As small social units, communities play an outsized role in advancing society and fostering strength and sustainable growth for their members and surrounding organizations.
As such, SCG Chemicals (SCGC) has been working with five community enterprises to elevate their products through the use of innovation, technology, and circular economy principles, which SCGC has been advancing through the years, while also incorporating local wisdom passed down through generations. As a result of this initiative, these community enterprises have been able to stay relevant and generate income in their localities to develop their communities and contribute to Thailand’s economy. These community enterprises have so far been able to generate over 7,000,000 million baht in combined revenue per year.
Other than community enterprises, fostering collaboration with government agencies and other organizations can also help strengthen communities and lead to development and innovation on the national level.
Textile Community Enterprises: Weaving, Dyeing, Sewing for Sustainable Income
Saenyai Khon Saen Withi Weaving Community Enterprise, Pluak Daeng District, Rayong
This community enterprise marries local wisdom with innovative materials and makes textiles from pineapple leaf fibers with traditional looms, maximizing resource efficiency in accordance with circular economy principles. The uniqueness of their products has won them an award at a provincial-level traditional Thai textile competition.
SCGC has contributed new handlooms and is tapping experts to help this community enterprise produce softer fabrics and further develop innovative products from a mixture of recycled plastic fibers and pineapple fibers. The current prototype shirt can eliminate waste equivalent to 114 PET/PP cups and 12 pineapple leaves.
Tan Batik Community Enterprise, Ban Chang Community, Rayong
This community enterprise uses seawater in place of saltwater in the dyeing of its innovative indigo batik, which has the added benefit of making the dye to last longer and has developed new natural pigment powder formulas using mangosteen peels and leaves with the assistance of Phranakhon Rajabhat University (ITAP Project), allowing local waste to be utilized in a way that is safe and friendly to consumers.
In addition to the new pigments, this community enterprise has also developed a new unique dyeing pattern called “Flying Swans,” inspired by the pediment of the ordination hall of Wat Lum in Rayong, which earned it the Best Knowledge – Based OTOP (KBO) Award on the provincial level from the Community Development Department in 2019.
Enhancing Community Enterprises with Innovation: Establishing the Identity of Rayong Cuisine
Tulip Housewife Group Community Enterprise, Noen Phayom Community, Muang District, Rayong
Available in eight flavors, the Eight Immortals Chinese pastries are known for the fluffy pastry shell and generous fillings. As a mentor, SCGC provided guidance in food innovation during the development process, in which famous Rayong-style curries were developed into fillings, such as pork chamuang curry, chicken cardamom curry, and pork pineapple shoot curry.
Utilizing food innovation from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrabang’s food engineering experts, the community enterprise has been able to extend the shelf life of its pastries without preservatives, which has earned it an FDA approval and a three-star OTOP rating, as well as develop frozen versions of the product.
Koh Kok Occupational Development Community Enterprise, Muang District, Rayong
This community enterprise offers processed riceberry products under the brand Rice Me, which was born out of its intention to conserve and develop the last paddy field in Map Ta Phut.
SCGC lent a hand by inviting experts to help design machines that would help increased the production capacity and engaged the National Research Council of Thailand (NRCT) to help develop recipes based on local fruits. In addition, SCGC invited experts to determine the nutrition content of the product and improve the packaging to enhance its saleability in convenience stores nationwide. As a result, the product has been recognized with an Excellent Healthy Local Product award.
Song Saleung Salacca in Syrup and Dried Salacca Community Enterprise in Klaeng District, Rayong
Faced with a price slump, local farmers processed Sumalee Salacca into Salacca Loykaew (salacca in syrup) and dried salacca to extend the shelf life and create added value. In collaboration with the Institute of Food Research and Product Development (IFRPD), Kasetsart University, SCGC helped with the production of desiccated salacca to cater to health-conscious consumers and dried candied salacca, which keeps for up to three months and has been given both FDA approval and a four-star OTOP rating.
Also, as part of the MHESI Employment Program by the Thailand Institute of Scientific and Technological Research (TISTR), SCGC helped them to develop salacca ice cream to widen the range of their product offerings.
In addition to the development projects, which have produced tangible results through these five community enterprises, SCGC has been organizing training, both in the form of classroom instructions and workshops, for local stores and community enterprises on a regular basis since 2017.
Communities are indispensable for the advancement of society, and thus the promotion of sustainability through job creation and innovation can spur the sustainable development and strengthening of communities.