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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs           27   July  2011

Customers want green products

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Environmental and social sustainability will gain more importance as a niche marketing tool and a global requirement - thanks to a rising demand for green products and services from consumers.

"The public is beginning to demand of the products they buy, the services they use and companies they do business with whether they are environmentally and socially sustainable," Simon Andrews, regional manager at International Finance Corporation (IFC), a development arm of the World Bank Group, said.

Environmental and social sustainability was another coming trend for all businesses, particularly globalised ones, he told a recent workshop in Bangkok.

Consumers have become increasingly aware of environmental and social issues in their everyday lives. The leading companies and leading financial institutions in the world see environmental and social sustainability as a niche marketing tool, a way to communicate to their customers about the environmental and social sustainability attributes to the products they deliver.

About 85 percent of global project finance is now implemented in accordance with the Equator Principles, a voluntary set of principles for environmental and social risk management in project finance, based on IFC performance standards ranging from pollution prevention and community health to culture.

"To some extent, it's become more mainstream," he said.

Similar challenges from consumer demand for the green concept exist across Asian countries, where central banks have been promoting the green banking concept, guided by environmental and social risk management, said Rong Zhang, programme manager for environmental and social standards at IFC.

South Korea and Indonesia held green banking conferences in June and this month. In Thailand, similar challenges exist.

About 70 per cent of Thailand's gross domestic product comes from exports and customers around the world are demanding standards related to environmental and social sustainability.


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ASEAN  ANALYSIS

This year in Thailand-what next?

AseanAffairs   04 January 2011
By David Swartzentruber      

It is commonplace in journalism to write two types of articles at the transition point between the year that has passed and the New Year. As this writer qualifies as an “old hand” in observing Thailand with a track record dating back 14 years, it is time take a shot at what may unfold in Thailand in 2011.

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