Partner Profile: Thai Union
Fishcoin is pleased to be partnering with Thai Union, one of the largest seafood companies on the planet, in order to implement blockchain technology in Thai shrimp supply chains.
The attention of the seafood world has been sharply focused on Thailand in recent years due to the headlines about slavery in shrimp supply chains as well as the European Union Red card that was issued about illegal fisheries activities which threatens to ban all Thai seafood imported to Europe. To make matters worse, the Thai shrimp industry suffered massive losses due to a bacterial disease which dropped their production in half and forced the industry to make major changes in how it farmed. Thankfully practices in the shrimp farming industry have improved as a result of the crisis and are now more in line with sustainable production as the overall system is more closed and reuses water rather than discharging it at every harvest. However, the industry is still working within the “drive to the bottom” incentive that exists within the commodity shrimp business making it difficult for them to compete as the new method is costlier than the old method.
Who is Thai Union?
Thai Union is one of the biggest seafood companies in the world and have been taking steps to improve the sustainability of all of the seafood items they source and sell and have been aggressively implementing sustainability programs under the leadership of Dr. Darian McBain (Sustainability Director) who was named Sustainability Leader of the Year at the prestigious edie Sustainability Leaders Awards 2018. Thai Union was named to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index Emerging Markets for the fourth straight year in 2017 and was listed in the SET’s 2017 Thailand Sustainability Investment Index (THSI), Thai Union was named one of the Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards winners for Top Corporate Social Responsibility Advocates. They are also a member of the Asian Seafood Improvement Collaborative (ASIC) and were the first in Thailand to verify shrimp against the stakeholder created ASIC shrimp improvement program as well as the first to bring the product to the US market.
Why are they partnering with Fishcoin?
Thailand has somewhere around 20,000 shrimp farms ranging from small to large producers, but the shrimp supply chain is complicated and working from the processor the steps can include brokers to farmers to feed mills to fishmeal plants to fish boats that catch the raw material used in shrimp feed. The complication in Thailand (which is similar and, in many cases, more difficult in other developing countries like Vietnam, Indonesia, etc.) makes it difficult to ensure that the required traceability system for all inputs is in place. The system currently used is essentially paper-based traceability which is not reliable nor credible. In short, the Thai shrimp supply chain is an ideal testing ground for Fishcoin (i.e. blockchain technology) given the complexity and length of the supply chain, the mix of large and small farms, and most importantly the need for credible solutions to help Thailand rebuild its image to global seafood buyers.
So why can blockchain bring something to the space that hasn’t already been tried you might ask? The first answer is that blockchain can illuminate the actual complexity of the supply chain which is difficult to see under current traceability systems. Obviously, illumination is the first step in trying to solve the problem of verification, yet this key point has been absent from the mainstream attempts to solve this problem. In addition, the incentive that Fishcoin offers could be of great benefit given that many in the supply chain have gotten used to market imposed certifications and other requirements that not only make their work harder but offer little in the way of returns or benefits for compliance. Finally, blockchain offers a more reliable way for Thai shrimp farmers who are now using the closed farming method to be recognized by conscientious consumers and chefs all over the world are looking for storied seafood but need the proof that they are getting the product they purchased.
Interested in becoming a Fishcoin partner?
Companies and organizations throughout the seafood industry are signing up almost daily to be rollout partners in the Fishcoin ecosystem. If you would like to know more about joining our community of partners please read through our white paper, and contact our team.