UNLOCKING IMPACT: The Sustainability Expo 2023

02 Nov 2023
by Pariwat “Pipe” Bunwilai – SasinSEC This year’s Sustainability Expo, now in its fourth year as the foremost sustainability event in the ASEAN region. The theme for this October event was “Sufficiency for Sustainability.” Through a series of impactful seminars, displays, and presentations, the Expo objective was to motivate attendees to cultivate sustainable practices and knowledge. Sub-titled “Good Balance, Better World,” this year’s event sought to inspire participants to dive into sustainable practices rooted in the philosophy of the sufficiency economy. The venue was the Queen Sirikit National Convention Center. On 7 October our Sasin team and several associates joined a live seminar led by SasinSEC’s GJ van der Zanden, Professor and Senior Advisor Sustainability & Transformational Leadership. GJ gave an introductory glimpse of what it means for us to be ‘unlocking impact.’ He then introduced Vasu Srivibha, Sasin’s Chief Impact Officer and Head of Accreditation (among other roles) and a colleague, Sukich Udindu, Daily News Sustainability Columnist, to the stage. The two men paired up to give a talk on UNLOCKING IMPACT: SUFFICIENCY ACCELERATING SDGS, emphasizing the climate challenge and calling for adaptation and change on many levels. The presenters spoke on global sustainability trends as well as Thailand’s unique approach to sustainability based on King Rama 9’s Sufficiency Economy Philosophy. Next, Dr. Vasimon Ruanglek shared insights gained from Siam Cement Group’s sustainability journey. It proved to be a fascinating picture of how the company embraces sustainability, using the iconic ‘Tom Yum Goong’ dish as a metaphor. He listed practical tips for businesses looking to make positive impact. Khun Lakhana Saengbungkho, CEO of Bananaland, followed. She introduced the realm of quality handcrafted products. Grounded in principles inspired by King Rama 9, she shed light on how traditional concepts seamlessly integrate with modern sustainability practices. Thammasat University’s Assistant Professor Chol Bunnag from the Centre for SDG Research and Support explored sufficiency thinking. The professor emphasized the alignment of knowledge with morals, resilience, and reasonableness. He outlined the goals of the Sufficiency Agriculture Project (SAP) in balancing ESG considerations, stressing the importance of melding sufficiency economy principles with global norms. Steve Young, Global Executive Director of Caux Round Table, enumerated the skills required of a ‘Sufficiency Leader.’ Recognizing Thailand’s progress in ESG, he described how aspects of Buddhist philosophy, particularly the concept of the Middle Way, can help draw the world’s attention to the sufficiency economy concept. Steve drew attention to the need for effective communication and urged a reevaluation of terminologies to better resonate with a global audience. Discussions such as these, and events like the annual Sustainability Expo, can help inspire and encourage us to incorporate sustainability precepts into our lives and our work.
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