45th Annual Society for Case Research & Global Jesuit Case Series Summer Workshop

Experience level: 
Intended Audience: 
Daniel Bothe, Jamie Hess

Bumble Bee Foods and Corporate Social Responsibility: Sink or Swim?

Bumble Bee Foods (Bumble Bee) is a multinational seafood company that sources tuna from fleets across the globe. Jan Tharp became CEO of Bumble Bee in 2018 when the former CEO left to fight charges alleging he had colluded to fix tuna prices. Tharp launched a 5-year, $40 million initiative to establish sustainable sources of tuna, reduce plastic in packaging, and use technology to decrease the amount of lost or abandoned fishing gear in the ocean. The tuna fishing industry is at least 3,500 years old, with a long history of concerns including sustainability, the impact of tuna fishing on other species, and abuses of labor in the supply chain. In 2022, the Global Labor Justice-International Labor Rights Forum (GLJ-ILRF) filed a lawsuit against Bumble Bee and its claim of a “fair and safe supply chain.” The pending litigation was a blow to Tharp’s transformation of the global seafood company.