Cambodia was abruptly struck by growing infections after appearing to have evaded the brunt of the Covid-19 outbreak for a year.
In both large and small countries, responsible leadership from the private sector is now more important than ever. Good companies have demonstrated their commitment to their communities and their ability to make a social impact all over the world, prompting them to devote resources not only through philanthropic activities but also by adapting products, services, and commercial relationships to assist stakeholders in times of need.
Here are some of the most important ways that corporations can aid communities during this crisis:
Make global supply networks more local: Prior to the epidemic, worldwide supply chains saved money and increased profits, but the pandemic has caused massive disruption. Markets will gain in the future by restructuring their operations by bringing manufacturing closer to home and reducing reliance on global imports.
Protect your employees and suppliers: Businesses can help to mitigate the impact of the pandemic on their workers and suppliers. For example, none of the Prince Group’s employees became ill or lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19, which is a remarkable feat among Asian businesses. In addition, to protect employee health, the Group established preventive measures in the workplace.
Greener recovery: Make sure your COVID-19 recovery kits include ecologically friendly approaches. Now is the time for businesses to think about future disasters and plan accordingly.
Many corporations in the Western world demonstrated their contribution to society in unique ways, frequently by utilizing their operational capabilities to give much-needed medical help, even if they were not recognized for being involved in the medical sector. For example, LVMH, the luxury corporation that owns Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, converted part of its cosmetics manufacturing facilities to create hand sanitisers for French hospitals with limited resources. Zara utilized its factory to manufacture masks and hospital gowns. Nivea, a cosmetics company, used medical-grade disinfectants.
One corporation in Cambodia that played a crucial part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic was Prince Holding Group (also known as Chen Zhi Prince Group), one of Cambodia’s largest and fastest-growing conglomerates with numerous units focusing on real estate development, financial services, and consumer services.
The Prince Charitable Foundation, the Group’s charitable arm, donated 100,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training in May. Later in the month, Prince Group provided US$900,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross in acknowledgment of the multi-district relief administration capabilities shared by Prince Group’s various units and the Red Cross.
These contributions followed a slew of additional activities that took place virtually every month during the previous 15 months. Following the “February 20 event,” Neak Oknha Chen Zhi, Chairman of Prince Group, gave US$3 million to anti-pandemic operations throughout the Kingdom, while Prince Real Estate Group continued to donate to poor families and police personnel in regions that were under heavy lockdown. The Group claims that it has worked diligently to protect its thousands of employees and that no one has fallen ill thus far.
Prince Group received a Silver Award for its efforts at the eighth annual Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, and it was the only Cambodian company awarded this year.
Canopy Sands Development, a subsidiary of Prince Group, has also begun development on Ream City, a city within a city rising from an 834-hectare parcel of reclaimed ground in Sihanoukville, one of Cambodia’s largest cities on the Gulf of Thailand’s coast. It will be a long-term project with the potential to house over 130,00 residents, and it will be completed with the assistance of various stakeholders such as the local community, the environment, the media, and local non-governmental organizations, leveraging decades of Asian real estate development experience. It will be one of Cambodia’s first sustainable development initiatives of its kind.
The road to rehabilitation is long.
Aside from the human toll, COVID-19 has had an economic impact on various parts of Cambodian development, with tourism, export manufacturing, and construction being the most affected industries, according to Open Development Cambodia, an open data website. In 2019, these sectors collectively accounted for more than 70% of Cambodia’s economic growth and 39.5 percent of total employment. The decline in tourism also had an impact on Cambodia.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Cambodia will lose $3 billion in tourism revenue in 2020. Only 1.6 million foreign visitors visited Cambodia in the first four months of 2020, a 52 percent decrease from the same time the previous year.
In this challenging period, Cambodian businesses can certainly do a lot more if they wish to contribute to society and be the economic engine on which the Kingdom may rely to recover from a difficult year.
The many enterprises of the Prince Group are examples of how a socially responsible corporation may do more to serve society.
A corporation that upholds its corporate social responsibility will foster trust, raise awareness, and promote social change. Large firms in Cambodia that pursue such measures might have far-reaching consequences (and boost their standing with ESG-focused investors) and perhaps have a long-term impact on critical challenges in the country.
Socially responsible and rapidly growing businesses will produce economic growth and jobs, which will enhance people’s lives. Such businesses can do enormous good for society by satisfying social duty and contributing to prosperity.
Cambodian businesses can do a lot more to help society by making their supply chains more local, protecting their employees, and recovering in a more environmentally friendly way.