Cutting emissions, reforestation top priorities for Ratch

Corporate July 20, 2014 00:00

By The Nation

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Forest and energy conservation, activities to reduce creation of carbon-dioxide and raising public awareness highlighted

Carbon-dioxide emissions took centre stage when Ratchaburi Electricity Generating Holding formulated its CSR (corporate social responsibility) strategy. 
“We are concerned about the global-warming issue, which is becoming increasingly critical. As a corporate citizen of Thailand, we are also aware of the importance of reducing CO2 emissions in order to protect and conserve natural resources and the environment,” said chief executive officer Pongdith Potchana.
“We have made direct and indirect efforts to protect the environment on an earnest and continual basis since 2007, with an objective to reduce CO2 emissions and relieve the global-warming crisis.”
Four areas are highlighted to achieve the goal – forest conservation, energy conservation, in-process activities to reduce emissions, and raising public awareness.
Kicking off reforestation programmes for years, the company has helped community forests grow 99,784 young teak trees and 840,000 seedlings. It also gave away a million seedlings to 200 community forests nationwide. 
Other activities include algae cultivation using CO2 emissions from the electricity-generation process. “Kla Yim Youth Camp” has also been introduced to raise awareness among children. 
Ratch just launched a “Planting Trees in the Upstream Forests to Create Carbon Sinks” programme at Doi Phu Kha National Park, Pua District, Nan province. Run by Ratchaburi Holding in partnership with Protected Area Regional Office 13, under the supervision of the National Parks, Wildlife and Plant Conservation Department, the programme is intended to rehabilitate devastated upstream forests. This will increase water-retention capacity of forests to prevent floods in the Northern and Central regions. 
About 200,000 trees of at least seven native types including wild Himalayan cherry, Sumatran pine (Pinus merkusii), Khasi pine (P kesiya), pink shower and a variety of bushes were planted on 1,000 rai (160 hectares) of land or an average of 200 trees per rai, along with the construction of firebreaks and a control tower to help prevent wildfires that may occur in the summer. The project period is three years (2014-2016) covering the planting, nourishing and evaluating processes. 
The company has set a goal for tree survival of more than 90 per cent. The surviving trees are expected to aid water-resource management and carbon sequestration to reduce the global-warming problem.
“Cultivation of the remaining young trees will continue and it is expected to be completed by the end of August,” Pongdith said. 
“Forestry-oriented knowledge is applied to support the project’s implementation. The trees selected for planting are well suited to the geographical and climatic circumstances and a variety of plants are grown alternately in the same cultivated area in a staggered manner that replicates a natural forest. 
“The monitoring of tree growth will be executed with the cooperation of academics from the faculty of forestry, Kasetsart University,” he added. 
He said it was the company’s belief that the problem of global warming could be tackled if all parties worked together to protect the forests and if people changed their daily behaviour. 
He suggested turning off and unplugging all electric appliances that are not in use, replacing plastic bags with cloth ones, segregating in-house waste, adopting green-labelled products that yield low CO2 emissions, growing trees in your home area, and many other activities.
“To achieve our goal of being a green company, we have executed more efficient energy management within our entire manufacturing procedures and enhanced the awareness of environmental protection among our employees,” Pongdith said. 

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