Greenpeace today welcomes the publication of Mars Petcare’s new plan of action to tackle human rights abuses in its seafood supply chains in Thailand.  

Greenpeace and its supporters have put pressure on Mars to stamp out human rights abuse and overfishing from its Whiskas seafood products, with a series of online and real world tactics, including spoof TV ads, internet cats, petitions, and a blockade of Mars’ Whiskas factory in Whanganui, New Zealand.

Greenpeace New Zealand Campaigner Kate Simcock said, “This is a big win for people power and a huge step forward for Mars, which sources seafood from some of the biggest fishing companies in the world. Mars’ plan to reject seafood connected to human rights abuse and destructive fishing could lead to genuine change on the water.”

Mars pet food brands, including Whiskas, source seafood from Thai Union, the company at the centre of Greenpeace’s international tuna campaign. Greenpeace has been putting pressure on Mars and other customers of Thai Union to commit to policies that protect workers and oceans throughout their seafood supply chains.

The announcement is a step forward for Mars and puts it on an equal footing with its largest competitor Nestle, which also uses Thai Union seafood in its Purina Fancy Feast brand. Nestle commissioned an independent review of its Thai seafood supply chains, and after finding evidence of slavery in its pet food products, published a public response plan last November.

‘Though Mars’ plan is a great first step there is still a lot of work for it to do,’ said Simcock.

“Like Nestle, Mars’ plan focuses almost exclusively on Thailand, and does not yet address wider problems in its supply chain, both out at sea on fishing vessels registered to other nations and in other parts of Southeast Asia,” said Simcock. “Mars and all of Thai Union’s customers need to be completely confident Thai Union is progressing to eliminate human rights and environmental abuse throughout its supply chains.”

Mars’ plan demonstrates a commitment to tackling issues in Thailand’s fisheries, yet major global processors like Thai Union also source from fishing vessels and traders in other countries, including Taiwan, where a recent Greenpeace report revealed rampant human rights and environmental abuses.

“With two of the world’s biggest pet food manufacturers now signed up to action plans to address serious environmental and human rights issues in the fisheries they source from, it will be exciting to see which company makes the quickest progress. The race is on to deal with these huge problems, and we are looking for real leadership from industry,” said Simcock.

“We will be watching that very closely and we’re sure Mars customers will be too.”