Suphachai urges post-Covid business sustainability
The Covid-19 pandemic is a wake-up call for private sector reform to gear businesses towards sustainability, according to Suphachai Chearavanont, chairman of Global Compact Network Thailand.
Mr Suphachai, who is also CEO of Charoen Pokphand (CP) Group, made the statement during a United Nations online seminar on sustainability held on June 15 and 16.
The webinar was titled "Leaders Summit 2020" and more than 200 figures shared their insights and visions on sustainable development. They also discussed how businesses can recover effectively from the Covid-19 pandemic.
"We need to incorporate [sustainability] changes into our business strategies and enhance our ability to change our operations quickly to respond to the situation," he said, referring to the impact on industries on climate change and pollution.
Mr Suphachai said as a business leader, his top priority during the Covid-19 pandemic has been to protect his workforce, starting with the implementation of a no-layoff policy, re-skilling initiatives and the establishment of new jobs in the tech, health and renewable energy sectors.
He then urged companies to disclose their sustainability efforts via existing frameworks such as the capital markets.
Mr Suphachai noted that the public-private partnership (PPP) mechanism can help "build a better" society after a crisis, like the Covid-19 outbreak, and help reduce socio-economic inequality.
"It is essential to recognise that we cannot achieve economic, social and environmental sustainability alone," he said. "We need to build a network of partners and learn from each other."
"Corporate leaders must work together to catapult changes in society [in their] business processes, products and services, technology and innovation, through concrete and meaningful actions," Mr Suphachai added.
He also recommended the use of new ideas in various industries.
"The true meaning of innovation is not limited to new technologies, but also new ideas and new mindsets," Mr Suphachai said. "The new generation of business leaders must have sustainability in their mindsets to recognise social and environmental values, in addition to [entrepreneurship]."
The summit welcomed over 15,000 participants from 193 countries. Its theme was "Recover Better, Recover Stronger, Recover Together".