Cooperation of Kesko and Plan International started last spring with a research project that examined the conditions of Cambodian migrant workers and their families in Thailand’s fish industry. The aim of the common project is to improve the working conditions of Cambodian migrant workers and the education and protection of their children in Thailand.
The cooperation also aims to improve the transparency of the production chain. We try to include a wide variety of fishing industry companies and civil society organisations. The Thai state also has a significant role to play in the implementation of children’s and migrant workers’ rights.
Poverty drives whole families from the neighbouring countries to Thailand as paperless migrant workers. It is estimated that up to 20,000 Cambodian children aged 10–15 work in the fish industry of Thailand where as many as 90 percent of employees are migrant workers with low wages.
During the project, we aim to examine the activities of the unofficial sector of the fish industry, identify the means to prevent the abuse and discrimination of migrant workers and their children, and train the operators in the supply chain in issues of transparency and fair treatment of workers.
”Companies play an increasingly important role in the implementation of children’s rights. Our cooperation is a good example of new kind of partnerships, which are in line with the objectives of sustainable development. In cooperation with Kesko and other companies, Plan International can achieve much wider impacts than alone,” says Niina Mikolanniemi, Plan International Finland’s Senior Corporate Partnership Manager.
“It’s great that companies such as Kesko consider it important to support children’s rights on a long-term basis,” says Mikolanniemi.
Cooperation with Plan provides Kesko with better opportunities in Thailand to extend its impacts in the supply chain further than the first step, that is, the manufacturer.
”We consider that we have an obligation to take responsibility for the human rights in the purchasing chain of our products. Our cooperation with Plan supports our efforts to develop the supply chain and to increase transparency,” says Matti Kalervo, Kesko’s Vice President for Corporate Responsibility.
We are implementing the project in cooperation with Plan International Sweden, and it is part of a larger project funded by the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency in Thailand and Cambodia.