Green Ocean Strategy


Turning over a new green leaf

By Nophakhun Limsamarnphun

Non-profit organisation chief Dr Pipat Yodprudtikan is encouraging businesses and households to think green with a "seven Rs" system of sustainability

Dr Pipat Yodprudtikan, director of the Thaipat Institute, has stepped forward to urge Thai companies to adopt the so-called "green ocean" strategy as a means for sustainable business development.

In cooperation with Nation Broadcasting Corporation, Pipat will lead his non-profit organisation to help facilitate Thai firms in implementing the strategy.

"Green ocean is a sort of middle path or a more balanced approach for businesses whose goal is still to make good profits but in a way that is more friendly to the environment.

"With this strategy, they will be able to access new markets that are ecologically sensitive, and will better satisfy consumers who are green and health-conscious.

"About five years ago, there was the blue ocean strategy in response to increased competition in the global marketplace. The main theme for companies was to innovate to get away from cut-throat competition or the so-called red and bloody ocean.

"Then came the CSR [corporate social responsibility] trend, which aimed to boost competitiveness with more sustainable values [rather than just innovative values].

"A recent research study, conducted in the wake of the 2008-2009 global financial crisis, shows that US consumers are now paying more attention to the green factor as the third factor when making buying decisions.

"Previously, it was just price and quality of products and services. Now, it's safety, hygiene and quality of life that figure prominently in people's way of life.

"In other words, they're willing to pay a little more for products and services that are green.

"This trend is expected to become widespread in Thailand as well as other Asean countries shortly. As a regional grouping of 10 countries, one of Asean's objectives is to be clean and green," he says.

In practice, the right system and mindset is needed in order to implement the green ocean strategy. The right system means resource efficiency, process accountability, and product effectiveness, which are the foundations of the so-called green governance.

"This governance is aimed at helping businesses increase efficiency in terms of inputs such as raw materials and energies so that there is less waste and minimal use of energy.

"For example, businesses should give first priority to indigenous materials and workers in order to reduce transport needs, thus saving energy and other resources.

"Businesses should also be more accountable in terms of their production process. For example, workplace conditions must be safe and hygienic, while there must also be adequate environmental protection for surrounding communities.

"In terms of product effectiveness, manufacturers must ensure that their products are safe for consumers, and be ready to recall items which are not. In addition, responsible firms will not mislead consumers in product advertisements," he says.

"Then, you need a total of seven 'R' habits to achieve the targets after adopting the green ocean strategy.

"These seven 'Rs' will help form the right mindset."

First, "Rethink" means a new way to approach environmental protection, with emphasis on avoiding being the last to do so.

Second, "Reduce" means everyone should reduce his or her use of natural resources, especially energies and food, to reduce waste, so the earth is more sustainable.

Third, "Re-use" means you should check if any items in your household or business can be used again. In terms of packaging, disposable bags, for example, should be avoided.

Fourth, "Recycle" means unused materials or waste should go toward new use, with emphasis on the recycling of daily garbage.

Fifth, "Recondition" means you should fix broken items for new use, or ensure that existing appliances are well serviced for a longer life span.

Sixth, "Refuse" means you need to say no when solicited to support excessive consumption and overuse of natural resources. In fact, luxury items and over-consumption are among the obvious examples.

Seventh, "Return" means you need to learn to give back to society and nature.

[Original Link]