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Power Exclusive:
A Man with a Green Heart

By May 19, 2020 No Comments

Ravi Itiravivong, a green-hearted CEO of a new company under King Power Group who oversees the designing of green products, talks about upcycling as a way to create cool designs while also making use of resources to reduce waste.

STORY
SUKHUMAPORN LAIYOK

PHOTOGRAPHY
SUPACHAT VETCHAMALEENONT

Speaking of green initiatives to save the environment, most people think of reducing, reusing and recycling. There’s another alternative which is kind to the environment and is a popular idea among designers now, and that is upcycling, which essentially means using creativity to turn waste into something valuable.

We spoke to the passionate CEO Ravi Itiravivong of Multiply by Eight Co., Ltd., a new green initiative by King Power Group. The name is interesting, and the logo makes us want to get to know the brand even better. 

Ravi said that Multiply by Eight was established two years ago, aiming to follow the intention of King Power Group founder – Khun Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha – to establish King Power brand overseas. The company takes care of the brands and all the designs involved. 

“We want Multiply by Eight to continue the success of King Power. Number eight was Khun Vichai’s lucky number, so we used that in the name, and that’s the history of Multiply by Eight.” 

According to him, King Power has a total of six house brands. 

1. King Power Roll is a famous crispy roll brand popular among tourists and one of the top souvenirs for friends and family. It is King Power’s bestselling snack.
2. King Power Selection is a brand for Thai-style snacks.
3. Mahanakhon is a brand for lifestyle products which highlight unique Thai designs.
4. Mahanakhon SkyWalk is a premium souvenir and gift brand, selling popular gifts for foreign travellers.
5. LONGLAI is a leather brand offering cowhide and crocodile skin products in modern design with great quality.
6. Leicester City Football Club is a sportswear and accessories brand with cool and trendy pieces.

REDUCING WASTE AND TURNING WASTE INTO VALUE

Ravi said that he spent many years overseas and saw things from a wider perspective. There are many environmental lessons he has learned from his experience overseas, including environmental responsibility and being mindful of creating waste. This is good for the environment as well as people’s health. So, he wants Thailand to have this mindset as well, starting from within his organisation.   

King Power recognises the graveness of waste issues and the impact on the environment and people’s well-being. Speaking of waste issues, people usually think of waste sorting, but not so much of waste creation, especially plastic bags and bottles. Therefore, Multiply by Eight came up with an idea to design plastic shopping bags that are more eco-friendly. The bags are lightweight, durable and flexible. Ravi said that plastic bags are still necessary. 

“We can’t just stop using plastic bags, but what we can do is to ensure they are as environment-friendly as possible and do not create waste.”

The screening process uses eco-friendly soy ink instead of petroleum, and only uses one or two colours to minimise the mistakes. The bags are lighter and thinner to save transportation fuel, reduce pollution, and reduce plastic waste. 

Paper shopping bags are made with thinner paper without coating. The handles are made with naturally dyed nylon using food colouring to be kinder to the environment.

He added that the eco bag project has reduced the production cost by 50% annually. “We can all play our part in saving the world. I believe that each of us can contribute, starting from our everyday lives such as reducing the use of plastic bottles and plastic straws. These little changes may seem inconvenient in the beginning, but if you make it a habit and if we all do it together, it can cause a big impact.”

To reduce the amount of plastic waste, the Multiply by Eight team has tested out an idea to make drinking water packaged in aluminum can. The CEO explained that aluminum can be recycled directly back into itself over and over again in a true closed loop. 

“We may not be familiar with canned drinking water, but this format can actually reduce the amount of waste,” he said, holding up the canned drinking water that his company has designed and produced. “We tested the idea and offered the canned drinking water to our townhall participants, and this idea was very well-received.” He added that the company is studying the feasibility of producing aluminum bottles for more practical use. 

Multiply by Eight uses the upcycling concept to turn waste into valuable items using creativity to create attractive designs that make people want to use them again. This adds value to materials and prolongs the use, in turn reducing the amount of waste.

The key thing about upcycling is that the process should consume minimal energy and involve as little chemicals as possible in order to save the environment. The Multiply by Eight team uses cement bags and big bags from construction sites, which are normally discarded, to create unique designs with a touch of Thainess, resulting in cool shoulder bags under the brand Mahanakhon for tourists and consumers who seek something different and Thainess with a twist.   

“My intention is not to change the world, but as a design company, we can make this world a better place by creating products that minimally impact the environment. We can make things better wherever we stand, that’s what I believe in,” said Ravi. 

Before wrapping up the conversation, he thanked all his team members at Multiply by Eight for their hard work and dedication. 

“I want to thank every employee for their cooperation, especially Off (Paisan Laota), my design engineer who takes care of the design and coordination in the shopping bag project at King Power. Now I understand the importance of teamwork and how a great team can take you to success,” said the CEO.