Leading businesses in Thailand join Global Compact-United Nations push for climate action
The event organizers - Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), the United Nations in Thailand, and the British Embassy – applauded the companies at the event that already were embedding sustainability into their operations and encouraged more businesses to join the movement.
Representatives of 77 companies in Thailand have gathered to discuss the next steps they can take to tackle climate change, a main goal of Global Compact Network and the United Nations in Thailand in contributing to the upcoming climate summit COP26 in Glasgow in November.
The speakers discussed key milestones in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, including the “New Era of Action” for Thailand’s climate leadership, and measures to limit global warming in line with the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement.
The event organizers - Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), the United Nations in Thailand, and the British Embassy – applauded the companies at the event that already were embedding sustainability into their operations and encouraged more businesses to join the movement. Key to this, highlighted the participants, would be an enabling policy environment that incentivizes further and quicker action by businesses.
Suphachai Chearavanont, Chairperson of GCNT and Group Chief Executive Officer of Charoen Pokphand Group Company Limited, said climate change is a more serious threat to humanity than the COVID-19 crisis, which may eventually disappear. Climate change is widespread, rapid, and intensifying, according to the latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The UN Secretary-General has described the report as a “code red” for humanity. As one of the most vulnerable regions to climate change, Southeast Asia and Thailand especially, will face more severe effects as sea levels rise and other extremes such as ocean acidity, coastal flooding, disrupted food systems, reduced crop yields and epidemics worsen – all which could cost the world up to 10% of its total economic value by 2050. In Southeast Asia, this would mean a 20% cut in growth unless adaptive measures are taken.
The challenge is immense, he said, and we know what must be done: shift to clean energy sources, promote better waste disposal, recycling and the circular economy and help companies improve their resilience and adaptive capacity through training. Adaptation to climate change is crucial for businesses while presenting new opportunities for commitment, which we are hoping to see at this year’s sustainability leaders summit 'GCNT FORUM 2021’ on 11 October.
“GCNT calls on the private sector to commit to climate action through greater disclosure and corporate transparency. What we require now is a new generation of sustainability leaders, more market-based mechanisms to reduce emissions, and innovation driven by technology and new thinking,” said Supachai.
In her opening remarks, Gita Sabharwal, UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand, welcomed leadership from the business community in the country to limit global warming and align with the ‘RaceToZero’ initiative, which represents a recommitment to science-based climate policy, and an unprecedented opportunity to unleash innovation and financing, create jobs and regenerate nature at a more sustainable pace and scale.
In the continuing recovery amid the pandemic, she explained, adopting pathways that are low-carbon dependent would be a crucial step in line with the 1.5-degree goal of the Paris Agreement, in addition to promoting sustainable investing. Recently in September, the UN in Thailand in partnership with the Ministry of Finance of Thailand and the Government Pension Fund engaged 43 investors and bankers with total asset size US$1.3 trillion who committed as business leaders to act responsibly in the face of the climate crisis, and to scale up financing in support of sustainability.
"This is an opportunity to shape the recovery and demonstrate to the region and beyond the role the private sector can play to move towards carbon neutrality in Thailand," she said. "The time is now to take action in a journey in which we can both learn and inspire each other."
Commending the importance of current collaborations, H.E. Mark Gooding British Ambassador to Thailand said: “COP26 must be the moment that every country, and every part of society, embraces their responsibility to protect our planet. Businesses are truly a vital component of all our goals for COP26 and can help achieve success through your own actions, working with peers and across your value chains and being positive advocates for climate action. We invite all businesses to join the Race to Zero, a UN-backed global campaign rallying non-state actors to take rigorous and immediate action to reduce emissions.”
He added that the British Embassy Bangkok will be proud to see Thai companies highlighted at COP26, where the world will meet to agree on more ambitious action to address climate change.
In just over a month, COP26 will take place, bringing together governments, climate experts and campaigners including from Thailand and international organizations, non-profit agencies and the business sector with the objective of mobilizing cooperation. Without accelerated effort to reduce fossil fuel emissions and deforestation, billions of people are at risk from the effects of climate change, and businesses should prepare to ensure compliance with an increasing number of environmental and climate change regulations globally.
During the event ‘Build Forward Better: Turning the Climate Crisis into Business Opportunities,’ GCNT also held a workshop to showcase the leadership of its private sector members including from Bangchak Corporation, CP All, Charoen Pokphand, PTTEP, Oklin Thailand, NR Instant Produce, Siam Cement Group, Pranda Jewelry, Thaioil Group, and Siam Makro, who described ways for companies to better integrate climate action goals into their internal policies.