Global Summit of Women reveals Thailand’s carbon neutral future
From upcycled bags to electric cars to sustainable food, Thailand is giving this year’s Global Summit of Women (GSW 2022) a unique flavour.
The commitment signifies the determination of women – and humankind as a whole – to strive for sustainability in the face of the growing climate crisis.
The pledge also matches the summit’s ethos that women can bring significant change for a better world in all areas, including the environment.
For the 2022 GSW, host Thailand has made painstaking preparations to ensure the lowest possible emissions of carbon, which fuels global heating.
At the registration desk, all delegates are given an upcycled bag to reduce plastic use. With that same aim in mind, they are handed a water bottle from recycled materials, with free water top-ups provided in meeting rooms throughout the three-day summit.
Mealtimes are covered too. All food served at GSW has been specially selected and prepared to minimise carbon emissions. Meanwhile electric cars are being used to transport delegates between their hotels and the convention centre, while the host committee is collecting data on each delegate’s travel arrangements to calculate their carbon footprint.
Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, the host committee chair and former tourism minister, insists these are not merely cosmetic climate gestures.
“The organising committee is committed to the carbon-neutral goal. We are taking it seriously, not superficially”, she said, adding that an independent third party is auditing GSW 2022 carbon emissions.
The determination to be carbon neutral is part of Thailand’s rebranding, according to Kobkarn.
“We want to show the world that we are ‘deep’ and we are a great place for business – not just a cheap tourist destination where you can find good food.”
Chasing the carbon-neutral goal, the host committee has also been working closely with partners.
“For example, we were afraid that without flower decorations, the gala dinner might not look good. But happily, SCG Paper provided a solution by decorating the table in a carbon-neutral manner” with paper bouquets, said Kobkarn.
Prasertsuk Patoonsittichai, former executive director of Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organisation, added that the host committee was considering buying carbon credits from Mitr Phol, a leading Thai agricultural conglomerate.
“With every delegate getting involved in reducing their carbon footprint, we are creating a mass awareness at the global level. This is women’s power to change the world,” said Prasertsuk.