Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

Businesses are under increased pressure from both governments and consumers to disclose what actions they are taking to ensure their supply chains are free from slavery.

ANTARA FOTO/Reuters

About 80 per cent of the world’s biggest canned tuna brands do not know who caught their fish, putting workers in the industry at risk of exploitation and slavery, a human-rights group said on Monday.

Of 35 tuna companies and supermarkets surveyed by the U.K.-based Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), only 20 per cent detailed their supply chains in the Pacific region, which provides 60 per cent of the world’s tuna, according to the World Bank.

The report said only seven companies, including Bumble Bee Foods, Aldi Nord and Thai Union, the world’s largest canned tuna company, disclosed their entire supply chains.

Story continues below advertisement

Businesses are under increased pressure from both governments and consumers to disclose what actions they are taking to ensure their supply chains are free from slavery.

“Modern slavery is endemic in the fishing industry, where the tuna supply chain is remote, complex and opaque,” said BHRRC’s Pacific researcher Amy Sinclair.

“Yet despite years of shocking abuses being exposed, tuna companies are taking little action to protect workers,” she said in a statement.

As the demand for tuna grows – an industry worth about US$42-billion – so does the risk of human-rights abuses, including labour exploitation, slavery and trafficking, BHRRC said.

Thailand’s multibillion-dollar seafood sector has come under fire in recent years after several investigations showed widespread slavery, trafficking and violence on fishing boats and in onshore food processing factories.

Thai Union Group PCL in 2016 pledged to tackle potential labour abuse and overfishing, seeking to clean up the Thai seafood industry.

BHRRC said most companies had failed to enforce their modern slavery policies throughout their supply chains, such as ensuring all subcontractors complied with their policies, or providing a complaints system to all workers down the chain.

Story continues below advertisement

British supermarket Tesco and American chains Walmart and Costco were among 15 companies that failed to respond to the survey conducted by BHRRC between last November and January.

Tesco told the Thomson Reuters Foundation it did not intend to hide anything and had missed the BHRRC survey.

“We are committed to being transparent about our actions to tackle modern slavery in our supply chains,” a Tesco spokeswoman said in e-mailed comments.

Tesco and Walmart said they were part of the Seafood Task Force, a coalition of businesses and charities that regularly audits fishing vessels to prevent human-rights abuses.

“Our approach to helping combat forced labour is to look at the root cause that goes across sectors. We appreciate the increasing need for transparency,” a Walmart spokeswoman said.

Costco did not respond to requests for comment.

Story continues below advertisement

More than 40 million people are estimated to be trapped as slaves in forced labour and forced marriages, according to the International Labour Organization and human-rights group Walk Free Foundation. Nearly 25 million work in factories, on construction sites, farms, fishing boats and as domestic or sex workers, ILO says.

Follow related topics

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies