On Wednesday October 12, 2016 Swedish Institute and Embassy of Sweden hosted a business seminar in Bangkok entitled How can business contribute to sustainable development? – European vs Asian perspectives, very well described in their invitation.
But first of all, we will pay respect.
In Remembrance of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej 1927 – 2016
The day after the seminar, on Thursday October 13, 2016 we all came to know that His Majesty the King had passed away.
I want to show how international His Majesty the King was already at his birth.
In remembrance of His Majesty the King, and his importance for the huge development of Thailand during his 70 years world record of reign, I hereby pay my respect.
However, we were all unaware of the major changes that would occur and the seminar opened as planned.
Our location was at the Plaza Athénée Bangkok, which turned out to be a big and impressive center for conferences.
The guest list was also impressive, with ASEAN and EU coordinating meetings and more going on. Below, in the upper sign, you can also see Swedish Institute on the list.
- Top left – Two of the organizers, Ms. Ulrica Engström (Swedish Institute) and Mr. Jesper Johansson (Enact), during last minutes preparings for the seminar
- Bottom left – H.E. Mr. Staffan Herrström, Sweden’s ambassador in Thailand, has arrived
- Right – Finally, time for Ms. Ulrica Engström to say Welcome to everyone and introduce today’s first speaker
Opening Speech by H.E. Mr. Staffan Herrström
Mr. Staffan Herrström opened the seminar. He introduced himself as Sweden’s ambassador in Thailand, a role which also includes Laos PDR and Myanmar (se my earlier post Meeting the Swedish Ambassador in Bangkok).
He delivered a lively speech about Sweden’s commitment for sustainability, gender equality and freedom of speech.
Inspirational session with Ms. Passawee Tapasanan
Ms. Passawee Tapasanan told us of her story of establishing Folkcharm. With the vision of producing and trading ethical, natural and local she now covers four provinces in Thailand with her business.
Her clothes at the seminar are all examples of the products, and she also had an exhibition in the back of the big conference room.
Creative Session with Audience Participation
The organizers didn’t allow us to sit passively and listen. The next topic on the agenda was What do YOU think? All of us in the audience were divided into four groups. Each group was supplied with a flipchart and pencil. Then all groups were appointed with the task of creating a list of the three most important factors to create sustainable business and integrate CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).
After a few minutes of discussions in each group, purposefully accompanied by stressful music, our work was stopped and each group was asked to present their respectively results.
Now it was time for a famous Swedish export product – Fika. The Swedish word Fika means coffee break (tea is also allowed), preferably together with some cookies or other sweets, and no Swedish establishment can live without it 🙂
This Fika immediately turned into a big spontaneous mingle, where names and business cards were exchanged between us. I met a lot of positive and genuinely interested people and found, to my astonishment, that mingling can be fun!
From left to right:
- My friend Mr. David Johnson (Conrad Petroleum, Singapore) together with Mr. Bilal Dwi Nugraha (PT Bina Daya Nugraha, Indonesia)
- Ms. Tu Ahn Dothi (Hanoi Young Business Association, Vietnam)
- Exhibition with products from Folkcharm and books written by Mr. Vikrom Kromadit
- Ms. Amina Swanepoel (Roots of Health, Philippines)
Keynote with Mr. Vikrom Kromadit
Mr. Vikrom Kromadit, CEO of Amata Corporation PCL, told the story of his life and the life of Amata. Bangkok based Amata is, according to it’s own web site, the World’s Leading Industrial City Developer. Thus Mr. Vikrom Kromadit came to represent the big scale and visions of the day.
Mr. Vikrom spent a large part of his speech passionately talking about the future possibilities for Thailand and Asia.
Interactive panel discussion
The day’s last session was the panel discussion Let’s Talk. The audience was encouraged to participate with questions and opinions, making the panel discussion interactive.
The panel consisted of, from left to right:
- Mr. Vikrom Kromadit, Amata Corporation PCL, Thailand
- Ms. Camille R. Escudero, Quality Philippine Export, Philippine
- Ms. Ankita JP Shroff, SAV Chemicals & Shroff Group, India
- Ms. Passawee Tapasanan, Folkcharm, Thailand
The day ended with hopeful and optimistic words of the future of sustainable business, and the schedule offered one more opportunity for mingle before everyone headed home.
It was an energy boost to get to know so many people from different countries and different businesses, but with common believes in the possibility of developing better and more humane enterprising.
The collective strong believe in the future could have made His Majesty the King proud again, over Thailand as the hosting country and over the world, but it wasn’t until the next day we learned that he wouldn’t be here to share it with us.
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