The Sustainability Expo 2023 (SX2023) has served as a beacon, enlightening participants about the critical link between sustainability and prosperous supply chain networks. The much-anticipated Thailand Supply Chain Network (TSCN) Business Partners Conference, colloquially known as the TSCN CEO Panel, was a highlight of the Expo, taking place at the prestigious Queen Sirikit National Convention Center.
An engaging and pertinent discussion took center stage about the essential implementation of sustainable practices for long-term business sustenance. The conference featured industry titans, including Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, the CEO of Thai Beverage Plc, Roongrote Rangsiyopash, the CEO of Siam Cement Group, and Suphachai Chearavanont, the CEO of Charoen Pokphand Group.
Rangsiyopash addressed the volatile rise in energy costs precipitated by the current war situation in Ukraine, a harsh reality despite the world slowly recovering from the pandemic. This instability has led to a sharp increase in food prices, and significant inflation, compelling numerous countries to investigate renewable energy possibilities. Solar cells, in particular, have emerged as a viable alternative to mitigate reliance on petroleum oil and gas.
Chearavanont drew attention to the increasing number of businesses making smart investments in sustainability and integrating carbon credits into their business expenditure. The Charoen Pokphand Group, as an example, has ambitiously targeted to curtail seven million tonnes of carbon emissions per year. With the inclusion of all their suppliers, the Group faces the uphill task of managing 70 million tonnes of yearly carbon emissions, as reported by the Bangkok Post.
Highlighting the critical role of government intervention, Chearavanont stressed that small and medium-sized businesses must receive ample support to expedite their transition to green energy. He pointed out that Thailand’s progress was slow, achieving only about 12% of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) since its agreement to lower carbon emissions. Considering this sluggish pace, without implementing policies to ignite at least a 4% annual decrease in carbon emissions, the government may find itself shelling out 2 billion baht (US$54,141,860) by 2030 to purchase carbon credits.
Sirivadhanabhakdi of ThaiBev reflected on how sustainability has now become a global vogue, especially among the younger generation. He mused, “Large enterprises play a paramount role in pioneering sustainable development, while countless entrepreneurs serve as puzzle pieces, solidifying the concept of sustainability in society, before disseminating the model on regional and global platforms.”
According to Sirivadhanabhakdi, it’s crucial for businesses, regardless of their scale, to adapt to the burgeoning trend of embedding sustainable principles within their operations. Implementing such eco-friendly strategies will positively influence the entire supply chain, sparking innovative solutions rooted in sustainability.
As the panel discussion drew to a close, the leaders agreed that businesses that manage to meet market demands without compromising on environmental concerns will lead the future. Rangsiyopash echoed this sentiment, suggesting that business owners should take a leaf out of the books of companies that have successfully invested in the ethos of sustainability, particularly since numerous countries have already rolled out policies designed to tackle environmental challenges.
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