How Humanity United used "carrots & sticks" to confront forced labour in Thai seafood industry

Author: Sarah Murray, Stanford Social Innovation Review (USA), Published on: 8 September 2015

"Casting a Tight Net", Fall 2015

The exploitation of workers in the Thai seafood industry is one of the worst examples of human rights abuse in the world today. Humanity United is pursuing a strategy that combines carrots and sticks—collaboration and activism—to confront that problem... In the wake of the Guardian investigation, several corporate buyers of seafood products—including...Costco,...Tesco, and Charoen Pokphand Foods, a Thai conglomerate—announced that they would scrutinize their supply chains, and work to avoid suppliers that engage in human trafficking...

Three aspects of the foundation’s work in this area stand out, and together they point to an intriguing model for philanthropically led efforts to achieve broad-based social change.

First, in designing its campaign to combat slavery and human trafficking, HU opted to target a single industry in a single country... Second, the foundation has gone beyond simply signing checks to grantees. HU has charted a coordinated strategy for change, and it has cultivated a network of partners... Third, HU has worked to strike a delicate balance in its interaction It has used both sticks and carrots—efforts to prod companies into confronting human rights abuses, alongside efforts to help [companies] improve...

Maya Spaull, director of the Fair Trade USA Fisheries Program...[notes that unlike in] the apparel industry... “ seafood, no one has created a program that holistically puts the person first”...

[also refers to Morrisons, Stavis Seafoods]

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Related companies: Costco CP (Charoen Pokphand) Morrisons Tesco