UNGC and GCNT bring together business leaders from across Southeast Asia

Global Compact Network Thailand (GCNT) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) and the United Nations Country Team in Thailand have come together to organize important discussions between sustainable development leaders across Southeast Asia at the 2022 UNGC Leaders Summit, attended by over 10,000 multi-sector partners from around the world.

The Global Compact Network Thailand Association (GCNT), in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Country Team in Thailand, co-organized the “2022 UNGC Leaders Summit: Sustainability in ASEAN”. to drive sustainability on the global stage, driven by sustainability leaders from business, civil society, government and Global Compact local networks in Thailand, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei .

This year’s #LeadersSummit inspired and catalyzed local and regional solutions to advance policies that not only boost economic growth, but accelerate progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement in the region. ASEAN with live broadcasts from Thailand touring the world for over 10,000 attendees.

“The ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN), made up of private sector representatives from the Asia-Pacific region, has adopted the Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business Reporting as a roadmap for businesses to take the lead. ‘climate action initiative,’ observed the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), HE Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana in his remarks opening. “Through this Green Deal, ESBN will lead private sector sustainability efforts to accelerate a green transformation in the region.”

Sanda Ojiambo, Under-Secretary-General and Managing Director of the UN Global Compact, spoke about current challenges. “Today, the world is still struggling to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic – a battle that will only be won when vaccines reach everyone and address disruptions in the global economy,” he said. “Earlier this year, the IPCC released its grimmest report to date, warning that time is running out on our side to prevent a climate catastrophe. And in addition to these disasters, the war in Ukraine poses a direct and persistent systemic threat to global security on three fronts: food, energy and human. At times like these, businesses are called upon to act. But there are reasons to be optimistic: we see companies taking action, providing solutions, forming coalitions of the willing. Nevertheless, much remains to be done, particularly in terms of mobilizing the financing and investments needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Mr. Noppadol Dej-Udom, Chief Sustainability Officer of Charoen Pokphand Group and Secretary General of Global Compact Network Thailand, announced that “The United Nations Global Compact was created to harness corporate power as a force for good. It began with the recognition that corporations have contributed significantly to creating and intensifying most of the world’s major problems: climate change, biodiversity loss, air and water pollution, inequality and rights violations. of man.”

“At the same time,” he continued, “companies have the resources and capabilities to help solve these problems. As business leaders, we must take responsibility not only to address our own negative impacts on the environment and society, or the ‘do no harm’ approach, but also to go further by using our energy and expertise to actively help solve these problems. »

Ms. Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, Secretary General of the Security and Exchange Commission Thailand, said: “As the regulator of the Thai capital market, the SEC is committed to promoting the development of a sustainable investment climate and a responsible investment in line with the United Nations SDGs. In doing so, we aim to improve competitiveness, ensure inclusiveness and build confidence in the Thai capital market. We also seek to increase awareness and sense of ownership of the SDGs with support from government, business and international organizations. We are making every effort to make the capital market a key driver for the restructuring and digitalization of the Thai economy. We believe that our continued efforts will help the economy adapt to the changing landscape and gain recognition on the international stage.

The meeting began with the session on SDG ambitions, which discussed the importance and value of defining and integrating the SDGs into supply chain operations. Especially over the past two years, due to the coronavirus situation, plans to achieve net zero carbon emissions have required technology, investment, collaboration and commitment from senior management. In other words, the cost of doing nothing. The value exceeds the adjustment required to meet the specific problems of each industry.

Gloyta Nathalang, Executive Vice President of Bangchak Corporation Public Company Limited, told the meeting that “one of the Thai business leaders who shared his vision and goals for the organization in this session said that It was a great opportunity to exchange experiences and learn more about the Sustainable Development Goals from business leaders from other countries in the ASEAN region. Everyone agreed that there needs to be have clear and achievable objectives and that the importance must be understood at all levels, directors, executives, employees and stakeholders of the company The UNGC has the SDG Ambition Guide and the SDG Tools which facilitate the definition of clear targets and tracking. In addition, cooperation with various partners is important. For example, Bangchak Group has set targets of carbon neutrality in 2030 and net zero in 2050 which it is not able to achieve. ‘achieve by itself. Therefore, the principle of “leading inclusively” is applied to all stakeholders to achieve goals together. »

The next session focused on ASEAN SMEs. Here, SME leaders discussed integrating sustainability into SME operations so they can help achieve the Sustainable Development Goals and unlock market opportunities. It starts with understanding and motivational benefits and continues with improved knowledge and real-world examples such as using customer pain points as insights to develop possible solutions to reach the next generation. Finally, there must be a network or ecosystem, which will allow for easy knowledge exchange and cooperation leading to new business opportunities and sustainable growth.

The afternoon session began with three key sustainability agendas: the climate emergency, biodiversity and social development. Discussions have begun to look at how companies are dealing with climate change and biodiversity conservation as two sides of the same coin. It was noted that it is important that crises are dealt with in an integrated manner. The meeting ended with a focus on the issue of social sustainability. Here, discussions focused on social investment trends that will see companies increase their investment and commitment to social sustainability issues like never before, in the process of building thriving communities and ecosystems.

Mr. Peerapong Krinchai, Executive Vice President, Corporate Engineering, CPF Thailand, said, “CPF is moving towards cost-effective rotation of natural resources throughout the value chain and zero greenhouse gas emissions. To do this, we are developing standards for the sustainable sourcing of raw materials throughout the supply chain. We have set ourselves the goal that by 2030, the supply of 100% of the main agricultural raw materials will be traceable and come from areas without deforestation or degradation of biodiversity. Additionally, CPF has upgraded its data management to connect to the manufacturing process with blockchain technology to make traceability faster and more accurate.

Ms. Gita Sabharwal, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Thailand, closed the meeting by saying, “The private sector will play an important role in supporting the country’s climate change aspirations and promoting biodiversity over the next five years. coming years under the United Nations Sustainable Development Cooperation Framework (UNSDCF).”

Taken as a whole, the UNGC 2022 Leaders’ Summit: Sustainability in ASEAN highlighted the region’s role as a torchbearer for “building back better, together” across Asia-Pacific.

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