Top Thai execs discuss sustainability and path to achieving net zero
As the planet struggles with warming temperatures and climate change, the concept of sustainability is fast becoming a keyword in most industries.
“We can never stop, sustainability is a marathon with no finish line,” said Gwenaelle Avice-Huet, chief strategy and sustainability officer at Schneider Electric.
She was speaking at the “Sustainability Talk” jointly hosted on Monday by Bangkok Biz News and Schneider Electric.
The event, held at Sindhorn Kempinski Hotel Bangkok, was attended by more than 20 CEOs and executives.
Schneider Electric is a French multinational that specialises in the digital transformation of energy management and automation.
“We need to continue investing in new ideas. With today’s technology, everything is in front of us,” she said.
Stephane Nuss, Schneider Electric’s CEO for Thailand, Myanmar and Laos, opened the event by saying: “Sustainability is our DNA and is at the core of everything that we do, but we can't win the fight against climate change alone, the only way is for all sectors to do it together.”
In his speech, Nuss highlighted the need for industries to immediately start transforming production processes to meet the sustainability and decarbonisation agenda.
Companies have been making bold commitments, but as of March, fewer than 200 firms across the world have declared net-zero targets that are validated by the Science Based Target initiative, Avice-Huet said.
“The concrete solutions that we have can make a meaningful impact. Our mission is in engaging in a never-ending pursuit to be an impactful company,” she said.
Schneider Electric has committed itself to a net-zero goal and a 90% greenhouse gas reduction in its entire value chain by 2050.
“When it comes to supplier engagement, they don’t know what to do or where to start. It’s important to train people before we tell them of the available sustainable solutions” Avice-Huet said.
Other panellists also shared their experiences and thoughts on achieving sustainable goals in Thailand.
Jirayut Srupsrisopa, founder and group chief executive officer of Bitkub, read out a paragraph from Bill Gates’ book “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster”: “To cut back won’t be enough reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to sufficiently rein in climate change. The only solution is in innovating better and cheaper alternatives to accomplish the goal.”
Jirayut added: “The hardly noticeable drop in emissions during the pandemic proved that we cannot get to zero emissions by consuming, driving or flying less.”
Gloyta Nathalang, executive vice president of petroleum and energy conglomerate Bangchak, is hopeful that the younger generation can implement changes in Thailand.
“We need to bring all sectors together. Incentive from the government is important and maybe aid from other nations,” she said. “We also need to educate and create awareness at the very foundation.”
In response to Nuss’s question on when we should move into sustainability, she said: “It’s not now or tomorrow, it should have been yesterday.”
Samatcha Promsiri, chief of staff at real-estate developer Sansiri agreed, saying that the government needs to launch measures to motivate the people.
“With the election campaigns kicking off, I see no parties talk about what action they plan to take to fight climate change and promote sustainability,” he said.
Amorn Sapthaweekul, deputy chief executive officer of Energy Absolute, and Pakkapol Leopairut, executive vice president of TPI Polene Power, were not as hopeful.
“There may be some flickering lights here and there, but I don’t see a light at the end of the tunnel for Thailand yet,” Pakkapol said.
“It’s difficult to get everyone on the same page, especially people who can’t afford such technologies. We will need to combine the industries together,” Amorn said.
“Yes there are challenges, but it’s a beautiful one to help the younger generation have a good future at one point. We should combine all our energy into achieving the goal together,” Nuss said. “Believe me, in five years, the entire life cycle is going to be profitable.”
“We received the best innovative company award at SET Awards 2022 for our Peer-to-Peer Energy Trading Platform,” said Jareeporn Jarukornsakul, chairwoman of the executive committee and group CEO of WHA corporation.
“Many companies want to achieve their carbon net zero by 2050, but as for carbon neutral, we have achieved it since 2019 and we used a lot of products from Scheiner Electric as well,” she said.
Shine Bunnag, CEO of Nation Group, wrapped up the forum by saying: “We believe success in business isn’t about maximising profit, but having the responsibility to create a healthy industry.”
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