Sustainability for Business

GLOBAL VILLAGE

Sustainability for Business

Catherine Vanesse

8 May 2018

Promoting businesses’ commitments in terms of sustainable development and social responsibility are the goals of the second Sustainability for Business Forum, taking place on May 24, 2018, in Bangkok.

Annual event focusing on the issues of sustainable development and corporate social responsibility (CSR) organized by the Multi-Chamber Sustainable Development Committee, the Sustainability for Business Forum includes the Franco-Thai Chamber of Commerce (FTCC) and its Dutch (NTCC), Canadian (CanCham), and Belgian-Luxembourg (Beluthai) counterparts.

Presentations and discussions are scheduled on three themes: the environment, diversity and the hospitality industry. These will be conducted by professionals who have taken initiatives that favor sustainable development within their companies, who have set up CSR policies, or who have even launched innovative products in terms of environmental responsibility.

“The goal of the event is to show professionals who want to change things up, but who don’t always know what to do or how to start off , concrete examples that are simple to reproduce,” explains Henri de Reboul, the co-creator of the Sustainable Development Committee of the FTCC and the CEO of Phitrust Asia.

“For example, systems to purify air in working spaces, or to reduce the consumption of electricity of air conditioners. Another much-discussed topic has to do with diversity in companies, equality between men and women, in addition to the integration of disabled persons, all in order to make Thailand take off more rapidly in these matters, which will create business. Sustainability is a win-win approach that favors not only companies, but also the environment and people,” he adds.

Thailand still ranks quite high in certain fields, for example in terms of the equality between men and women in companies. According to the latest Global Gender Gap Report 2017 (www.weforum.org/reports/theglobal- gender-gap-report-2017), the kingdom ranks 24th out of 144 countries, only considering that women hold 30% of the positions of responsability compared with 20% in the United States or in Great Britain.

As for the inclusion of disabled persons, there is still some work to be done. According to the International Labor Organization, about 3% of the population suffers from disability, and only 35% of those over 15-year-old carry out a professional activity. “Disabled persons are often more motivated and more loyal to a company. They are very happy to be able to work that the companies end up on top. It’s actually a mutually beneficial relationship,” says Henri de Reboul.

In terms of the environment, many actions are possible, if, for example, you consider that certain malls in Bangkok consume more energy than small cities. Still, there are emerging initiatives, and this year, no fewer than 17 Thai companies are listed in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index. They include the Airports of Thailand pcl (AOT), Banpu pcl (BANPU), Charoen Pokphand Foods pcl (CPF), Central Pattana pcl (CPN), IRPC pcl (IRPC), Kasikornbank pcl (KBANK), Minor International pcl (MINT), PTT pcl (PTT), PTT Exploration and Production pcl (PTTEP), PTT Global Chemical pcl (PTTGC), Siam Cement pcl (SCC), Thai Oil pcl (TOP), Thai Union Group pcl (TU), as well as 4 newcomers since 2016: CP All pcl (CPALL), Home Product Center pcl (HMPRO), Indorama Ventures pcl (IVL) and True Corporation pcl (TRUE).

“The forum strives to be a sort of trend-booster and an accelerator for creating markets, making room for those who have already set up initiatives, so they can discuss what can be done in other companies,” says Henri de Reboul, who hopes to attract more than 300 participants this year, and who confirms the presence of several companies such as L’Oréal, Krung Thai-Axa, Saint-Gobain, Engie, Solvay, Amadeus, Schneider Electric, Unilever, Khiri Travel, Ananda, and many other specialized service-providers. Finally, in order to show that they are completely coherent with the objective of May 24, the forum will be taking place on the campus of FYI Ananda, a place dedicated to collaborative work, to sharing and to eco-friendly commitment.

www.connect2sustainability.com