Dr. Netithorn Praditsarn, Deputy Secretary of Global Compact Network Thailand and a representative of Charoen Pokphand Group; and Mr. Wuthichai Sithipreedanant, senior vice president for corporate social responsibility and sustainable development of Charoen Pokphand Foods PLC (CPF) recently joined the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights: Multi stakeholders initiatives promoted by States to drive business respect for human rights – effectiveness and lessons learned.
The session at the annual forum in Geneva, Switzerland focused on innovative multi-stakeholder approaches to drive business respect for human rights and human rights protection.
At the session, CP Group and CPF’s representatives shared CPF’s experiences in cooperating with other stakeholders in lifting the human rights standards of Thailand’s fishing industry.
CPF was a founder of Seafood Task Force, a network dedicated to tackle illegal fishing and human rights violations as well as ensure the industry’s sustainability. Seafood Task Force’s outstanding performance helped encourage the European Union to lift a yellow card for Thailand.
CPF affirmed zero direct involvement with the fishing industry. However, CPF was inspired to join Seafood Task Force from the beginning due to its leading position in the agribusiness and food industry and commitment towards sustainable business operations.
Mr. Wuthichai attributed Seafood Task Force’s success to 3 key factors.
First, collaboration of multi-stakeholders from relevant business enterprises, customers, foreign retailers and civic society to the government which brainstormed for solutions. Importantly, the private sector played a crucial role in supporting the government’s operations: for example, Department of Fisheries’ vessel monitoring system (VMS) installation project; and the establishment of Fishermen Life Enhancement Center (FLEC) in Songkhla province by CPF in cooperation with Fish Marketing Organization under Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, the Department of Labor Protection and Welfare, the Planned Parenthood Association of Thailand, and Stella Maris Seafarers Center Songkhla to actively prevent and tackle human trafficking as well as improve the quality of life of laborers and their families.
Second, conformity of public-private operations that cover the entire supply chain, to avoid redundancies and improve policy cooperation. Lastly, Seafood Task Force’s replication. Matter-of-factly, the network is an extended version of Shrimp Task Force and covers the entire fishing industry. At present, Seafood Task Force’s members represent more than 50 organizations and this practice will be replicated to other ASEAN countries including Vietnam.
Mr. Dante Pesce, a member of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, praised the strong determination of CP Group, CPF and Thailand. Their actions deserved to be an exemplary model for other industries, whereby multi-stakeholders’ cooperation is promoted for the global community’s sustainable development related to human rights.