Fishermen know that in order to have fish for the future, they need to let small fish to grow into bigger ones. Similarly, the CEOs of a fishing companies should know that in order to have the business survive in the long run, they must ensure that their fleets are fishing within a sustainable limit.
But for Starkist, and its parent company Dongwon Industries, that important lesson has been elusive. Dongwon has been,
- Linked to illegal fishing;
- Brought to court for allegations of defrauding the U.S. government;
- The wrongful death of a member of a fishing crew;
- Crew abuse at sea, and;
- Charges of serious pollution at sea.
A change in the way the company catches its fish is just what the doctor ordered.
For Starkist/Dongwon investors, the variety of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) problems listed above means that their investments in the company can carry substantial risk. To make informed financial decisions, investors must be aware of the challenges and problems Starkist/Dongwon faces in its overseas operations. There are substantial risks in putting money into a company that shows little concern for the environment and the sustainability of our oceans.
In order to communicate these risks to investors, Greenpeace Korea attended the annual general meeting (AGM) of Dongwon Industries in South Korea. On Thursday morning, a team of activists arrived at the company’s headquarters in Gangnam District of Seoul, delivering the message “Your money is at risk” to the shareholders walking into the building.
In the world of finance, ESG performance can seriously impact a company’s financial performance. Dongwon Industries has ambitions to become one of the world’s largest fishing companies, and should anticipate that its business practices will be closely scrutinized by investors worldwide. Dongwon should also expect shareholders to seek to minimize financial risks to their investments, which will cause them to take note of environmental and social performance and demand more transparency in business operations.
Starkist/Dongwon should take heed: investors know that the sustainability of the marine resources play a key role not only in the food chain, but the value chain of a business, too.