Responsible supply chains in Thailand’s poultry industry

Poultry exporters collaborate to enhance labour standards in their supply chains through an innovative EU-funded training programme organised by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), Employers Confederation of Thailand (ECOT) and the Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association

News | 12 November 2020
Co-organisers and presenters at training launch, inlcuding Mr. Graeme Buckley, Director, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR Mr. Ekasit Kunanantakul , President, Employers’ Confederation of Thailand, Mr. Kukrit Areepakorn, Manager, Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, H.E. Mr. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, Mr. Surachai Chaitrakulthong, Vice Minister for Labour
BANGKOK (ILO News) – Thailand’s Vice Minister for Labour has called for businesses to take up an active role in ensuring decent work in their supply chains.

Speaking to industry leaders at the launch of a training programme for poultry supply chains, Mr Surachai Chaitrakulthong, said that responsible business practices will bring broad benefits to Thailand “In addition to being able to produce quality products in line with the expectations of society and buyers, they also they also ensure a well-being of workers and advance the people and economy of Thailand,” he said.

“The Royal Thai Government is placing great importance on business and human rights, being the first country in Asia to have a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP) and promoting guidelines for responsible business conduct in supply chains, such as Thailand Labour Standard and Good Labour Practices. Everyone here, especially businesses, play a very important role in creating workplace conditions that are aligned with international standards. It’s vital if society is to move forward together sustainably in accordance with the principles of the Sustainable Development Goals.”

Creating better jobs through responsible labour practices training in the poultry supply chains: Training of Trainers programme on responsible business is part of the joint EU-ILO-OECD Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme funded by the European Union. The event saw representatives of leading poultry exporter companies formally acknowledge the recommendations of the ILO’s MNE Declaration as key principles to promote decent work in their businesses and promote social sustainability.

In an opening address, Graeme Buckley, Director, ILO Country Office for Thailand, Cambodia and Lao PDR welcomed the initiative. “Supporting Thai firms to embrace responsible business and due diligence requirements provides a unique opportunity for Thai businesses to get ahead of the competition and broaden their access to global markets,” he said.

Speaking of the expected outcome of the training programme, H.E. Pirkka Tapiola, Ambassador of the European Union to Thailand, said, “Promoting and enabling responsible business conduct is of paramount importance, even more so now with the on-going health and economic crisis. The European Union stands side by side with countries like Thailand to co-operate in the promotion of responsible business conduct, including labour rights, at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. Today’s event in the framework of the EU-funded “Responsible Supply Chains in Asia” is one of the many examples of our cooperation.”

Commencing after the launch is the first stage of group training for 24 employees from the companies, focusing on workplace collaboration, forced labour and fair recruitment. A later event is planned to allow companies to train companies in their supply chains and share the outcomes of their training, their experiences, challenges, good practices and lessons learned.

Mr Kukrit Areepakorn, Manager of Thai Broiler Processing Exporters Association, speaking on behalf of the Association and the three companies who joined the training programme stated that “this training aims to strengthen participants knowledge on international labour standards and new guidelines so that they could continue their efforts to apply good labour practices in plant operations as appropriate, and expand this new knowledge to others to achieve sustainable growth of Thailand’s poultry industry.”

Mr Ekasit Kunanantakul, President, Employers’ Confederation of Thailand added that the “labour dimension of responsible business in the supply chains is important for operating businesses today and in the future. It is through (a focus on) labour practices that enterprises take care of their workers to comply with international expectations and align with international labour standards, buyers’ requirements, and consumers, both domestically and abroad. It also helps to raise Thai labour standards to be at the international level including creating opportunities and prevent issues that may be raised as trade barriers.”

The launch was followed by a panel discussion on International Labour Standards, responsible business and competitiveness. Representatives of the EU, Ministry of Commerce, amfori and Migros, the Swiss-based supermarket chain, shared their insights on the trend of increased requirements on social compliance and concrete benefits for Thai businesses to advance labour standards along their productions chains.

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The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia is a European Union-funded programme developed in close collaboration with ILO and OECD that enables businesses to dialogue on challenges and opportunities in relation to corporate social responsibility/responsible business conduct in six Asian countries – China, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam. In Thailand, the project’s focus is on the agriculture and automotive sectors, both of which account for a high number of jobs in the region and play an important role in trade linkages with the EU, within the Thai economy and across Asia. This initiative is one of the expressions of the EU's long-standing commitment to promote human rights, decent work and sustainable development.

For more information about the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme, visit www.ilo.org/rsca.

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