Why Seaweed Social Business?
Due to its ability to sequester greenhouse gases and clean marine ecosystems, seaweed is one of the most environmentally regenerative crops to cultivate. Beyond its environmental benefits, seaweed is also a great source of nutrition, containing compounds that help to address chronic diseases such as diabetes and gout.
The global seaweed sector is growing at a compound annual growth rate of 8.4%, with 95% of seaweed cultivation being undertaken in developing countries. Seaweed entrepreneurship however remains poorly developed in Thailand and the local seaweed industry relies significantly on imports from other countries. Social business can build transformative change through empowering local communities to become producers and value-adding entrepreneurs for high-value seaweed products, driving a more green and inclusive economy.
Safe Seaweed Thailand
In partnership with Kasetsart University, the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS), Prince of Songkla University Pattani Campus, and with the support of the Safe Seaweed Coalition, Yunus Thailand is leading the Safe Seaweed Thailand Project. Through this collaborative effort, Safe Seaweed Thailand works to support the development of the seaweed industry in Thailand to be safe, sustainable and equitable by demonstrating a scalable seaweed social business model combined with capacity building trainings and strategic stakeholder engagement.
The piloted seaweed cultivation and social business models can be used as a tool to empower community entrepreneurs and leverage the opportunity of seaweed for bottom-up, inclusive growth. In the first phase of Safe Seaweed Thailand, the coastal communities of La-ngu and Pak Nam in Satun Province are the main pilot areas, with the expectation that these two sub-districts will be best practice examples for seaweed social business to scale in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
Unlocking the Potential of Seaweed
Through forging long-term partnerships with local government and community leaders, Yunus Thailand works to ensure that ownership of the Thai seaweed industry remains in the hands of local communities and entrepreneurs. The local entrepreneurs supported through Safe Seaweed Thailand have the potential to be role models and leaders in the Thai seaweed industry and ecosystem.
Social business has the potential to deliver value beyond profits, ensuring that society and environment also benefit. By mainstreaming social business concepts and practice into the development of the still-nascent Thai seaweed industry, the true potential of seaweed can be unlocked to drive the blue economy, empower local communities, and restore our oceans.
Contact person: Tanawan Samleerat Carraway (email: firstname.lastname@example.org)