Thai fishing protesters await results

By Melissa Nightingale

1 comment
BELOW DECK: Activists under a Mars Petcare truck on Thursday. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO
BELOW DECK: Activists under a Mars Petcare truck on Thursday. PHOTO/STUART MUNRO

There is no news yet on how Greenpeace's protest outside the Mars Petcare building last week may have influenced an "industry roundtable meeting" on Thai fishing practices.

Six activists chained themselves to a truck in front of the Castlecliff factory on Thursday to block the entrance in a protest against tuna supplied by the Thai Union being used in cat food pouches.

They were protesting for about 11 hours.

Activist Kate Simcock said Thai Union had been linked to slavery scandals and "really aggressive" fishing practices.

She said on Thursday there would be a meeting between Mars and Thai Union in Britain later in the day, and they hoped their protest would inspire further action.

Yesterday Ms Simcock said they had not heard yet what had happened at the meeting but news of the protest had "been communicated".

Ms Simcock described the meeting as an "industry roundtable" with groups involved in the Thai fishing industry.

She said the meeting was about looking at sustainability as well as traceability and labour issues, and new ways to solve these problems.

Mars spokeswoman Vicki Hamilton said Thai Union had signed its supplier code of conduct and the Mars Fisheries code of conduct, and were audited against it.

"We have been consulted for SeaChange, the Thai Union sustainability strategy, and believe that the company is putting strict measures in place to drive responsible sourcing, marine conservation, safe and legal labour and caring for communities," she said.

"Forced labour and human rights abuses in general are very serious issues that cannot be solved overnight but need thorough understanding of the supply chains to develop an efficient and effective plan to eradicate.

"Thailand is of strategic importance to Mars for this region. We believe that as a global and local business we have a responsibility to contribute to the change the Thai fishing industry needs to make to become a reliable and sustainable supply chain. As such, it is vital that we engage with, rather than abandon, the industry - working with others, including Thai Union, to improve conditions and to stamp out any human rights abuses."

She said Mars was a member of Aim-Progress, an organisation that helps businesses conduct human rights due diligence reviews of their supply chains and ensure implementation of the UN Guiding Principles for business and human rights.

"The Mars Whanganui team are grateful for the support provided by the community last week, including the police and suppliers, during the presence of Greenpeace."

- Wanganui Chronicle

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