“Suntory PepsiCo” and "Raks Thai Foundation" join forces with upstream watershed communities in driving forward with the 3rd consecutive watershed forest preservation and rehabilitation projects
September 6, 2021
Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Company Limited, manufacturer and distributor of Suntory and PepsiCo beverage brands in Thailand, is aware of the importance of water resources as "Water" is an essential to human life and considered to be the heart of our business operation. The Company is therefore committed to continue water resources preservation projects under the "Mizu To Ikiru" or "Living with Water" promise. The projects are being implemented through collaboration with the Raks Thai Foundation and local communities in watershed forest areas of Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province, continuing sustainable watershed forest preservation projects for the third consecutive year.
"Watershed forest" is not only a naturally occurring water source that helps maintaining moisture and preventing forest degradation and soil erosion, but it is also considered the origin of the water that nourishes all living beings in the ecosystem. That is the reason why Suntory PepsiCo Thailand has been partnering with Raks Thai Foundation in an effort to promote the watershed forest preservation and rehabilitation through various projects in Mae Chaem District, Chiang Mai Province. The goal is the sustainable rehabilitation of the ecosystem of Mae Suek Basin, the important source of Mae Chaem and Mae Ping river which is part of the origin of the Chao Phraya River that has long nourished the livelihood of Thai people through the course of history. However, in the past the Mae Suek Basin has been damaged by monoculture especially from corn-farming for livestock resulting in soil erosion and transformation of fertile forest to bald mountains. Nevertheless, the determination of Suntory PepsiCo Thailand since 2019 has facilitated collaborations of local communities for a sustainable solution. The company has rendered support to local communities in the Mae Suek Basin for the construction of check dams and improvement of the existing check dams, totaling 1,639. This is to reduce soil erosion and increase the moisture of watershed forests. Plus, vetiver grass planting has been supported to nourish the soil and more than 95 rai of land has been planted. In addition, the company has been working together with communities in planting trees in the Mae Suek area covering 588 rai of land and built over 40 kilometers of natural firebreak lines to serve as a defensive line for extinguishing forest fires. At the same time, Suntory PepsiCo Thailand has supported the budget for the construction of mountain waterworks systems for 5 villages and 1 school. This endeavor is helping elevate the quality of life for people in the area by providing access to clean water sources.
Mr. Ashish Joshi, Chief Executive Officer, Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Company Limited stated that, "Suntory PepsiCo Thailand is committed to continue the Mizu To Ikiru" or "Living with Water" promise, turning it into concrete practice through our business operation which emphasizes the value of water and conduction of holistic water resource preservation projects from upstream to downstream through various approaches in different areas. The watershed forest preservation project is one of initiatives that we value and have been consistently driving forward for the past three years. In 2021, we have also supported the Mae Suek Community in the construction of more than 197 check dams, the vetiver grass planting of 19 rai of land, and the development of a clean water system for one village. Suntory PepsiCo Thailand remains committed to continuing the watershed forest preservation projects and will continue to expand the projects to other areas, which emphasize the company's vision of "Growing for Good."
While Miss Supornthip Choungrangsee, Board Member of Raks Thai Foundation, added that, "Raks Thai Foundation is glad to have this partnership with Suntory PepsiCo Beverage (Thailand) Company Limited on the watershed forest preservation projects since 2019. At the same time, the Foundation is fully aware that preservation of watershed forest would not benefit the ecosystem sustainably without the contribution from local communities. That is why we have worked with more than 15,500 villagers in the Mae Suek area to restore the watershed forest in the area which serves as the natural resource for their communities. The Foundation is confident that the collective cooperation of people in local communities along with the sacrifice, the strength, and the unity of all concerned will lead to the sustainable preservation of watershed forests."
"The watershed forest is vital like our heart because it is the source of food for us, the habitat for animals, and also the origin of water sources. If there is a forest, so we will survive. That's why we are so glad that Suntory PepsiCo Thailand realizes this importance. Almost 95 households benefited from the company's watershed forest preservation projects through collective learning, which builds up understanding and makes us realize how important the preservation is and passing this to the next generation.", Mr. Duangjan Thammachartmanee, Village Chief of Moo 12, Mae Suek Sub-District, emphasizing the importance of watershed forest preservation.