AirAsia and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) declaring cooperation for sustainable development and launching four pilot initiatives in support of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The four initiatives including SDGs awareness creation, Eastern Sarus Crane conservation, Friendly Design universal accessibility, and sustainable tourism development called Journey D.
The SDGs awareness creation initiative seeks to utilise a variety of media to promote widespread understanding of the UNDP’s Sustainable Development Goals and includes a range of smaller projects such as AirAsia’s SDGs airplane livery.
The Eastern Sarus Crane conservation initiative sees AirAsia contributing to conservation of the Eastern Sarus Crane in Buri Ram province, in support of an initiative started by Zoological Park Organisation and the Faculty of Forestry of Kasetsart University.
The Friendly Design initiative trains AirAsia staff to be better equipped to serve passengers with special needs and pushes for improved mobility systems for such passengers in airports.
The Journey D initiative meanwhile is AirAsia’s initiative to sustainably develop community tourism and involve development training in terms of community management for the community’s tourism working group, helping them to develop their local products and enhancing the English language capabilities of their residents so that they can better welcome visitors. The initiative was piloted in the four communities of Koh Klang in Krabi, Kok Muang in Buri Ram, Pha Mhee in Chiang Rai and Phrom Lok in Nakhon Si Thammarat.
Tassapon Bijleveld, chief executive of Thai AirAsia, said AirAsia has always been aware that conducting business in a sustainable manner is necessary in the modern business landscape. In joining with the UNDP, AirAsia is looking to truly benefit communities while ensuring sustainability on a global scale. Through the four initiatives, the two organisations will drive economic, social and environmental developments.
He added that AirAsia has already been engaging in such social initiatives for some time now, training its staff to serve passengers with special needs through the Friendly Design project and providing knowledge for sustainable development of community-based tourism through its Journey D initiative.
Deirdre Boyd, UNDP Resident Representative in Thailand, said: This is an excellent example of how the private sector can and should play their part in achieving the SDGs, and how we together can develop innovative approaches to sustainable development. This is just the beginning. We look forward to exploring more opportunities, both in Thailand and in the Asia Pacific region.