Sweatshops at Sea: Labour reform in the Thai seafood supply chain via hybrid global governance

Last changed: 15 September 2020

The project investigates the implementation of hybrid global governance in the Thai seafood supply chain focusing on labour standards.

Background

The Thai seafood supply chain has been significantly reformed in recent years in response to multiple EU, civil society and private sector initiatives. The reform process attempts to solve the vicious circle between environmental sustainability versus labour conditions: as fish catches diminish boats are forced to venture ever further out to sea driving up costs which may need to be recovered by relying on exploitable migrant fishworkers. The outcome of the reform process is a combination of formally binding laws, supply chain standards and operational codes in a complex hybrid global governance approach to sustainable fisheries. How multiple initiatives under different domestic and international regulations, standards and best practices will function in practical regulation remains unclear however.

The project

This project investigates the implementation of hybrid global governance in the Thai seafood supply chain focusing on labour standards. Drawing on long-running research experience of the sector, the project will use semi-structured interviews, observations and action research to unpack the still unfolding reform processes. Thailand forms a crucial case in new approaches to global sustainability governance as social and environmental criteria become interlinked. This can help us understand how an international sector beset by long-running challenges may transform in the future.

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