Meet the Sustainability Leader: Darian McBain – Sustainability Leader of the Year 2018

With entries now open for edie's revamped 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards, this new feature series will showcase the achievements of the 2018 winners, revealing their secrets to success. First up: our 2018 Sustainability Leader of the Year, Thai Union Group's global director of sustainable development Dr. Darian McBain.

Leading the sustainability efforts of the world’s number one seafood supplier, Darian McBain has played an instrumental role in developing Thai Union’s leadership position to enact real change across the global seafood industry.

“There were so many worthy candidates, to be named Sustainability Leader of the Year by edie was quite an honour,” McBain told edie. “It is a great recognition of the impact Thai Union’s sustainability strategy, SeaChange, is having on the business, socially and environmentally, both within the seafood sector and, hopefully, across industries and toward the SDGs.

“Sustainability is genuinely embraced in our company culture at Thai Union, and it is important to highlight this award is also a reflection of a lot of hard work by a lot of dedicated people on the team.”

With strong experience in sustainable supply chains, Darian is working at every level of the seafood industry – from vessels and manufacturing, to importers and retailers; however, she is particularly focused on establishing the controls to ensure that all workers throughout the seafood industry have safe, legal and freely chosen employment.

Hands-on approach

Her work focuses on a range of sustainability challenges in the seafood industry: from human rights abuses, migrant and labour issues, to environmental and climate change threats. Darian launched the company’s global sustainability strategy SeaChange, and also leads the company’s commitments and pledges on global platforms, such as the United Nations and World Economic Forum.

Her hands-on approach with stakeholders has resulted in many partnerships and initiatives to improve working conditions and rights of migrant workers in Thailand’s fishing industry, increase the supply of sustainably sourced seafood, and improved traceability within the fishing industry.

Darian has implemented significant programmes within the company to provide safe and legal labour – within Thai Union Group’s own facilities and in its wider supply chain. She devised global company policies that prevent human rights abuses – such as the ethical migrant recruitment policy that ensures zero recruitment fees for agents and brokers in order to protect workers from the risk of modern slavery.

She also made it compulsory for all suppliers to adhere to the Group’s stringent business ethics and code of conduct, requiring them to protect their workers’ rights, ensure they operate responsibly, socially and environmentally; and conduct their business legally.

After years of internal discussions with the senior management, Darian launched Thai Union’s global tuna commitment in December 2016 – committing to sourcing 100% of branded tuna from fisheries that are Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified or engaged in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) to move them towards MSC certification.

edie’s 2019 Sustainability Leaders Award

Now in their 12th year, the RSA-accredited Sustainability Leaders Awards have undergone a major revamp, with a host of new categories and judges, a new Awards venue, and a new Mission Possible theme – making 6 February 2019 the biggest night of the sustainable business calendar.

The entry deadline for the 2019 Sustainability Leaders Awards is Friday, 14 September 2018. The Awards will then take place on the night of 6 February 2019 at the Park Plaza London, Westminster. 


edie staff


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