13rd September 2019 – The Rights and Liberty Protection Department, Ministry of Justice, Global Compact Network Thailand and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), held the 3rd National Dialogue on Business and Human Rights ‘Sustainable Financing: What Companies Need to Know?’ at the Grand Mercure Bangkok Fortune Hotel. The event was attended byMr. Somsak Thepsuthin, Minister of Justice, who presided over the inauguration ceremony.Mr. Somn Promaros, Director of Rights and Liberty Protection Department, gave a summary report andMr. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of Charoen Pokphand Group as President of Global Compact Network Thailand, gave the welcoming speech. The Dialogue was attended by over 200 state and business representatives.
Mr. Somsak Thepsuthin, Minister of Justice, stated that the focus of the national meeting on business and human rights was on” sustainable financing” which aims to drive the business sector to do responsible business and respect human rights. Based on the win-win principle, environmental, social and governance impacts arising from loans are used to promote sustainable investment and drive the business sector to take into account public interests and other relevant sectors rather than focusing solely on corporate interests. This will be another measure to fulfil and add up to the potential of the business sector to comply with the national business and human rights guidelines, currently under the consideration by the cabinet and expected to be enforced shortly. The meeting was held in coordination with Global Compact Network Thailand to continuously build capacity of the business sector with knowledge of important issues and it received great interest from attendants of all sectors, reflecting growing awareness and importance of the matter.
Mr. Suphachai Chearavanont, CEO of C.P. Group and President of Global Compact Network Thailand, revealed that conducting business under the sustainable finance principles recognizes the trend and importance of measuring business results that aren’t limited to only financial statements but cover the impact of business on the economy, society, environment, governance and human rights. This national conference on ‘Sustainable Financing: What Companies Need to Know?’, is regarded as a good opportunity to promote discussion, exchange of knowledge between businesses that are members of the Global Compact Network Association of Thailand and other business associations such as the CSR Club of the Stock Exchange of Thailand, the Federation of Thai Industries, Board of Trade of Thailand and the Thai Bankers’ Association.
In the meeting, doing business with respect for human rights, one of the delicate subjects, was discussed, covering extensive realms ranging from social, economic and governance aspects. The topics, associated with the workings of finance and banking sectors, are becoming increasingly important as seen by the recent Bangkok Sustainable Banking Forum organized by Bank of Thailand and the Principles for Responsible Investment by UN Global Compact.
In this regard, Global Compact Network Thailand was ready to support talks between the financial and the private sector in other aspects for an opportunity to exchange and learn best practices, current challenges, suggestions and future collaborative opportunities. An example of such an effort is a workshop aiming to mutually increase capacity so that each party will become better equipped and be able to respond to the objectives and actual practical conditions of the financial and banking sectors as well as of other private sectors, with the ultimate goal to achieve sustainable business.
Mr. Suphachai, as President of Global Compact Network Thailand, a business network of more than 40 companies, and as CEO of C.P. Group, which operates in 22 countries globally with more than 350,000 employees, affirms the aim of the Association and the business sector which are ready to promote and support the Thai private sector to conduct business with respect for human rights in accordance with the guidelines issued by the United Nations and with respect for labor rights, environmental protection and anti-corruption in accordance with the universal principles issued by the United Nations Global Compact. Global Compact Network Thailand has strived to put forward the cooperation with all stakeholders. So far, the ‘National Action Plan’ under the responsibility of Ministry of Justice has passed and UNDP projects have been supported so that the principles will yield tangible, practical, verifiable and measurable outcomes. These have been incorporated into business operation strategy by all scales of the private sector, all industrial sectors and trade partners of both members and non-members of the associations in the supply chain. It is expected that the discussion will be a vital step to reach cooperation among the financial, banking and private sectors, to achieve sustainable business operations and ultimately assist the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially on Goal 17 on partnerships for the goals.