John West owner Thai Union has announced plans for 100% of its branded tuna to be sourced from sustainable fisheries, with at least 75% achieved by the end of 2020.

The seafood giant is investing $90m (£70.9) in a range of initiatives across the globe that will increase the supply of sustainable tuna, including establishing 11 new Fishery Improvement Projects, which it hopes will help significantly increase the number of Marine Stewardship Council-certified tuna fisheries from the current level of 11.

Thai Union defines ‘sustainably sourced’ tuna as caught from fisheries that are already certified according to the standards of the MSC, or involved in a FIP that is working towards achieving standards required for MSC certification.

The new commitment will apply to all of Thai Union’s tuna brands, from John West in the UK and Middle East, to North America’s Chicken of the Sea, Mareblu of Italy, Petit Navire of France and Sealect of Thailand. Each brand would report publicly on its progress against the 2020 commitment on a regular basis, the processor said.

However, John West - which has faced criticism from campaigners such as Greenpeace over its continued use of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) in its supply chain - was ahead of the curve as far as Thai Union’s plans were concerned, having made a similar commitment in October 2014, a spokeswoman said.

The brand and partner WWF UK were “making good progress” towards achieving their plan to ensure all John West tuna was sourced from MSC-certified fisheries or those in a FIP, she added.

“This remains our goal and we are making good progress towards achieving it; the agreement for the Indian Ocean FIP is in place, and the Atlantic Ocean FIP is due to begin in 2017. We are delighted that through our work with WWF UK, John West will be achieving its objective slightly ahead of Thai Union’s 2020 global commitment.”

Thai Union’s commitment would have a “positive impact on the entire industry by significantly increasing the supply of sustainable tuna available to the seafood processors, retailers and, ultimately, consumers”, said the company’s global director for sustainable development Darian McBain.

“Our substantial investment will transform tuna sourcing for the entire industry and demonstrates our strong commitment to the sustainability of our oceans,” added Thai Union CEO Thiraphong Chansiri.

The announcement was welcomed by the MSC, with Toby Middleton, programme director for the North East Atlantic, stating the move sent a “clear signal of support for MSC to fisheries that are investing in the long term sustainability of the world’s tuna stocks and healthy oceans on which they depend”.