By Zahara Zuhair
Double A, a Thai paper brand, believes that utilising the unused resources is the way forward.
As a part of their CSR drive around the world, the company launched ‘Friends of the Planet’ in Sri Lanka, a project in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and the Central Environmental Authority of Sri Lanka. The project aims to create awareness among secondary school children on the growing impact of climate change and encourage them to come up with fresh and creative solutions.
Double A Senior Executive Vice President Thirawit Leetavorn was in Sri Lanka recently to attend in the award ceremony of the competition. Mirror Business got in touch with him to learn more about the company’s initiatives and its environmental- friendly paper making process.
Below are the excerpts.
Could you brief about your company and its origin?
Double A is a paper company. We specialize only in office paper which is A4 paper. Our total production in Thailand has been 800,000 tons of office paper. We have another production facility in France, that has the capacity of about 230,000 tons of papers. The reason why we are able to produce is the unique tree and the
The paper is made out of a special tree. What we have done with this particular tree is we have gone through 40 years of research and testing with this, to be able to give very high fibre.
And also for the tree it grows very quickly. Normally a tree takes ten years to mature, our tree takes only four years. It grows in a warm climate, anywhere in the South East Asia it can be grown.
The tress are a key part of Double A business model and farmers are a key part of the business.
As farmers grow rice, we wanted to show them that there is an opportunity to use the empty region of the rice paddy to generate money. So we ran a promotion campaign on television which asked the farmers that there is a tree planting programme, contact us and we will give 100 Double A plants to grow.
Through that campaign, we managed to attract 30,000 farmers in Thailand. Even for furniture
it can be used.
Today we have over million farmers with us, and every year we plant about 100 million trees to re-generate because it takes four years to mature as we cut down 60-100 million trees.
So how does Double A add value to the paper category ?
There are two ways where we add value to the paper category. First the quality of paper we use, the paper is soother than other paper, if you see the other side of the sheet it’s not visible, those are the main distinctive features of our paper compared to the other papers in the market.
The other way shows that it adds value to the paper category is that we actively engage consumers, promoting our papers to customers, educating them on the quality of paper we have, also on the environmental aspects of paper production and contribution to the society to raise awareness on the impact it has on environment and global conditions.
Since the company is more involved with CSR projects, what are the CSR projects mainly carried out?
We do a lot of work, if you look at the farm tree module that I just talked about, that has achieved recognition, as a CSR project. My trip to Sri Lanka is to attend the award ceremony of the ‘Friends of the Planet’ project in collaboration with the
How does Double A commit towards sustainable development ?
It is by doing these projects.
According to you what kind of a role the private sector has to play in sustainable development?
Interesting you mentioned that. In United Nations (UN), if you go back to Kofi Annan’s days, he set up sustainable development goals which is about 10 goals, which most of the countries met. Basically there are 17 principals for sustainable development.
Moving on from sustainable goals we do want to go for next stage which is sustainable development. One of them is called , sustainable consumption and the other is sustainable production. Sustainable production is very simple, producing things that come from sustainable consumption products, such as the Double A. Sustainable consumption also suggests that you have to think about consumption patterns.
Under those sustainable production and sustainable consumption goals, it calls for better corporation
between private, government and non
It is recognised that government alone cannot do that. If they don’t have corporation with private sector it is not going to happen, of course it is important to work with NGOs not against NGOs. This is one planet, we breathe same air, with that collaboration we will be able get in to more people involved.
‘Friends of planet’ award ceremony is a good example of executing consumption and production, which Double A does with the Education Ministry in Sri Lanka which we also do with organisations
across the globe.
We all have a big role collectively in taking care of the planet. So how can we make people more aware of it or to get them more engaged?
It starts actually with children, if they are aware of the impact, they also become aware of that they could do to reduce that impact, then carry it on to their lives and it will be positive for everyone.
As I mentioned the project that I just reviewed (Friends of the Planet), with the top five finalists, I’m just amazed where this ideas have came up. One school I came up was water treatment system. With waste water, what they did was, when you have waster water what you have to do is you need do a separation of the salt from the water, then you need to treat the organic matter in the waste water as the second treatment level, then essentially what is left is water that is usable, not drinkable. And they use that to water their plants. That is to me a 15-year old doing is amazing, they have brought it to reality. And they even created a small unit which can be used in houses, that is even more amazing. Large industrial size projects are common, but small units are not common.
There was another school that tries to conserve a lake that was side by, which was polluted, it was simple they put up rubbish bins, put up a sign not to pollute, and then they grew trees around the lake. Then those tress re-generate the lake, some of the trees absorb Co2 and release Oxygen, which helps to re-generate the lake.
It is a well known fact that, it is important to depend less on natural resources for economic growth. But do you think it’s practical today ?
Of course, if you are able to do what we do. The company itself, which I mentioned, 800,00 papers in Thailand and 230,00 tons of paper in France, so it is.
How does Double A help to reduce global warming ?
On alone we can’t’, it is a massive thing. But where the company operates where I mentioned tress, you know the trees are a major source of Carbon capture, so natural forests we have today is a positive benefit for the world today. One thing is the Carbon capture, second things is it has it’s own natural bio-diversity, so if we go to a rain forest area you find things such as medicine, there are certain species of animals, so it’s important to maintain these bio-diversity,The governments issue forest concessions. That forest concession essentially allows you to take over a forested area and it allow you to cut that forested area as long as you
re-generate that area.
So big question is that is it a sustainable module! Because when you cut down a forest it immediately takes away that areas ability to capturing of Carbon and even if you re-generate which takes 20- 30 years, it doesn’t give back it’s original state, so looses the bio-diversity and the ability to capture Carbon for another 20-30 years, so that traditional module is not one that can be subscribed to today. So we contribute to keep the natural forests.
As Double A is following the concept of ‘No waste is wasted’, could you explain more about it and how do you work towards it?
As I mentioned, a clear example is the tree, you don’t waste anything in the tree.
Another area we contribute is that to make paper you cut down the tree, you break the tree down by chopping in to small pieces. So by a process that separates paper which is fibre from the tree waste. Tree waste is composed of three things, that the bark of the tree, the leaves of the tree and finally there is a substance called black licker, that comes out of the waste of the tree. So all that we use to generate electricity.
In an unused land we use to extract fibre to make paper and the half of the tree will go in to
What are the company’s future plans and anything specific for Sri Lanka?
There is one product now which is travelling around in Sri Lanka. If you log on to our website 1dream 1tree, essentially what it does is it encourages consumers to plant a tree in Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia and Korea.
Any messages you would like to give out?
We want to tell the younger generation to take care of the planet, to use things more efficiently. Going to the statistics, consumption patterns today shows that unless we change the world for sustainable consumption and sustainable production, pretty soon it will be difficult to live in this world. Citizens in the word have come together to help one and other. I hope that the’ Friends of the planet’ done in Sri Lanka is one step to achieve that goal.