The green movement is slowly picking up pace in South East Asia. Inspired by observing decades of frivolous use of resources, one Thai company has decided to do its own part for the environment through its business model and practices. The Columnist talked to Mr. Takorn Rattanakamolporn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ditto (Thailand) Co. Ltd to gather his views on how a company can do its part to promote green practices.
Can you provide us with a brief overview of Ditto and its operations?
We at Ditto (Thailand) provide Smart Solutions to customers. These solutions consist of both hardware and software based solutions to facilitate customers’ documentation demands. We started out as hardware-based when we provided customers with photocopy machine rental services and we gradually shifted to software based products. This shift happened as trends and the working style of the modern era evolved to paperless and more mobile oriented. We have our own service team to facilitate the maintenance functions, a call center to coordinate between customers and technicians, and a customer relations team to assist customers’ demands.
Your company has a commitment to the 3Rs concept consisting of “Reduce”, “Reuse” and “Recycle” which is said to strictly encompass all operations of Ditto, can you explain better how this concept fits into your business?
We started off as a family business so we’re careful at every step we take, every resource we employ and every factor comes into the picture. The 3Rs is not new to us; being environmentally friendly is one of our core values in doing business.
We provide photocopy machines imported from the United States and Japan, which are then reconditioned in our factory before they’re delivered to customers. These photocopiers were destined for the landfill and they have not been used for more than three years. We consider these machines to be of value here in Thailand, where the typical life cycle of a photocopier is usually longer than five years. Hence, we are a part of the electronic garbage “reuse” process. This benefit passes on to customers as they have a chance to use photocopiers to facilitate their work and at a reduced cost, they’ll have no worries when the machine breaks down. We’re proud of this mutual interest business concept where we can do business that leads to benefits for the customers in terms of operating costs saved.
In addition to the hardware side, we have invested to provide software solutions that manage electronic documents for the whole company. These solutions can speed up the working process and cut back the time wasted on waiting for the documents to be approved in a hardcopy. We decided to develop this solution as it can help to dramatically reduce paper work within an organization.
As for our behind the scenes processes, there is no industrial waste lying around the factory premises as everything will be sorted and stored. A recycling plant will then take the waste. This concept extends to little things like documents reuse within the office area; we have small boxes to separate between paper to be reused and paper to be recycled. Lights and computer screens are always off during lunch and a save water campaign was released to encourage the team not to waste water resources.
We provide simple solutions that change the way things are done. We may be a small organization but we never get tired of practicing the “green” concept. All these activities we do as a part of our business shows society that it is possible to go green.
What inspired you to implement this?
Earth’s climate and other environmental issues are factors influencing our 3Rs implementation in our factory and office. We see ourselves as a tiny force that might not have much impact but at least we chose to take some actions.
What are the biggest challenges your company faced when it comes to implementing the sustainable practices?
Gaining trust from customers is difficult when people perceive you as a factory that sells secondhand photocopiers. So what we do to gain trust is to provide good quality products, superb service and being fair to customers. Fair and honesty is as important as product quality; we continuously improve our service standard in order to facilitate customers as much as possible.
Cooperation from employees is also one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish. Change is usually not easily accepted as they feel their life routines have been altered and they will do whatever to resist changes. However, at Ditto, we work together in harmony, which allows us to communicate easily and encouraging the concept is not that difficult. What is more difficult than implementing is to maintain activities required to achieve a successful 3R and sustainability practices. As such, we do campaigns to encourage employees on a regular basis.
Having been adopting this 3Rs concept for almost 15 years, in your opinion, how do companies in Asia in general and particularly in Thailand adapt to green business practices?
Most of the companies are not quite aware of the green business ideas. It is probably because they might think that this is not related to them when in reality. However, in fact, it is a big matter for everyone when we all use the same resources on the same planet.
What are the key issues that need to be addressed to promote such practices in business?
What needs to be concerned is how a corporate defines green practices or 3Rs. All activities should be done under 3Rs policy and everyone should understand what 3Rs is really is.
What role can governments play in encouraging businesses to have green efforts?
Governments need to recognize how urgent it is to pay more attention to natural resources that are now being endangered by human activities. Many policies unnecessarily promote pollution and carbon emissions. The government should spearhead these initiatives and be a role model to corporate entities. Educating people of the concept, ideas, and processes is also important in order to create awareness in society.
Thank you very much for joining us.
This interview was conducted for The Columnist, a newsletter by Consulus that offers ideas on business, design and world affairs. The views expressed in this article are those of the interviewee and do not necessarily reflect the views of Consulus.
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