Bangkok (ILO News) - Thai Businesses in the automotive sector recognize the importance of including corporate social responsibility or responsible business conduct (CSR/RBC) in their operations, according to the president of the Employers’ Confederation of Thailand (ECOT). Speaking at a peer learning event on “Good labour practices in supply chains: a competitive factor for the automotive sector on a globalized world,” Ekasit Kunanantakul said, “Promoting good labour practices show the responsibility of the industry on its impact on society and it can increase the satisfaction of consumers. Not only the industry but also the community and public will benefit from this development.”
The event, jointly hosted by ECOT, the Thailand Automotive Institute (TAI) and the International Labour Organization saw delegates from five key automotive brands share their good practices in their automotive businesses and lower-tier suppliers. Participants, which include 9 leading automotive brands and 22 suppliers also worked on identifying challenges and to brainstorm how the industry can address deficits in responsible business practices.
“Apart from generating profit, businesses also have to be responsible for society, environment. They also have to show that they are treating workers fairly and respect human rights, including making sure that working environment of workers is appropriate and safe”, said Mr. Adisak Rohitasune, Acting President of TAI in opening remarks, he noted that the automotive industry contributes to Thailand’s economic growth and many of its products are exported overseas.
With technological change and importance of labour issues in international trade, the event provided space for automotive businesses in the automotive sector to identify issues and potential solutions to enhance its compliance on labour standards and grow sustainably.
Supported for the event came from the programme on Responsible Supply Chains in Asia (RSCA) a partnership of ILO and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and funded by the European Union (EU). The programme’s objectives are to enhance respect for human rights, labour and environmental standards by businesses engaged in supply chains in Asia using guidance from International instruments, such as the ILO’s MNE Declaration.
Roundtable discussions on global trends and socially responsible labour practices in the automotive sector heard from Mr Fredy Guayacan, head of the RSCA programme and Mr. Chales Bodwell, Senior Specialist on Enterprise Development. Also sharing their experiences on implementing CSR were representatives from Mitsubishi Motors, Hino Motors, Scania Group, Denso and Fortune Parts Industry. Participants workshopped common challenges the industry faced, along with potential solutions that the industry can implement collectively.
“We are confident the right strategies for responsible business can make their way into company operations through dialogues like the one we are having today. When they do, the whole industry stands to benefit,” said Guayacan.
Participants at the half-day event agreed that there was also a need to share more good labour practices, improve management systems, generate research and provide thematically oriented training on socially responsible practices. A working group for businesses in the automotive sector was also proposed to continue this dialogue and promote cooperation for future activities.