At a riveting event, the “CEO Panel: Adaptation for Sustainable Survival”, several leaders came together to share insights on sustainability and the global mega-trend that is centers on it. The illuminating conversation is part and parcel of the Thailand Supply Chain Network’s initiative to foster understanding about the paramount importance of sustainable practices.
The panel comprised industry heavyweights such as Roongrote Rangsiyopash – CEO of Siam Cement Group, Supachai Jiarawanon – CEO of CP Group, and Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi – CEO of ThaiBev.
During the spirited discussion, the three business leaders concurred that empowering the younger generation is crucial to hastening the integration of sustainable principles into everyday practices. The CEOs were united in the understanding that there are indeed no shortcuts to sustainability. However, imparting leadership skills to the younger generation could potentially fast-track the transition towards a more sustainable future.
Supachai proposed a shift in the mode of learning from a knowledge-based to a project-based model. This transition would enable youngsters to identify pertinent problems, brainstorm solutions, and collaboratively work on action plans. As part of this proposed pedagogical shift, lessons on sustainability would be woven into the fabric of the curriculum, enabling young learners to develop a communal sensibility and a spirit of empathy.
Agreeing with Supachai, Roongrote expressed the need for executives to take on a mentoring role rather than a commanding one. Instead of ordering from the top, he suggested that leaders should assist the new generation in balancing various aspects of business such as finances, environmental impact, and technology, thereby encouraging a harmonious, healthy workspace.
Thapana brought to light the significant role of the younger generation in fortifying Thailand’s competitiveness in the marketplace. In an age where innovation becomes the norm, companies must reorganize their internal structures to encourage fresh perspectives. Opportunities should be provided to young talent to push their boundaries and continually explore arenas of the industry.
When discussing the various aspects of sustainability, the CEOs stressed the critical role of government intervention. Roongrote mentioned the U.S.’s Inflation Reduction Act as a prime example of successful government participation. By selectively providing incentives such as tax exemptions, the U.S. Government has stimulated investments in green businesses. Roongrote is optimistic that such methods will encourage a move from fossil fuels to renewable energy sources in the United States over the course of the next decade.
Weighing in on the topic, Supachai pointed out that the progress made on the UN Sustainable Development Goals is rather slow-moving. Considering the approaching deadline in 2030, he emphasized the importance of innovations as the solution to achieving sustainability targets. Innovations, he pointed out, need a sense of urgency, clear objectives, and unified inspiration to truly surge and contribute to sustainability efforts.
To underline the role of innovation, he imagined an agriculturalist inventing a new carbon-absorbing sowing process as a replacement for the traditionally carbon-emitting method. Such a transformation can be spurred on with the right motivation, objectives, and external support.
Lastly, Thapana offered three words – run, hide, fight – encapsulating his strategy for sustainable survival. He conveyed ‘run’ as understanding global trends and being agile in face of changes, ‘hide’ as remaining patient to carefully assess situations and ‘fight’ as the adaptation and action towards sustainability. It is through a combined effort and partnership that the move towards sustainability can be successful, Thapana concluded.