business March 09, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Exim Bank funds scholarships for disabled

Exim Thailand is funding scholarships through the Foundation for Support and Development of Disabled Persons.
 Wirun Katprakob, director of the Export-Import Bank of Thailand and a member of its corporate governance and social responsibility committee, along with the bank’s executives and staff, recently donated Bt250,000 to Vichit Amnuayraksakul, centre, vice president of the Foundation for Support and Development of Disabled Persons, at the foundation’s office in Nonthaburi province. 
The donation was part of Exim Thailand’s corporate social responsibility programme to promote and develop knowledge and skills of the disabled so they can improve their quality of life. 
Global outfit backs M&S project
CSR Company International is taking the lead in implementing Marks & Spencer’s “Sustainability Management Framework” (SMF) project. ISO 26000 is the tool of choice to achieve the goals for sustainable supply-chain management as set in the firm’s “Plan A” strategy.
Nine of the biggest clothing suppliers for Marks & Spencer in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh will be enabled to integrate social and environmental sustainability into their business strategy by integrating the ISO 26000 Standard for Social Responsibility of Organisations. This will include gap analysis, action plans and verification for the participating companies. 
Marks & Spencer has launched the SMF project in mid-November last year. The internationally operating retail company with headquarters in Britain says it regards human development and the achievement of human potential as a required economic activity to achieve environmental and social sustainability for present and future generations. This is part of the highly acclaimed “Plan A” strategy by Marks & Spencer, and now CSR Company International is supporting its implementation.
Martin Neureiter, president of CSR Company International, has kick-started a roundtable session for chief executives and directors of participating suppliers to introduce them to the ISO 26000 business case. Neureiter was chairman and head of the international working group Task Group Implementation of the International Organisation for Standardisation for creating the ISO 26000 standard. He was in this position up to the official launch of the standard in 2010 and is now part of the ISO Post-Publication Group. 
The kick-off event took place in New Delhi.
The SMF project based on ISO 26000 is the first of its kind worldwide and a great chance for the standard to prove what it can do regarding sustainable development. The project will be completed by June 2015. Marks & Spencer and its participating suppliers are aiming towards aligning sustainability into their operations by understanding, tracking and managing environmental and social impacts across their businesses, while at the same time gaining recognition by stakeholders for their pioneering vision. All of this is intended to support achieving the ambitious goals of “Plan A”.
CSR Company International, which supports clients worldwide in embedding the principles of CSR into their core strategies, policies, programmes and actions, is appointed to take the lead in Marks & Spencer’s SMF Project. Its team of experts will closely cooperate with the CII-ITC India Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Development, a partner greatly experienced in sustaining businesses growth, by partnering business and government alike, and the India office of globally operating assurance provider Ernst & Young.  
CSR Company International is one of the world’s leading CSR consultancies, with partner offices in 26 countries worldwide as well as representative offices in 17 additional countries in Europe, Middle East, Asia and Africa. 
Chiang Rai ‘City of Reading’
The Stock Exchange of Thailand is supporting Chiang Rai’s “City of Reading Campaign”, which aims to create a reading culture among residents of the northern city. Phra Maha Vudhijaya Vajiramedhi and Dr Sathit Limpongpan, chairman of the SET, participated in the opening ceremony of the “Pan, Plook, Plian” (Spin, Stimulate, Change) campaign.
The project uses reading to help create wisdom among Thais of all ages. It features a bike-lover caravan to seek book donations for delivery to needy libraries in remote areas, and uses Chiang Rai for the pilot event. Project organisers are committed to cooperating with the private and government sectors and educational institutions to drive Thailand towards becoming a country of readers. 
European plan targets lower emissions
The ultimate goal of the European Climate-KIC innovation project “Off4Firms” is to scale up efforts of companies to reduce emissions.
Households account for about 30 per cent of final energy consumption and about 40 per cent of carbon-dioxide emissions in the European Union and Switzerland. Significant improvements in Europe’s greenhouse-gas balance could be obtained by investing in existing and new energy-efficiency measures at the household level. 
According to a scenario analysis commissioned by the Swiss Energy Agency, the total energy consumption of the Swiss residential sector can be reduced by up to 5 gigajoules per capita until 2020, currently amounting to about 35GJ per capita, with similar values for the EU member states. Since similar figures are found worldwide, scaling of successful measures to the global level bears immense potential in reducing the world’s energy consumption and emissions.
Such a measure is currently being developed and implemented by Off4Firms, an employer-led campaign to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions and reduce energy use by employees. Under the lead of ETH Zurich and in partnership with Wageningen University and South Pole Carbon Asset Management, Off4Firms aims to guide companies towards implementing sensible reductions of emissions or energy consumption in employees’ households.
In the recent past, companies like the global re-insurer SwissRe and other national and international firms voluntarily started offering incentives to their employees to improve their households’ carbon-dioxide balances. These incentives include for example the subsidisation of the purchase of energy-efficient household appliances, energy-efficient cars or public transport subscriptions, and better insulation for employee homes. 
Off4Firms will develop a broad and ample portfolio of possible carbon-dioxide and energy reduction measures and a “toolkit” for selecting from this portfolio of optimal measures with respect to the characteristics of a firm and, in particular, its employees. Best-practice carbon-dioxide and energy reduction measures will be determined from analysing existing corporate programmes such as those at SwissRe.
The ultimate goal is to scale up the outcome from Off4Firms to all large corporations as well as small and medium-sized enterprises across Europe and beyond. 
To ensure the scaling-up process for firms in different regions, of different sizes and across different industries, it will be embedded in a new business unit titled Climate Action for Corporations that is being created within the company South Pole Carbon. The unit will benefit from its large expertise and network and in addition, will guarantee the leverage of synergies between the different carbon-dioxide and energy reduction measures.
“We are particularly fascinated by Climate-KIC’s great innovation power,” said Maximilian Horster from South Pole Carbon. “We meet network partners and learn about cutting-edge technologies and extremely interesting research results for which market potentials need to be explored. 
“Off4Firms and other Climate-KIC innovation projects allow medium-sized enterprises like us to further innovations and explore whether markets exist for these innovations; at the same time, Climate-KIC sponsorship helps us to take the necessary entrepreneurial risk.”