The Office of Trade Policy and Strategy (OTC) within Thailand’s Ministry of Commerce is spearheading an initiative aimed at preparing the country’s business sector for environmental trade measures, particularly those focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The project involves extensive consumer surveys, in-depth interviews with entrepreneurs, and the development of recommendations for both public and private sectors.
As part of this endeavor, the OTC conducted a comprehensive consumer survey, gathering insights from 5,012 individuals. The results indicated a strong interest in environmentally friendly products, with 81.64% expressing their desire to purchase such items. The motivations behind this interest were primarily driven by the desire to contribute to environmental conservation and combat global warming, support environmentally conscious entrepreneurs and product manufacturers, and explore innovative products. Conversely, reasons for not opting for eco-friendly products included concerns about higher prices, limited availability, and a lack of awareness.
In-depth interviews with entrepreneurs revealed a noteworthy readiness among business owners to adapt their operational processes to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs). However, Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) face financial constraints, hindering their ability to invest in necessary changes. These costs encompass both process improvements and expenses related to evaluating and obtaining carbon footprint certification.
Another challenge identified was a general lack of understanding regarding GHGs and international environmental measures. Moreover, consumers often opt for more affordable non-environmentally friendly products, leading to a lack of motivation among businesses to adopt GHG reduction measures.
To address these issues, the OTC has put forth several recommendations for the business sector:
- Collect comprehensive data on operational activities, including water, electricity, oil, and raw material consumption. This data will serve as a foundation for identifying GHG emissions at each operational step, enabling efficient process improvements.
- Leverage environmental sustainability as a selling point, as consumer interest in environmentally friendly products continues to rise.
- When seeking carbon footprint certification, prioritize approval for best-selling products before expanding to similar items. This approach optimizes resources and expedites certification processes.
- Stay informed about external factors that may impact business operations and adapt proactively.
As Thailand seeks to align its business sector with international environmental standards and expectations, these recommendations serve as a roadmap for both businesses and policymakers. Encouragingly, a growing interest in green products among consumers signals a promising future for environmentally responsible businesses, reinforcing the importance of a sustainable and eco-conscious approach to commerce.