Small and Medium Sized Enterprises In Thailand and Development of Cleaner Production

Jens Kristian Nørgaard

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


In the perspective of the rapid industrial development experienced over the last decades in Thailand, this report intend to contribute to the discussion about development of cleaner production (CP) among small and medium sized enterprises, as a tool to prevent degradation of the country’s natural resources. The objective is to examine the present barriers and possibilities to the low adoption of CP among the industry in Samut Prakarn and to study, which competences small firms have developed to implement CP in practise. Further, the intention is to examine the feasibility for small firms to establish a continuing development of CP, in a long-term perspective, and to investigate if it is possible to create a self-sustaining market for CP in the province of Samut Prakarn. The data used to answer these questions has been collected during two field trips to Bangkok, Thailand, where interviews were conducted with stakeholders from public authorities and institutions, financial and industrial associations, and most importantly local stakeholders from the province of Samut Prakarn, including staffs from the Cleaner Production for Industrial Efficiency programme (CPIE) and managers from seven progressive companies. Methodological, network theory was used to identify the relevant stakeholders, with influence on the daily decision-making of small firms, where the regulatory network, the business network, the network of knowledge, and the social and cultural network were found important. Further, the concept of Technology has been used to understand the structure of a given production, and innovation theory has helped to understand the process of developing new technologies. The report is perceived as two parts, where the first part is a problem identification of the present barriers and possibilities, and the second part is a case study of CP implementation in practise, which seeks to identify competences that overcome the observed barriers and obstacles in the first part. To the first part it was found as barriers to development of CP that small firms often lack the economic resources to make new investments and that they lack access to educated employees. Further, most of the small firms are family businesses that experience problems of hierarchic and old-fashioned management, including cultural problems of reluctance to outsiders and fear of authorities, which make it troublesome to get in contact with this kind of companies. It was also found as a barrier that small firms often lack the access to financial loans, with affordable interest rates, and access to cheap and professional consulting. At the same time small firms lack incentives to improve their environmental behaviour, due to a weak enforcement of the national environmental legislation, and on top of that corruption is widely accepted in the Thai society, which makes it possible for violators of environmental law to bribe the public inspectors to avoid fines and sanctions. To the second part it was found that the interviewed companies have overcome a number of the barriers identified to development of CP. First of all, it was found important that the companies voluntarily have been committed to the CP implementation, as it makes them feel responsible for the outcome of their work, which develops ownership of the process. The companies were all motivated to implement CP due to economic benefits, but also market demands, and acknowledgement in the local society was found motivating. At management level worker participation programmes were found to develop a number of competences, with positive effect on the companies’ ability to adapt new technologies. Worker participation develop better two-way communication, which make the management less hierarchic, and fosters the workers to be more flexible and open to changes in the production, as they feel more valued and motivated in their daily work. Further, worker participation demonstrates that workers pose a lot of know-how about the daily production routines, which can be transformed into ideas for CP-solutions, when they are provided with the proper tools and awareness to come forward and to speak up to their superiors. That way, worker participation has also helped to increase the internal level of useful knowledge in the implementing companies. It has shown to be easy to group Thai companies in networks, where the small firms can join resources and exchange knowledge and ideas. This has helped the interviewed companies to get access to knowledge in the external environment, which make them less depended on access to consulting and problems of well-educated employees, with high salaries. Finally, it seems possible to create a self-sustaining market for cleaner production in Samut Prakarn. CPIE has managed to build a local capacity of CP awareness, and three CP clubs have been established for continuing networking among the companies that joined the project. However, a large barrier to a continuing development is the lack of funding and motivation for long-term investments. The Thai managers still fear long-term investments and it will not be possible to continue developing the CP capacity if the companies only are willing to make incremental innovations. At the same time few of the companies seemed willing to pay the costs for running the CP clubs, and without external funding or a change in motivation, these clubs will most likely go to sleep. Without the external network relation it will become difficult for most of the small firms to continue developing CP, because they will loose the access to external knowledge.

UddannelserTekSam - miljøplanlægning, (Bachelor/kandidatuddannelse) Kandidat
Udgivelsesdato1 jun. 2003
VejledereBente Kjærgård