Future business leaders in Thailand reached through their teachers

Training of lecturers from the Faculty of Business Administration (BUS), Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon (RMUTP), aims to integrate international concepts of corporate social responsibility into their social enterprise courses.

Article | 14 September 2020
Business Adminstration teaching staff, RSCA manager Fredy Guayacan and Thai NPC Chayanich Thamparipattra
Bangkok, (ILO News) - The Responsible Supply Chains in Asia Programme and a leading technology university in Thailand have joined forces to lift levels of understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and social enterprise among the teaching staff of a degree in business administration.

“We see the importance of these subjects for our future business leaders to understand before they enter the business world,” explains Dr Rattanavalee Maisak, Dean of the Faculty of Business Administration Rajamangala University of Technology Phra Nakhon (RMUTP).

The degree, the Bachelor of Business Administration (Management and International Business), includes courses on social enterprise, business ethics, ethics for entrepreneurs, and ethics in human resource management. As such, the work of the Responsible Supply Chains in Asia programme is seen as a good match.

“With an increasing demand for responsible business practices from our trading partners and supporting policies from the government more and more Thai businesses have internalized the concept of responsible businesses into their operations,” says Dr Maisak. “This also means new career opportunities for our students,” she added.
Dr Rattanavalee Maisak

Graduates of the course are likely to be well placed to meet the needs of Thai and international businesses to capitalise on new business trends in shared and inclusive value creation.

“We talk about social entrepreneurship that blends social, environmental and economic outcomes. In typical for-profit businesses, economic growth can happen at the expense of social progress. Increasingly, what I’m seeing is that for-profit organizations are moving towards recognising the importance of social and environmental value creation – because doing good, makes good business sense,” said presenter Kerryn Krige, the ILO’s technical adviser to the Social Economy in South Africa.

Lecturer Parichat Chuanrakthum underlined the relevance of the training in the Thai context. “From today’s training, I see new perspectives and ideas to teach students that they can use in their careers and shape them to be entrepreneurs who are responsible.”

Attendees learned about what potential buyers and customers will be looking for in responsible business. “There is nothing wrong with philanthropy, but due diligence is about respecting workers’ rights”, explained Emily Sims, Manager, ILO Helpdesk for Business, “but buyers will still want to make sure that their business partners are complying with their codes, which focus on wages, hours of work, fundamental rights and OSH, among other issues. And by paying better wages, ensuring the workers have social protections, etc., poverty goes down and working families don’t need to rely on charity.”

Punnapas Lertvaritkul
Punnapas Lertvaritkul, a lecturer, plans to integrate concepts from the training into her course as soon as next semester. “I can transfer knowledge from this training to students to teach that corporate social responsibility is not necessarily donations or volunteer work,” she says. “The correct approach to CSR should begin with good management processes within the organization, including selecting suppliers and raw material producers who are also responsible in their operations. This will make the economic system more sustainable,” says Lertvaritkul.

Fredy Guayacan, Programme manager, Responsible Supply Chains in Asia drew participants’ attention to the role the ILO can play in discussions around CSR and social businesses. “Both current and future business leaders have a key role to ensure business responsibility. Businesses are required to be more and more responsible, both from the environment and social perspectives. And, there are international expectations on compliance with international labour standards. As such, ILO conventions and recommendations remain the key relevant reference points.”