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Corporate Responsibility or a Marketing Stunt Part 3

22 November 2011:   Swadeshi / Home economy

I know you probably think I have dragged this out far too long now but I am glad to say this is my third and final blog on Corporate Responsibility or a marketing stunt.

I had the absolute honor in meeting with the staff at the Thai Tribal Crafts (TTC) and the hill tribe communities.  TTC’s aim is to raise the economic level of the tribal people of Northern Thailand by giving regular orders at fair trade prices, increasing their market opportunities, and providing knowledge in business principles.

The question I kept asking myself was “are the TTC really contributing to the hill tribes welfare or corrupting their domestic economy?”

I believe they are providing a reactive solution rather than a proactive one.  My suggestion would be for the hill tribes to adopt Ghandi’s swadeshi or home economy.

According to the principle of swadeshi, whatever is made or produced in the village must be used first and foremost by the members of the village. Trading among villages and between villages and towns should be minimal, like icing on the cake. Goods and services that cannot be generated within the community can be bought from elsewhere.

Swadeshi avoids economic dependence on external market forces that could make the village community vulnerable. It also avoids unnecessary, unhealthy, wasteful, and therefore environmentally destructive transportation. The village must build a strong economic base to satisfy most of its needs, and all members of the village community should give priority to local goods and services.

But who am I say what is right or wrong.  If you want to share my opinion than I invite you to experience what I have at ground level.

In all, I would like to finish by expressing my sincere appreciation to Thai Tribal Crafts (www.ttcrafts.co.th) for taking the time out of their busy schedule to take us personally to the hill tribes, our CSR partner Aimi Duong from Oimei Co (www.oimeico.com), Chatchai Aphibanpoonpon for providing the translations and finally our very own Suchada Larpkittavorn for making the CSR trip possible.

To end CSR with a quote:  “Many a friendship — long, loyal, and self-sacrificing — rested at first upon no thicker a foundation than a kind word.” — Frederick W. Faber

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Simon Osborne

Chief Brand Officer & Director