Highlights: • GCNT Forum 2021: Thailand’s Climate Leadership Summit 2021 on the theme of “A New Era of Accelerated Actions” is the country’s first leadership summit on solutions to climate change. The event welcomed more than 800 participants from the public and private sectors, civil society, and the United Nations in Thailand. • Exploring five solutions from five leadership discussion panels, including a situational analysis on climate change in Thailand, solutions for the business sector, roles of the financial and investment sector, roles of innovation and technology, and key takeaways for the next step towards “A New Era of Accelerated Actions”.
On 19 October 2021, the Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT), together with the United Nations, organised the GCNT Forum 2021: Thailand’s Climate Leadership Summit 2021 on the theme of “A New Era of Accelerated Actions.” In the morning session, member organisations made a commitment to “prevent and solve problems of climate change” with the goal of achieving Net Zero by 2050 or at the latest by 2070. This was the first time in Thailand that the GCNT member organisations and businesses of all sizes joined hands to address the critical and urgent global sustainability issues, including the global warming crisis, which are part of the Sustainable Development Goals. Through this commitment, the GCNT members, consisting of leaders in Thailand’s private sector, demonstrated their power as change-makers on national and global scales.
Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, President of Thai Beverages PCL., a GCNT member organisation, said that the business development of ThaiBev and its PASSION 2025 vision for the first half of the next decade were based on the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, and inspired by his first royal pledge to continue, protect and build on the benefits and happiness of the people. The company was committed to building talents and striving for excellence and sustainability in order to “create and share prosperity” with stakeholders throughout the value chain. Another focus area of ThaiBev was environmental and social responsibility policies, particularly on the global challenge of climate change. ThaiBev invested in renewable energy and took part in raising the standard of living and income of local people. With the obligations as a member of the GCNT, ThaiBev worked with a network of leading business partners in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and was geared up to expand this cooperation to advance SDG 17 “Partnerships for the Goals.” In another effort to this end, ThaiBev also co-founded the Thailand Supply Chain Network (TSCN) to assist SMEs.
In addition to the pledge given by the GCNT members, five solution-oriented sub-forums were held where the GCNT members, the Government of Thailand, civil society and the United Nations had opportunities to exchange ideas, visions and experiences on mitigating and preventing the problems of climate change, and together find solutions. The five sub-forums were: (1) Thailand’s climate change situation assessment; (2) tailor-made climate change battle plans for business groups comprising the food & agriculture, energy and general industries; (3) the roles of the financial and investment sector; (4) the roles of innovation and technology in alleviating climate change; and (5) conclusion and next steps.
Sub-forum 1: Thailand’s climate change situation assessment
The representatives from Thailand Environment Institute (TEI), Thailand Greenhouse Gas Management Organization (TGO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) discussed Thailand’s policy advocacy on climate change, the country’s situation, and where it had reached on the way to the Paris Agreement. To achieve Net-Zero Thailand, the country must reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in the energy sector, maintain a safe level of GHG emissions in the industrial and agricultural sectors, and expand forest coverage and green spaces to strike a balance between the emission, reabsorption and storage of carbon. While many players in the private sector are initiating reforestation programmes, the Government is currently taking measures to promote investment in technologies, the use of electric vehicles, renewable energy and energy efficiency, low-carbon industries, wastewater/waste management, and methane reduction in the agricultural sector. These measures will lay the groundwork for the BCG economy inspired by the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Thailand has to seize the opportunity now to move towards to a carbon-free economy and achieve the SDGs. It is crucial to leverage and optimise the country’s resources and strengths, such as food security and biodiversity, in order to create growth, distribute income, and create sustainability for nature and the environment.
Sub-forum 2: Tailor-made climate change battle plans for business groups
The second sub-forum was an exchange between three business groups facing the challenge of climate change. In a case where the climate problem escalates, they would be the hardest hit, but at the same time, these business groups – food & agriculture, energy, and general industries – could be change-makers and leaders in climate change solutions. The food business, represented by panellists from Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL., NR Instant Produce PCL., Thai Wah PCL., and Thai Rice NAMA, pointed out that food and agricultural businesses must reduce their carbon emissions and increase the carbon reabsorption to reduce the environmental impact from their production. A great emphasis must be placed on waste and wastewater treatment, use of renewable energy, such as solar energy and biomass, and the practice must be extended throughout the entire value chain. Finally, it is essential to increase green spaces and forests to absorb carbon dioxide.
The energy group comprised representatives from PTT PCL., the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), BCPG PCL, and Impact Electrons Siam Co., Ltd. The effort by the energy sector to reduce GHG emissions, in addition to investing in renewable energy projects, optimising energy-efficiency in the production process, and developing energy storage systems, must include the development of an ecosystem that allows people to access clean energy, promote energy production on a household scale, create engagement and ownership by the people, and transform them from energy consumers to energy prosumers. Building a network and a knowledge exchange platform, clean energy development mechanisms, and a system for monitoring, education engagement is indispensable. Improved data collection tools are needed to facilitate decision-making, and to educate and communicate with the public.
The panellists in the general industries group were from the Siam Cement PCL., Singha Estate PCL., Siam Makro PCL., and the Research & Innovation for Sustainability Center (RISC). The discussion mentioned the circular economy as the overarching strategy to solve the climate crisis. Since we are left with limited resources, they must be utilised as efficiently as possible, from upstream to downstream. A balance between “financial cost” and “environmental loss” must be maintained from investment to design and business operation throughout the supply chain. It is imperative to create awareness and cooperate with all stakeholders. The mantra of business operators in this era is ‘Sustainability, Resilience, and Competitiveness.’ From now on, climate risk assessment will become a key factor in investment decision.
Thitima Rungkwansirirot, CEO of Singha Estate PCL., one of the panellists in the forum, said: “The climate crisis is inevitable and it is happening now. We must manage this crisis as best as we can in order to minimise the potential damage. We must admit that we have been wasting too much time, but it’s never too late. This is a very challenging mission that we must tackle together.”
Sub-forum 3: Roles of the financial and investment sector in climate change prevention
The representatives from HSBC Thailand, UNEP FI, and UNDP Thailand participated in the fourth panel discussion on the roles of the financial and investment sector. According to UNDP, the financial sector in Thailand has been taking accelerated actions in response to the global warming crisis; in particular, the Government of Thailand is developing financial instruments for sustainability with various agencies. However, this mission needs cooperation from all sectors because financial institutions cannot operate alone to bring about the expected results at global scale. Banks in different countries were mentioned as examples of how to apply to their operations the “principles for responsible banking” (PRB) which centres on impact management – reducing negative impacts and increasing positive ones. For example, the positive effect of an agricultural loan measure is higher income for farmers but it can have negative impacts on the environment. These pros and cons must be carefully weighed and calculated in the face of the ever-changing economic landscape. Currently, UNEP FI is working with the Bank of Thailand to implement the green financing measure, and expects to have a complete result in 2050 and some outcomes by 2030. This policy will focus on engaging customers with a high level of GHG emissions, mainly in the oil and gas sector, in the mission to reach Net Zero.
Mr. Giorgio Gamba, CEO of HSBC Thailand said: “HSBC is committed to being a sustainable and socially responsible financial service provider with a wide range of financial products, including green bonds, green loans, sustainability-linked bonds/loans and green deposits, to support projects that work towards reversing the effects of global warming.”
Sub-forum 4: Roles of innovation and technology in solving climate change problems
The representatives from Charoen Pokphand Group Co. Ltd., PTT Exploration and Production PCL, Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co., Ltd., Siam Cement PCL, and UNIDO discussed the role of innovation and technology in solving global warming problems. All agreed that digital transformation in the Fourth Industrial Revolution would boost innovations that help to cut GHG emissions at all stages of production and consumption. In order to do so, the Government of Thailand, guided by good governance, must install innovative systems, policies and investment plans, and ensure inclusive access to innovation in order to foster truly open communication and collective action. An enterprise-level adoption of innovation and technology should begin with an analysis of each organisation’s value chain to determine the volume of GHGs released and identify sources of pollution at every stage of the business. Only after this can an enterprise plan, develop and prioritise areas of improvement and listen to stakeholders. Organisations may also start to obtain the data needed for achieving the Net Zero goal from personnel capacity development and science-based research and development. It is important to earn commitments from executives and employees to build a strong platform of exchange, innovation and technology.
Yuttana Jiamtragan, Vice-President, Corporate Administration, Siam Cement Public Co. Ltd., stated that, “A great challenge to Net Zero is speed. We have to work against the clock to invent technologies and innovations that are practical and which arrive in time to fix the problems. We need commitment from organisations and we ask them to cultivate a corporate culture of learning and doing.”
Abel Deng, CEO, Huawei Technologies (Thailand), emphasised that “digital power technology is going to take a central role in the energy transition to reduce GHG emissions.”
Sub-forum 5: Conclusion and next steps to real transformation
The GCNT, BRANDi Corporation Co., Ltd., and the Center for SDG Research and Support (SDG Move) shared their views, observations, solutions and interesting suggestions in the fifth sub-forum. The three organisations agreed that the private sector should be looking to strike a balance between the 3Ps (Profits, People, Planet) to create growth, reduce risks, and head toward sustainability. The climate change problem is not necessarily a burden for the private sector; it is also a business opportunity for the private sector to demonstrate its problem-solving capacity as well as create quality markets and consumers who are ready to build sustainable growth and prevent the climate problems from escalating. Companies must seek to transform and replace their non-ecofriendly elements in order to become regenerative businesses. Integral to the success of policy implementation and organisational transformation are (a) an appropriate ecosystem, (b) a reliable financial mechanism, (c) an environmental assessment review that is credible and cost-effective, and (d) conditions, rules and incentives, such as fiscal measures and knowledge mechanisms, to build awareness of sustainable development, climate change and the circular economy among their personnel. This is the path to a real and sustainable change through accelerated actions.
GCNT Forum 2021: Thailand’s Climate Leadership Summit 2021, on the theme “A New Era of Accelerated Actions”, was a 100 per cent online discussion in a sustainable event format, and in line with the guidelines of the Thailand Convention and Exhibition Bureau (TCEB). More than 800 national representatives from various organisations in many countries attended the event, including representatives of international organisations including the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, United Nations Environment Programme and United Nations Development Programme, as well as representatives of the United Nations Global Compact, government leaders, executives of the Securities and Exchange Commission of Thailand (SEC) and the Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET), civil society, and the private sector.
Leading business organisations participating in this event included Charoen Pokphand Group Co. Ltd., Thai Beverage PCL., Charoen Pokphand Foods PCL., CP All PCL., HSBC Bank, Huawei Technologies (Thailand) Co. Ltd., NR Instant Produce PCL., True Corporation PCL., Bangchak Corporation PCL., BCPG PCL., Charoen Pokphand Produces Co. Ltd., CP Intertrade Co. Ltd., Ek-Chai Distribution (Lotus) Co. Ltd., IRPC PCL., Oaklin (Thailand) Co. Ltd., Pranda Jewelry PCL., PTT Exploration and Petroleum Production PCL., PTT Global Chemical PCL., PTT PCL., Siam Makro PCL., Thai Oil PCL., and Krung Thai Bank Co. Ltd. These leaders joined forces with the Global Compact Network of Thailand, the country’s largest sustainability business network, to accelerate actions in reducing the impact of climate change.Internet Explorer Channel Network