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Overseas Environmental Measures of Japanese Companies

Research Report on Trends in Environmental Considerations related to Overseas Activities of Japanese Companies FY 1998

March, 1999 Global Environmental Forum

How to Use This Book

This book consists of two chapters and appendices.Chapter 1 describes the environmental issues that Thailand now faces, and summarizes Thai laws and regulations on the environment.Chapter 2 presents case studies illustrating the practical measures being taken by Japanese companies in Thailand, particularly in the manufacturing industry, to safeguard the environment.The appendices provide useful information for gaining a deeper understanding of the issues raised.

Note that the term Japanese companies in Thailand as used in this book refers to corporate members of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce, Bangkok, irrespective of any special criteria such as the percentage of equity invested from Japan.

This book is designed so that each chapter, and each section within each chapter, can be read independently.Readers may select relevant information according to their particular needs.

The following describes how this book is organized.

Chapter 1 is divided into eight sections that present up-to-date information about Thailand's environmental problems, and laws and regulations:

  • Section 1: Thailand and Japanese Companies
  • Section 2: Current Environmental Issues in Thailand
  • Section 3: Environmental Policies in Thailand
  • Section 4: Industrial Pollution Controls and Regulations
  • Section 5: Water Pollution Management
  • Section 6: Air Pollution Management
  • Section 7: Hazardous Waste Management
  • Section 8: Environmental Impact Assessment in Thailand

Section 1 sketches the history of Japan's relationship with Thailand and the expansion of Japanese companies into the country.Section 2 describes specific environmental problems, such as water and air pollution, that affect Thailand at present.

The remaining sections in Chapter 1 explain and provide detailed information, categorized by topic, about the environmental laws and regulations that must be considered when formulating a corporate environmental management plan.Section 3 describes the structure of the environmental administrative system that Thailand has rapidly been putting into place in recent years.Section 4 summarizes the main features of seven laws, all related to the environment and with particular relevance to combating industrial pollution.Foremost among these laws is the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act, A.D.1992.

Sections 5, 6, and 7 outline legal mechanisms and regulatory standards in three areas - water pollution, air pollution, and hazardous waste - as essential aspects of industrial pollution control.The last section, Section 8, gives an overview of Thailand's Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) system.

The information in Chapter 1 was mainly compiled from interviews with officials of the Ministry of Science, Technology and Environment and Ministry of Industry, and from materials published by the Thai government.

In Chapter 2, Section 1 summarizes the features and methods by which Japanese companies in Thailand, particularly in the manufacturing sector, are attempting to protect the environment.This introduction is followed by sixteen examples of innovative environmental practices being carried out by the fourteen companies studied in the on-site survey.The case studies are divided into four sections::

  • Section 2: Cases of Meeting Strict Wastewater Standards (five examples)
  • Section 3: Cases of Establishing an Environmental Management System (five examples)
  • Section 4: Cases of Adopting Locally Tailored Environmental Practices (three examples)
  • Section 5: Other Examples of Innovative Environmental Practices (three examples)

Efforts by the manufacturing sector and other industries to protect the environment in Thailand are aimed primarily at controlling water pollution, which was therefore the main focus of the cases we selected.In addition, in Section 3, we included examples of setting up an environmental management system, reflecting the strong commitment among Japanese companies in Thailand in obtaining ISO 14001 certification and building environmental management systems.

The appendices include the following information as a reference.

  • [Appendix 1] Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act, B.E.2535, A.D.1992 (complete text)
  • [Appendix 2] Notification of the Ministry of Industry No.6, B.E.2540, A.D.1997 Prescribing Treatment of Hazardous Waste Substances (excerpt)
  • [Appendix 3] Current State of Environmental Practices of Japanese Companies in Thailand and Other Asian Countries
  • [Appendix 4] Sources of Environmental Information in Thailand and Japan

Appendix 1 is the Enhancement and Conservation of National Environmental Quality Act, discussed in Sections 3 and 4 of Chapter 1.Its complete text is included here for better understanding of the reader.Appendix 2 contains excerpts from the Notification of the Ministry of Industry, which sets out the precise requirements for hazardous wastes treatment.

The currency conversion rate used in this book is approximately 3.3 yen to one Thai baht, a rate as of February, 1999.In Thailand, a calendar year is officially expressed by B.E., which is converted to deducting 543.For example, B.E.2535 becomes A.D.1992 by deducting 543.