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Meet the woman who’s making your can of tuna safer for everyone

For making Chicken of the Sea parent Thai Union a more humane and sustainable company, environmental engineer Darian McBain is one of Fast Company’s Most Creative People in Business for 2020.

Meet the woman who’s making your can of tuna safer for everyone
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Thai Union is a publicly traded seafood giant with global sales of farmed shrimp and canned tuna—including Chicken of the Sea—topping $4 billion annually. When environmental engineer Darian McBain joined the Bangkok-based conglomerate, in 2015, the industry faced a “yellow card” from EU regulators for illegal fishing practices—and global condemnation for reports of slave labor on ships. Today, thanks to her industry-leading policies on the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and a landmark 2017 agreement she helped orchestrate with Greenpeace on catch reporting and worker rights, Thai Union is top-ranked in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for food products. McBain outfitted ships with satellite Wi-Fi, so that workers could chat via app with loved ones on land, and in 2019, she expanded a program with the Nature Conservancy that uses cameras to record everything happening on deck over months-long fishing trips. On shore, the video can be analyzed to ensure that safety and catch protocols are being followed. A partnership with Stanford University this year will use AI to help scan the footage. “No human can visually watch for that length of time and pick out what went wrong and right,” says McBain.