In September 2019, Global Child Forum participated in CSR Asia for the third year in a row. The event took take place in Centara World Conference Center in Bangkok on 18-19 September. With presentations, panels and discussions based on innovation and emerging trends, conference attendees explored strategies to move the conversation from rhetoric to results.
At this breakfast seminar children’s rights challenges in the agricultural industry were adressed. The agricultural sector in Southeast Asia is a major regional force, both as a driver of GDP as well as a formal and informal employer. However, with the combination of growing populations, migrant workforces and the threat of climate change, agrobusiness in Southeast Asia is at a crossroads, particularly for its largest and most vulnerable population: children.
Discussions during the breakfast were centered on regional children’s rights challenges, such as informal employment, living wages and land rights, along with perspectives from suppliers and producers in the agricultural industry in Southeast Asia as well as international stakeholders. These discussions were complemented by a sneak peek into the Global Benchmark results before the full launch as well as regional data from the Children’s Rights and Business Atlas.
Global Director, Corporate Affairs & Sustainability, Thai Union Group Public Company Limited
As the Global Director of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Thai Union, Darian McBain is responsible for implementing change that will drive sustainability through the entire global seafood industry. Darian also leads the company’s communications efforts.
Since joining Thai Union in 2015, Darian has taken the company from a commodity focus to a wholistic ecosystem approach with a focus on oceans and people. Working within the framework of the UN Sustainable Development Goals, Darian developed and has driven Thai Union’s sustainability strategy SeaChange® since its inception. The sustainability strategy addresses many of the sustainability challenges that Thai Union and the wider industry face.
Darian has developed a strong focus on traceability and transparency within the SeaChange® program. Increasingly Darian is looking to new technologies such as blockchain to solve some of the most critical issues within the industry, whether seafood traceability, identification for migrant workers, or even digital payments.
In 2016, working with internal and external stakeholders, Darian launched Thai Union’s global tuna commitment. This commitment took Thai Union away from just buying fish, to actively engaging all stakeholders, from governments to fleets to NGOs, to agree and act on a series of activities to protect a fishery and maintain a healthy ecosystem. Committed to transparency, Thai Union published a tuna commitment progress report to publicly share their journey.
She also spearheaded Thai Union’s landmark Greenpeace agreement for sustainable and socially responsible seafood, which led to the release of a Vessel Code of Conduct and the vessel improvement program. This was the first global agreement that Greenpeace had reached with a corporation.
In 2016, Thai Union adopted its Ethical Migrant Recruitment Policy, one of the first ‘zero-fees’ recruitment models regionally. Developed closely with a local NGO, this was globally recognized and encouraged the Thai government to adopt new legislation, eliminating recruitment broker use in Thailand. In 2017 Darian joined the Bali Process Business and Government Forum, representing Thai businesses working toward reducing human trafficking and forced labor. Darian regularly presents on the topic of modern slavery, including presenting at a panel at the 2018 UN General Assembly in New York with the UK Secretary of State and other business leaders.
In her Corporate Affairs role, Darian leads Thai Union’s strategic communications efforts, crisis communications, brand reputation management including internal communications, media relations as well as CSR activities.
Darian is a member of Thai Union’s Global Leadership Team, the Risk Management Committee and is Chair of the Sustainability Committee.
Darian holds a PhD in global supply chain analysis from the University of Sydney and remains an adjunct to the university’s Integrated Sustainability Analysis unit. She has published numerous academic articles and books. Before joining Thai Union, she was Managing Director of the consultancy Blue Sky Green, Sustainable Development Executive for the NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency and worked for the UN as well as WWF. In 2017 she was awarded Thai Union’s Most Exceptional Effort Award, and in 2018 she was named Edie Sustainability Leader of the Year as well as Ethical Corporation’s Responsible Business Leader of the Year. In 2019, Darian was honored in the Vision category of the Seafood Champion Awards at the SeaWeb Seafood Summit.
Chief of Staff, Fair Labor Association
Shelly Heald Han is a senior business and human rights advocate who has worked in the private sector, the government, and for non-profits in the U.S. and internationally. Her experience encompasses human rights, trade policy, international relations, government relations, public policy, public affairs. Shelly joined the Fair Labor Association in 2016. At the FLA she leads engagement with the labor rights community, as well as contributes to the organization’s overall policy priorities and administration. Previously, Shelly was a senior policy advisor to members of the U.S. Congress for ten years where she drafted legislation, organized Congressional hearings, and launched human rights advocacy campaigns focused on combatting corruption, supporting human rights defenders and journalists, and advancing online freedom. From 2000 to 2006, she worked in the U.S. executive branch in policy positions on trade, national security and immigration. Prior to joining the government, she worked in the private sector helping companies do business—and do the right thing—in international markets.
In an effort to provide insights and guidance on how businesses protect – or fall short in protecting – children’s rights in the Southeast Asia region, Global Child Forum’s Benchmark Report makes use of two of our essential research products: The Children Rights and Business Atlas and The corporate sector and children’s rights benchmark. More specifically, insights are provided across three areas where the corporate sector impacts children’s rights: The Workplace, The Marketplace, The Community and the Environment.
Throughout this report, data from the Atlas highlights contextual factors that shape how companies can and should respond to children’s rights. This information is contrasted with the results of the Benchmark scoring for the 20 largest companies in Southeast Asia. A gap analysis provides recommendations for company actions that address risks and create positive impact on children’s rights in the region.
Read and download the full report here.