Ministry wants 35,000 eco-friendly factories

The Industry Ministry is seeking help from related agencies led by the Board of Investment (BoI) and the Small and Medium Enterprise Development Bank of Thailand (SME Bank) in providing incentives and support for 35,000 factories to reach Green Industry levels within five years.

Launched by the ministry in 2011, the Green Industry designation promotes eco-friendly entrepreneurship among industries by focusing on continuous improvement in production processes and environmental management.

The ministry has honoured 13,000 factories with the Green Industry label including 50 with Green Industry Level 4: Green Culture, which denotes the cooperation of all employees in the company to support a greener environment until it becomes part of the culture.

Just five factories are designated Green Industry Level 5: Green Network, the highest-level status awarded to industries that are eco-friendly not just within the company but also with stakeholders such as the surrounding communities and consumers.

"To stay competitive in the global market, being green is vital because it is the main criteria in most markets where our products are sold," industry permanent secretary Witoon Simachokedee said yesterday.

Under a target jointly set with the National Economic and Social Development Board, the number of factories receiving a Green Industry award would reach 35,000 by 2018.

To achieve the goal, Mr Witoon wants state-owned institutions such as the SME Bank to extend financial support and the BoI to offer incentives to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) looking to go green.

He said companies already designated Green Industry Level 4 or 5 should play a role as trainers for SMEs to develop their capabilities.

The ministry yesterday announced five recipients of Green Industry Level 5: Green Network status.

The winners are three cement factories in Saraburi under Siam City Cement Plc (SCCC), plus Siam Cement (Lampang) Co and Map Ta Phut Olefins.

Siva Mahasandana, SCCC's senior vice-president for Saraburi operations, said the Green Network designation was part of the company's sustainable development roadmap for 2012-20, whose criteria include reducing carbon dioxide emissions from factories by 20%.

SCCC employees are encouraged to spend time on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities through projects such as the Green Heart Club and the Green Heart Bank.

Last year they spent an average of two days on CSR, ranking second in the world among 100 countries that SCCC's major shareholder, Switzerland's Holcim, operates in.

Mr Siva said SCCC had also helped 24 suppliers achieve the Green Industry designation, with 18 more to be added in a year's time.

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