Thailand's business culture with its great emphasis on charity has meant companies have collaborated readily to provide effective flood relief
The flood disaster in Thailand has been the worst in half a century. Starting in early October, floodwaters from an exceptional rainy season flowed south through the country, affecting more than 3 million people and causing at least 595 deaths. Two months later, 2m households and countless businesses are still affected. In this time of crisis, the country and its flood victims need every bit of help they can get. A lot is coming from companies.
Thailand has a business culture that strongly emphasises charity. On top of that, a growing awareness of corporate social responsibility has led many companies to get involved.
Companies are contributing to flood relief efforts in several ways: they are donating funds, purchasing emergency food, water and other supplies, leveraging their business and client networks to raise funds, and contributing their core goods and services (including infrastructure and technical expertise).
Many companies have focused on the first two by giving money, food and water. This kind of support is critical in helping to meet immediate, essential needs. Yet at the same time, Thailand has also seen an impressive number of initiatives that fall into the latter two categories: companies have found innovative ways to leverage their networks and direct their core goods and services towards flood relief, often in partnership with others.
Some of the most interesting examples are from companies leveraging their core expertise. Cisco Systems, Rama Hospital and TOT, an internet provider, have joined forces to set up an online clinic to provide tele-health care services to patients in government flood relief centres. Google, Kasikorn Bank and CRM-C, computing consultancts, have linked up to offer a seminar series on how NGOs can use Google's platform for communications, organisation and information sharing – a service particularly welcome given that flooded offices mean staff are working from home and dispersed across various locations. Of course, Google's Bangkok Flood Map has been a big help too.