Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), a local network of UN Global Compact in New York, co-hosted UN Global Compact Virtual Leaders Summit 2021. This year CEOs of three leading Thai business organizations reflected on Thailand's sustainability leadership and global transformation. Global warming was on the top of their agenda. The year 2021 is an important moment to drive the world towards net zero goal in support of the Paris Agreement, which aims to limit the rise of the world's average temperature within 1.5 degrees celsius. In addition, the key messages shared by the top Thai CEOs are in line with the main objectives of GCNT, which aims to be the sustainability network working with key stakeholders to change the world during “A New Era of Action” as declared by the United Nations.
Ms. Thanyaporn Krichtitayawuth, Executive Director, Global Compact Network Thailand, said that Thailand has been honored for the second year by the UN Global Compact to co-host a global panel discussion with leading CEOs of Thai businesses. They have participated in 3 key sessions. Starting from the opening plenary of the Summit, Mr. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of Charoen Pokphand Group (C.P. Group) and Chairperson of Global Compact Network Thailand joined the high-level discussion, "Light the Way to Glasgow and Net-Zero: Credible Climate Action for a 1.5°C World." Mr. Dan Pathomvanich, CEO of NR Instant Produce Public Company Limited, participated in the discussion, “A New Era of Action, Accelerate Climate Action: Raising Business Pathway to Decarbonization ” to combat climate change and add business solutions to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Mr. Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Public Company Limited, participated in a plenary discussion on, “SDG Ambition: Mobilizing Ambition for Corporate Actions Towards the Global Goals.” The three leading Thai organizations reflected on the potential of the Thai business sector to make a difference in terms of sustainability on a global scale. They are an example of business organizations adopting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), have a clear and concrete plan, especially on climate change, with measurableoutcomes.
Mr. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of C.P. Group and Chairperson of Global Compact Network Thailand said that to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we must start by raising awareness of the current unsustainable consumption patterns such as the long-standing overconsumption of natural resources, resulting in global warming. Being in the agri-food and retail businesses, C.P. Group works with more than 100,000 stakeholders and partners to manage our supply chain. Most importantly, we raise awareness of our more than 400,000 employees to pursue the same objective in sustainable business practices.
Over the next ten years, C.P. Group will draw from renewable energy for our 1,600 MegaWatts of energy need. At the same time, the Group aims to drive waste disposal, especially the food waste, in the entire process to zero.
He also urged all stock exchanges and the governments throughout the world to require all companies to report on their progress towards zero emissions. Such reports will help make the net zero by 2050 goal obtainable and tangible when the entire private sector races towards the same goal. Moreover, he stressed the importance of upgrading our educational system to include not only lessons on digital technology but also sustainability as part of the curriculum.
Mr. Dan Pathomvanich, CEO of NR Instant Produce Public Company Limited noted that NRF aimed to turn the world into carbon-free through changes in the food system. NRF aspires to become the world's largest producer of plant-based protein and food. The company is going to build the world’s largest production network. From international brands, the network connects to start-ups, to supermarkets, to sustainable transition to low-carbon food production. The NRF's priority is to manage its supply chain by conveying a clear policy from the CEO to the middle management and even the workers at the sourcing office. This will help ensure that the products’ quality meet the company’s standards.
He also pointed out the main challenge in the food business: Transition from agricultural production based on chemicals to non-chemical and bio-farming. Doing so will reduce the emissions of greenhouse gas in itself.
"COVID-19 has transformed the supply chain. Everyone wants to be healthy. Everyone wants clean food and wants it "NOW." To fulfill people’s needs will drive the sector to overhaul its business plan towards sustainability and transform companies to become those of the 22nd century," Mr. Dan said.
Mr. Ho Ren Hua, CEO of Thai Wah Public Company Limited, said that sustainability is part of Thai Wah's core vision and its strategy on “Developing innovation and sustainability from farm to shelf.” The implementation of its strategy with all stakeholders throughout the value chain fits under 4 pillars: Farm, Factory, Family, and Food.
Thai Wah is about to launch a new product this year: innovative and eco-friendly packaging. It is made of biodegradable plastic from tapioca starch, which, in addition to being 100% biodegradable, non-toxic and harmless, can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Thai Wah will be Thailand's first pioneer of tapioca biodegradable plastic and aims to become one of the leading regional bioplastic manufacturers as part of its organization's long-term reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. The company currently reviews the organization's emissions report, which is expected to be completed by the second half of this year.
Thai Wah works with various partners, from research institutions, leading universities, and startups to develop prototypes of products that cater to customers as well as create economic values to society and the environment. "Sustainability cannot be created by one person but must be done through collaboration of all parties, both inside and outside the organization. Such collaboration will contribute towards innovation in no time, and of course, it is much better than working alone." Mr. Ho Ren Hwa concluded.
Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO), a public organization under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, is responsible for supporting the reduction efforts of greenhouse gas emissions in Thailand. According to Mr. Kiatchai Maitriwong, Executive Director of TGO who also participated in the Leaders Summit, the TGO data indicated that companies in Thailand even further reduced their emissions to help alleviate climate change despite the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2020, 193 companies received carbon footprint certifications. Many companies have also undertaken projects to compensate for their carbon emissions. TGO collaborates with GCNT in technical areas to help companies set goals, audit and certify their emission reductions based on international standards.
Ms. Thanyaporn concluded, "Global Compact Network Thailand, in line with the UN Global Compact in New York, strongly encourages Thai businesses to seriously consider setting significant and measurable scientific targets in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. We all should take this as a new business opportunity. Global Compact Network Thailand will support Thai businesses in their efforts while driving the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”
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