its Transition To Digital Payments Worldwide

    The full report can be read or downloaded