Private Sector Initiatives in Environment Management:

A Case of Thailand

From: Global Environment 2000, GEA, Japan, November 2000

By Dr. Tongroj Onchan


ABSTRACT

The rapid industrialization and the commercialization of agriculture have brought about several serious environmental problems, including air and water pollution, organic and factory waste, deforestation and soil erosion (box 1). These problems have been well recognized by the government and numerous measures adopted to tackle them. Most measures are of the so-called Command and Control type(CACs) ahich depends mainly on laws and regulation to control and manage the degrading environment. However, law enforcement has been mostly ineffective. In recent years, another type of policy measures, following the polluter-pays principle, called market-based instruments (MBIs) has been promoted. It is hoped that MBIs application together with CACs will help mitigated and/or resolve the problems. Moreover, several initiatives by the business and private sectors have been witnessed in recent years, e.g. ISO14000 certification, and promotion of Cleaner Production. However, these applications are still in its experimental and initial states. It will take some time before a widespread application can be realized.

Private sector initiatives are important to sustainable development and should be promoted. Business firms in Thailand have paid increase attention to EMS but are still in its early stage and are also in need of support of various kinds. Technology transfer is essential for cleaner production promotion and support from international agencies may be needed. The adoption of ISO14001 requires financial support, especially among SMEs. Since the start of the financial crisis in 1997, Thai businesses have meen more interested in survival and environmental protection or management largely neglected. This, unfortunately, is also true for the public sector which has much less budget for this purpose. The environmental situation in Thailand is likely to get worsened overtime.