Gender imbalance remains an ongoing challenge in the seafood industry, but Thai Union is working towards having 50/50 gender parity across all levels of management, according to Dr. Darian McBain, Thai Union’s Global Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability, speaking at the ELEVATE CSR Asia Summit.
‘The inclusion of women in the workforce brings very clear benefits not just to a business recognising the skills and talents that women can bring at every level of an organisation, but also to broader society by providing additional income for families, while also playing an important role in education for children,’ she told the Beyond Policies and Targets: What’s Next in Gender Equality? forum.
‘Ensuring access to quality working conditions together with fair and equal treatment is a priority,’ she said, adding that Thai Union has a diverse customer base, so having a diverse workplace helps the company to better understand its target markets, she said.
The company introduced its Thai Union Group Diversity Policy last year, with gender diversity forming a key component given the large number of women working for Thai Union and within its supply chains.
Separately, Darian McBain told a roundtable at the summit on Children’s Rights in the Agricultural Sector that through Thai Union’s global sustainability strategy, SeaChange®, the company has implemented change to ensure there are no children working in its supply chains.
In 2015, Thai Union introduced a new, more stringent Business Ethics and Labour Code of Conduct, built on twelve fundamental principles designed to reinforce a culture of integrity and aligned with the United Nations Global Compact principles of basic responsibilities to people and upholding their basic rights.
The Code of Conduct makes it clear that child labour is forbidden in the company’s own operations and supply chains.
Thai Union also supports children in the local communities where it operates by providing regular health and nutrition workshops, as well as general skills and knowledge such as fire safety, football clinics and photography.
This year, Thai Union opened its fourth preschool in Thailand’s Samut Sakhon province to help the children of migrant workers to learn Thai language and culture before they enter the formal Thai education system. The preschools not only provide the children with basic education but also ensure they are safe during the day.