Social Entrepreneur And Generation T Honouree Peetachai Dejkraisak Has High Hopes For A Sustainable Future
“It is important to have a goal in life, something that inspires you to do great things,” says Peetachai Dejkraisak, CEO Siam Organic. His goal is to improve the lives of farmers through the better cultivation and international distribution of Jasberry rice.
The social enterprise entrepreneur named a Spark the Fire Champion at President Obama’s Entrepreneurship Summit (2016), and Chivas Venture (2017), explains that his idol in life is the late Thai environmentalist and social activist Sueb Nakhasathien. “I must have been 12 or 13 years old when Sueb did what he felt he had to do in order to focus attention on the plight of our forests. It is inspiring that his life has made a difference. His Huai Kha Khaeng Wildlife Sanctuary is now a world heritage property because of his sacrifice.”
Being a man with a mission is a challenge. “I have a degree in environmental engineering from Australia. With my training and business experience, I decided to embark on a journey to make a difference. I left my job as an investment banker eight years ago to work on what I really believe in—a social enterprise that benefits rural communities. When I started in 2011 I had 25 families involved in the Jasberry initiative. Together we boosted rice yields by improving on inefficiencies in agricultural practices and we sought to reduce the debts of the farmers. I provide training, financial education and market development in addition to pure organic seeds and fertilisers. Now I have over 2,500 families working with me, encompassing over 12,000 people. Creating a sustainable social enterprise that truly benefits such a large number of people is no easy task. It needs long-term commitment,” Peetachai explains.
Which is why he is excited about the work that the Swiss watch brand Rolex does through its Rolex Perpetual Planet campaign. “Rolex is a huge brand that certainly helps to garner a lot of attention. When a brand of this calibre gets involved in a commitment like this, heads will always turn and interest will always increase.
For Peetachai the Rolex Perpetual Planet campaign is a win-win for everyone. When the brand makes a difference, the employees are proud and the consumers are happy. These people, in turn, become strong advocates of the brand, providing a testament of its commitment to a better planet for everyone.
At the recent Rolex Perpetual Planet Symposium held in Singapore, Peetachai met Rolex Testimonee and world-renowned oceanographer Dr Sylvia Earle. “Dr Sylvia pointed out that the air we breathe and the water we drink comes primarily from the ocean. If you looked at Earth from space you will see that it is a blue planet. However, the oceans are choking because of our actions,” he laments. Peetachai also met fellow Rolex Testimonee and globally acclaimed underwater photographer, David Doubilet famed for his contributions to National Geographic. “It is critical to document the condition of the world's oceans and in particular to build up ‘Hope Spots’. These areas are protected marine zones that are expected to reverse the damage we have done to the planet. David’s work in showing us these Hope Spots and helping to raise awareness of their importance is critical.”
“I have hope for our future. The next five years are going to be vital. I don’t expect people to make drastic changes to their lifestyles. I only ask people to be mindful of their consumption. Just pay attention to what you eat and what you use. When you go to the convenience store, say no to plastics. When you eat, try a more vegetarian diet because it places less of a burden on the environment. We are all responsible for the condition of this world. Don’t rely on governments to be proactive. Change starts with all of us individually.”
Peetachai ends with a strong message that needs to be heeded. “Unless we do something, we will get the future we deserve—one that we should be ashamed to pass on to future generations.”