Businesses and investments have played an important role in social and economic development in Cambodia over the past decades. In 2016 alone, the total investments of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) across the sectors was about USD 2.28 billion which was 10.7% of Cambodia’s GDP (FDI Scoping Study – Oxfam 2018). This value of investments has made a lot of impact to social, economic, and environment in Cambodia. If those businesses performed inclusively, responsibly, and had the vision to contribute to Cambodia and as well as the Sustainable Development Goals, it would bring sustainable and inclusive growth for Cambodia. Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is one of the tool makes businesses become inclusive and responsible.
Oxfam in Cambodia has been working to promote responsible businesses and investments by engaging private sectors of which businesses and investments to some extent have impacted on people and environment.
Over the past months, I have delivered two sessions on Social Corporate Responsibility (CSR) concept to at least 12 private companies from different sectors such as construction, agribusiness, and water and sanitation (WASH) in two different workshops. The first session was at the Refresher Training for Construction companies on Gender and Women Worker Rights in Construction Sector on 19th September 2018 at Sunway Hotel, organized by CARE with 14 participants, the representatives of various construction companies such as Mong Rethy Group, Hassan Cambodia Development , LT Construction, Archetype, Home Master Concrete, 5 Bright Siblings, and L Construction. The second sharing was at Innovation Against Poverty project Learning Workshop on 05th October 2018 at Park Café Restaurant, organised by SNV with 20 participants, from different companies such as Signature of Asia, LyLy Food Industries, AMK (E-market platform team), WE Venture, Sanitary Enterprise, Cambox Enterprise.
CSR is a relatively new concept in Cambodia. Most of businesses and stakeholders are not fully aware of the importance of CSR as a tool to increase competitiveness at both the organizational and industry levels. “Social Responsibility is not about charity. It is about the business taking care of people, social and environment”, said Mr. Richarch Welford, Director of CSR Asia. There was missed interpretation of CSR in Cambodia as charity and sharing the profit of the companies or donations from companies for social works etc. The real concept about CSR are about the business that take into account of people, prosperity and planets. It is about sustainable business, responsible business, corporate sustainability, corporate responsibility, and corporate citizenship.
During the sharing sessions, I shared about a 9 minute video clip on what is CSR and the experiences of some companies which have applied CSR when they the started the businesses. It was clear to participants what is about CSR and they were interested to learn more about the CSR and interested to make changes in their businesses to be socially and environmentally responsible. And, the sharing session can be found in the video clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rjyoun0n2ro.
Oxfam has initiated CSR platforms in Cambodia since 2015. Currently the CSR platform Cambodia has 44 members and the majority of the members are from private companies from different sectors.