BCG Model for sustainable development by CMU

7 January 2022

Corporate Communication and Alumni Relations Center (CCARC)

Chiang Mai University introduces the BCG Model that integrates a proactive operation on three issues: (1) Food, Health and Elderly Care; (2) Environment and Energy; and (3) Creative Lanna, to drive the Medicopolis, Biopolis and Creative Lanna projects. The ‘Mae Hia BCG Model’ will serve as a model in balancing economic growth and natural resources that can be applied and adapted in different local contexts to achieve sustainable development.

The BCG model is a new economic development model that aims to create a balance between economic growth and natural resource sustainability. It is an important mechanism that drives the nation’s exponential growth while distributing opportunities and incomes, bringing wealth to all communities along with sustainable socio-economic development. BCG is composed of three key economies: B (Bioeconomy) which focuses on efficient bioresource use, C (Circular economy) which prioritizes the reuse of resources for maximum benefit, and G (Green economy) which aims at solving pollution problems to reduce environmental impact and sustainably.

Upon framing the CMU administration policy to be in line with the 2020 revision of the CMU Educational Development Plan, Phase 12 (2017-2021), which will be transitioning to Phase 13 this next year, the BCG model has been integrated with the university’s three proactive missions of Food, Health and Elderly Care; Environment and Energy; and Creative Lanna. These three proactive missions will be the main forces that drive the university’s operation through the CMU BCG Platform, comprised of three components - Medicopolis, Biopolis and Creative Lanna. Medicopolis is a city of medical innovation that improves the quality of life and boosts the local economy by building a healthy society, reducing inequality of access to technology and services, creating valuable research and innovation, and promoting local economic development through medical innovation. Biopolis is a center of research and innovation for BCG industry development. Creative Lanna is the centre of knowledge, art, culture and innovation that creatively champions Lanna folk wisdom.
To implement the BCG Model, the university has turned the Mae-Hia Agricultural Training and Research Centre into the ‘Mae Hia BCG Model’, which is a model for creating a balance between economic growth and natural resources. It is an integration of the three bodies of BCG knowledge related to geriatric medicine and food, combined with the notions of environment, energy and the creation of a high-value economy based on the Lanna culture.

The Mae Hia BCG Model is comprised of the upstream, the midstream and the downstream.

The Upstream focuses mainly on agriculture, both plant cultivation and animal husbandry.

The Midstream previously focused on processing agricultural products and creating add values using one-step processing technology, for instance, processing rice, grains and tapioca into flours. With deep knowledge and technology, the university has developed the innovation called ‘CMURL 1 - 3’ which has been incubated to a certain degree. Also, there have been extensions to the results of the processes related to the Midstream. As a result, several pilot projects have taken place in the Mae Hia area, for instance, a plant that extracts high-value substances into bio-based raw materials, which replaces the one-step processing technology. Value addition of raw materials is done through the purification process that extracts pure substances that have benefits in terms of medicine and functional food from materials such as cannabis. Advanced science is applied in the oil extraction process, allowing for the purification of different compounds with a greater degree of purity. When used in the medical context, they can be used in the development of new drugs in the future.

The Downstream involves environmental conservation in production processes. Agricultural production, from animal husbandry to plant cultivation, comes with agricultural wastes. These wastes can cause PM 2.5 if disposed of using traditional methods, hence the challenge of how these wastes can be reused and recycled. To address the issue, a pilot project has been initiated to manage wastes from agriculture and daily life, such as garbage in the community. At present, the CMU Mae Hia Farm is striving to pursue the zero-waste goal, which is a response to the challenge in environmental conservation, and promote a circular economy. That is, materials are reused and at the same time, wastes are recycled into bioenergy, or green energy that can be used again, thus reducing the operational costs.

CMU aims to use the Mae Hia Model as the BCG model for the public, proving that any location, no matter the size or type of local government, can adopt this model and make adaptations that would fit their local contexts.

CMU’s response to a new form of economy, the BCG Model, is the body of knowledge called CMURL 1-3 that develops deep knowledge and leads to pilot productions in the scope of CMURL 4-7 that are applied in the community in the scope of CMURL 8-9. In the end, the people and the society are the ones who benefit the most. Through the value addition of new economic plants, these new value-increasing processing methods will be the feedback of the real added values occurring in the community. Most importantly, the community will be free from pollutions and become self-dependent, leading to sustainable development.

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