Upon hearing the term ‘Eco Factory’, many businesses might think that it would be difficult to upgrade or develop their factory to achieve this status. However, once the concept is understood, and especially with the help and advice from an experienced friend who has succeeded in achieving Eco Factory status, the task may be easier to achieve than they think.
Such was the feeling of Mr. Parkpoom Pooudom, Executive Vice President of T.K.S Technology Pcl., who took his factory through, and passed, the Eco Factory certification inspection in 2016 with help from a “friend” who believes in the same principle and has always stood by their side—SCG Chemicals.
“Like SCG Chemicals, T.K.S Technology Pcl. is a member of the Federation of Thai Industries”, began Mr. Pakpoom on the day Mrs. Supavinee Kitsanawattana, Manager-Corporate Environmental Health and Industrial Hygiene Management, SCG Chemicals, paid a visit to congratulate the company on the occasion of two subsidiaries, namely T.K.S. Technology Pcl. and T.K.S. Siam Press Management, being awarded Eco Factory certificates.
“Through the Federation of Thai Industries’ initiated “Friends Help Friends” project, SCG Chemicals has given us advice on becoming an Eco Factory”, continued Mr. Pakpoom. “We knew that SCG Chemicals was the first company to have all its factories be awarded Eco Factory certification. We had heard about Eco Factories for a year or two, and the concept was in line with the company’s environmental policy that we had practiced for almost a decade. More importantly, it has helped boost our competitiveness in the future market as well. Once we started to learn about the concept we realized that there were some things that we had already done, although there were other things that we still needed to develop in order to comply with the criteria. When SCG Chemicals stepped in as our mentor, we could move forward quickly even though we were in two different industries”.
“Environmental issues are international issues”, added Mrs. Supavinee. “The key principle of eco industry is to ensure that you have an efficient manufacturing process, produce quality products and are friendly to the environment. Once you have managed that, you then have a responsibility to take care of society. In fact, being friendly to the environment is one way of showing responsibility to society, so the concept is not limited to any one industry. Any factory needs to improve and develop its manufacturing process and manage the environment based on a sense of responsibility towards both its own organization and society, and throughout the supply chain. And it has to be done continuously”.
“I totally agree with you there”, added Mr. Pakpoom. “When we decided to go for Eco Factory status, I realized that although we were not a large company, we too were capable of becoming a part of the mechanism that was responsible to society and the environment. If a factory started doing something good, it would then become a model for others to see and follow. Most important of all is the fact that our workforce of 500-600 would learn about and better understand the environment. When they return home, they could apply what they’ve learned to their daily lives and thus help to expand this concept more widely and further afield”.
“When you hear “environmentally-friendly manufacturing process”, many of you may think that it is all very abstract”, explained Mrs. Supavinee. “But in fact it is very concrete. We only need to find out how manufacturing can be done using less energy, yielding less waste and making the best use of the raw materials and resources”.
“I agree”, added Mr. Pakpoom. “With the certification now under our belt, we can see that it is not hard. A friend lending a hand and giving advice really helped us to understand and succeed more easily. T.K.S. now has a plan to open up our factory to other factories to learn from us, especially those in the Sinsakhon Industrial Estate, Samut Sakhon Industrial Estate, and over 5,000 factories in Samut Sakhon province where we are located. We wish to pass on the concept and recommend that all factories take the concept of Eco Factory seriously”.
“The community is another thing that requires real commitment and sincerity”, said Mrs. Supavinee. “SCG Chemicals has a project called “Baworn” which stands for home, temple and school. Once we get the internal affairs in the factory in order, we can transfer and share knowledge about the environment to the homes, communities, temples and schools nearby in order to raise awareness of the importance of caring for the environment, and the importance of all parties joining hands in the effort”.
“T.K.S. has learned so much from SCG Chemicals”, said Mr. Pakpoom. “We had known SCG Chemicals as one of the top companies in the country—not just in terms of business success, but also for their corporate social responsibility towards society as well as the environment. Yours is truly our company’s role model. Thank you”.
“Thank you too”, replied Mrs. Supavinee with a smile. “By being a mentor for T.K.S which is in a different industry from ours, we have learned something new too. SCG Chemicals is honored to play a part in helping our fellow industry to achieve Eco Factory status. We believe that in passing on this concept to others, society and the environment as a whole will benefit. We see this as a move towards a better world with sustainable and sound society and environment”.
In addition to T.K.S., in 2016, SCG Chemicals also gave advice to Nawaplastic Industries (Saraburi) Co., Ltd. and Siam Stabilizers and Chemicals Co., Ltd., subsidiaries of Thai Plastic and Chemicals Pcl., on how to apply for Eco Factory certification. The success in obtaining the Eco Factory certification is the pride of a good “friend” like SCG Chemicals who is willing and ready to assist all factories who have good intentions towards the environment and society. “When Nawaplastic Industries Co., Ltd., first received advice from SCG Chemicals, we started by poring over the 14 Eco Factory criteria and developed our operational process accordingly. It was tough going in the very beginning, but we were determined and we had a friend who had succeeded as a mentor, and eventually the eco industry principle became clear to us. SCG Chemicals did their best in helping us and they sent teams of staff as well as executives to give us hands-on assistance. They helped us to solve obstacles, and seek ways to improve our work process so as to comply with the Eco Factory criteria. Prior to the auditors’ visit, we held a pre-audit session with a team from SCG Chemicals who helped us familiarize ourselves with the process and learn how to present information accurately. That is why we passed the audit the first time. We have to thank SCG Chemicals for their continuing advice and guidance, keeping us on the right track and not wasting time. Such is the benefit of keeping a good friend. Thank you so much, friend!”, voiced Mr. Somchai Hongsuvan, Manager of Sustainable Development Department, Nawaplastic Industries Co., Ltd.
“Friends help friends” helps to pass on the goodwill to create Eco Factories, which will eventually become eco communities. It won’t be long before we see a town with a healthy environment, quality people and sustainable happiness.
The Federation of Thai Industries’ 14 criteria for Eco Factory certification covers 5 areas – physical, economic, social, environmental and operational areas as follow:
- Raw material consumption
- Logistics and Transportation
- Green supply chain
- Green landscape
- Chemical and Hazardous substance management
- Water and wastewater management
- Greenhouse gas emission
- Air pollution management
- Waste management
- Employees’ Safety and Health
- Income distribution to communities
- Mutual living with surrounding community
“SCG Chemicals is a model company—the country’s first 100% Eco Factory certified company. It is admirable that SCG Chemicals has shared the guidelines with other factories, even ones outside of its industry. This clearly reflects the goodwill towards fellow businesses. The move might motivate other factories who might be thinking the Eco Factory concept is hard to comprehend to become interested in entering the process of standard-setting, which will ultimately contribute to the country’s sustainable business development.”
Asst. Prof. Rattanawan Mungkung
Director of the Center of Excellence on Environmental Strategy for Green Business, Kasetsart University
Some of the Eco Factory projects of T.K.S. Siam Press Management Co Ltd and T.K.S. Technology PCL include:
1. The auto splicer machine which helps reduce loss of paper from manual paper joining.
2. A project to install an ink-jet printer head on a printer which reduces the printing process from 2 steps to 1. This also reduces costs by 50% per print order.
3. A project to install elevated storage tanks (champagne tanks) which reduce energy consumption of high pressure water pumps and reduces loss of water.
4. The warehouse light bulb change project—LED bulbs use less energy than the traditional bulbs while giving off the same brightness.
5. A project which replaces more highly harmful chemicals with less harmful ones. For instance, printer ink containing lead has been replaced with soy ink, and changing from ethyl acetate to water-based chemicals.