Sustainability seen as the key to growth

Sustainability seen as the key to growth

Mr Ng (left) and Mr Dan (right) at the Bangkok Post’s weekly CEO Talk 2021.
Mr Ng (left) and Mr Dan (right) at the Bangkok Post’s weekly CEO Talk 2021.

A sustainable business vision is imperative for the ongoing and future benefits for organisations and society as a whole and it needs collaboration from all stakeholders, ranging from employees to customers, to help achieve the target, according to two leading figures in the logistics and food sectors.

Alex Ng, chief executive of Kerry Express Thailand Plc, and Dan Pathomvanich, chief executive of NR Instant Produce Plc, shared their views at the Bangkok Post's CEO Talk 2021 webinar under the topic of sustainable business vision on Thursday.

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Mr Ng highlighted sustainable business as ongoing and future benefits for organisations as well as the planet.

Although Kerry is still in its early stages in Thailand, the firm needs to have sustainability strategies for the short, medium and long term.

The company, he said, has an in-house sustainability department which plays a key role in educating all the stakeholders inside and outside the organisation -- ranging from shareholders and management to customers and staff -- to realise the importance of the issue.

"No one will be surprised with efforts for sustainability in the organisation, its affiliates and stakeholders that they need to contribute to sustainability," said Mr Ng.

He said no organisation can be certain how much effort it needs to spend on sustainability but they can start to invest in a portion of it, around 5-10% of the annual budget.

Mr Ng indicated that Kerry's R&D team have been dispatched to Japan, South Korea, China, the US and Europe to explore electric vehicles (EVs), which could one day be brought to its delivery fleet.

These EVs could be available in 2-5 years but the company wants them to be brought into its fleet faster he said.

"The important point is to start to take action by pushing ourselves from being carbon positive to carbon neutral," Mr Ng said.

Although there are still limitations in terms of technology or supplies to support sustainability, this should not be an excuse not to start.

Mr Ng said the government can get involved by taking action or making mandates to make the market fair, otherwise those who invest in long-term sustainability could be punished by the market as they spend money more than their competitors.

Kerry is now also pushing for smart deliveries in which the smart routing approach is deployed to reduce fuel and working with suppliers and package makers to reduce waste and make eco-friendly materials for packaging.

Under Kerry, from 2022-23, at least 20% of employees' efforts need to go on sustainability and community in their own way with approval by the head office to validate their contribution to local communities.

According to Mr Ng, technology would accommodate the accuracy and efficiency of delivery services.

Sustainability is NRF's core

Dan Pathomvanich, chief executive of NR Instant Produce Plc (NRF), said NRF is a purpose-driven company and sustainability is the company's core.

"We realised early on that to stand out from competitors, we have to be different. And that to be different and for balance sheet effectiveness we have invested across multiple initiatives, across the 10 UN Sustainable Development Goals. We're committed to being a carbon-negative company and our aim is how to decarbonate the world of food."

NR Instant Produce boasts the first and only privately-owned food facility in Thailand that is carbon neutral. With its strong commitment to the United Nations Global Compact -- the world's largest corporate sustainability initiative -- the company places the planet at the heart of its work by implementing environmentally sustainable practices, initiatives and products that make a difference.

Transforming its supply chain from a model focused on price and speed to one that is centred on partnership, conscientious decision-making and building a better future, NR Instant Produce's vision is to make the industry a green one, ultimately benefiting the entire world.

The firm has a long-term goal to become a producer of "food for the future" with emphasis on innovations that will help create sustainability for the entire food industry ecosystem.

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