Firms told to champion sustainable growth Local economy 'must be considered'

firms told to champion sustainable growth  local economy 'must be considered'

Sirikul Laopaikul, director of the Phor Laew Dee the Creator project, centre; stands next to Thapana Sirivadhanabhakdi, CEO of ThaiBev, fifth from right; and Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of the board at Kasikornbank, fourth from right; and young entrepreneurs on stage at the at the Sustainability Expo 2022 yesterday.  Varuth Hirunyatheb

Sustainable growth, rather than maximum profit, should be the bottom line of businesses, according to Kobkarn Wattanavrangkul, chairwoman of the board at Kasikornbank (KBank).

Speaking at the “Thurakij Kao Phordee” forum, held by the Thai Chamber of Commerce (TCC), on the sidelines of the Sustainability Expo 2022 at the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center yesterday, she said a sustainability-based approach should be a core direction in doing business.

She said businesses should be inclusive and take all stakeholders, including those involved in the local economy, into consideration. Sustainability allows the country to be resilient and successful in any crisis, she said.

Ms Kobkarn, who is also vice chair of the TCC, said the sufficiency economy principle of the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great is strictly adhered to by the TCC.

His economic philosophy is the principle the TCC stands by because it recognises values that should be passed down to the next generation to bring long-term development and sustainability to the country, she said.

Sirikul Laopaikul, director of Phor Laew Dee the Creator project, said the sufficiency economy principle can be applied to every aspect of life, including business.

The Phor Laew Dee the Creator project was set up to promote a sufficiency economy and the creativity to build new generations of entrepreneurs with goals beyond business growth.

According to Ms Sirikul, these entrepreneurs, who range from cafe owners to fashion designers, learn a lot about phor, or sustainable balance, which allows them to extend a helping hand to others.

Manoon Thanawang, owner of the Cocoa Valley Resort in Nan province’s Pua district, said his company has engaged the local community at every stage, from production to processing, and business is conducted through benefit-sharing.

According to Mr Manoon, this means that local farmers are encouraged to grow plants and outputs are purchased at the highest possible price.

It also means elderly workers are hired to separate bean husks from the nib as part of efforts to be less dependent on machines, he said.

His cocoa business has also become a tourist attraction in the province, generating income for the local community.

Kanchana Shnatepaporn, founder of textile company BWILD Isan, said the business, which relies on hand-made goods, has brought together skilled designers left jobless during the Covid-19 pandemic.

She said she is proud of the business for using a wide range of local materials and recycled fibres, adding that local craftsmanship has won international recognition.

The forum also introduced members of the Young Entrepreneurs Chamber of Commerce, who have reportedly worked closely with local communities to develop sustainable businesses.