RECENTLY, ALMOST 300 VOLUNTEERS PLANTED 10,000 TREES IN A SINGLE DAY
In the past Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany employees have often discovered that directly taking on social responsibility in this way isn’t easy. That’s why they adopted a new approach in 2015.
Panya Kitcharoenkankul’s colleagues are seeing a completely new side of their managing director as he kneels on the jungle floor wearing a soiled white T-shirt and with dirt on his face. Mr. Panya, as he is correctly addressed, wipes the sweat off his brow with the back of his hand. It’s hot in the rainforest and Panya, who is the head of Merck KGaA, Darmstadt, Germany, in Thailand, still has a lot to do. “I’ve planted at least 50 trees already,” he says during a short break. “But I won’t leave until we’ve finished our work here.”
Panya wants to counter a development that has devastated his homeland for decades: the rapid clearance of Thailand’s tropical rainforests. According to the environmental protection organization WWF, logging has destroyed more than 40% of the Southeast Asian country’s forests since the mid-1970s. This development has had serious consequences for Thailand’s environment and its population. Together with his team, Panya wants to show that this trend is not irreversible.