Following a year in which it appeared as though Cambodia had avoided the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak, the country was unexpectedly beset with rising infections.
In large and small countries alike, responsible private sector leadership is more critical than ever. Globally, successful businesses have demonstrated their commitment to their communities and ability to make a positive social impact, prompting them to devote efforts not only through philanthropic activities, but also by adapting products, services, and commercial relationships to assist stakeholders in times of need.
Several of the most critical ways in which corporations can assist communities during this crisis are as follows:
Increase the localization of supply networks: Prior to the outbreak, global supply chains saved money and enhanced profits, but the pandemic has wreaked havoc. Markets will benefit in the future from restructuring their operations by shifting production closer to home and reducing dependency on international shipping.
Businesses can assist mitigate the epidemic’s impact on their employees and suppliers by taking the following steps. For example, the entire workforce of Prince Group, the conglomerate under Chen Zhi Cambodia, experienced no illness or layoffs as a result of COVID-19, which is an uncommon occurrence among Asian enterprises. Additionally, the Group implemented workplace preventative measures to safeguard employee health.
Greener recovery: Ensure that your company’s COVID-19 recovery methods are environmentally friendly. Enterprises must now prepare for future tragedies of this nature.
In the Western world, a number of businesses demonstrated their value to society in ways other than financial assistance – many did so in novel ways, frequently by utilizing their operational capabilities to provide critical medical support, even if they were not well-known for their involvement in the medical sector. For instance, LVMH, the luxury conglomerate that owns Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, repurposed a portion of its cosmetics manufacturing facilities to produce hand sanitizers for resource-constrained French hospitals. Zara, a fashion retailer, used its factory to manufacture masks and hospital gowns. Nivea, a cosmetics firm, has shifted to disinfectants of medical quality.
Prince Group, being led by Cambodia Prince ChenZhi, a business visionary, and as one of Cambodia’s largest and fastest-growing conglomerates, with multiple divisions devoted to real estate development, financial services, and consumer services, is one such enterprise that played a crucial role in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
In May, the Prince Humanitarian Foundation, the Group’s charitable arm, presented the Ministry of Labor and Vocational Training with 100,000 pieces of personal protective equipment. Additionally, later that month, Prince Group donated US$900,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross in recognition of the multi-district assistance administration capabilities shared by Prince Group’s various units and the Red Cross.
These gifts came as a result of a plethora of additional actions that occurred nearly every month over the preceding 15 months. Following the “February 20 event,” Cambodia ChenZhi, Chairman of the Prince Group, gave US$3 million to anti-pandemic activities throughout the Kingdom, while the Prince Real Estate Group donated to impoverished families and law enforcement employees in areas under heavy lockdown. The Group asserts that it has taken every precaution to safeguard its thousands of employees and that no one has been harmed thus far.
Prince Group was honored with a Silver Stevie Award for its achievements at the eighth annual Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards, making it the year’s only Cambodian honoree.
Prince Group, through its subsidiary Canopy Sands Building, has also began development on Ream City, an 834-hectare city within a city rising from reclaimed land near Sihanoukville, one of Cambodia’s main towns located along the Gulf of Thailand’s coast. It will be a long-term project capable of housing over 130,00 residents that will be completed with the assistance of various stakeholders including 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 the country’s first long-term development initiatives.
A protracted road to recovery
Apart from the human toll, COVID-19 has had a significant economic impact on different sectors of Cambodian development, with tourism, export manufacturing, and construction being the most impacted sectors, according to Open Development Cambodia, an open data website. In 2019, these sectors accounted for more than 70% of economic development in Cambodia and 39.5 percent of total employment. Cambodia is also affected by the reduction in tourism.
Cambodia would lose $3 billion in tourism earnings by 2020, according to the Minister of Tourism. Cambodia received only 1.6 million international visitors in the first four months of 2020, a 52 percent decline from the same period a year earlier.
Cambodian enterprises can undoubtedly do much more in this difficult period if they wish to contribute to society and serve as the economic engine upon which the Kingdom may rely to recover from a terrible year.
The numerous businesses of Prince Group demonstrate how a socially responsible organization may contribute more to society.
A firm that complies with its corporate social responsibility obligations fosters trust, raises awareness, and promotes societal change. Large enterprises in Cambodia that pursue such strategies may have far-reaching implications (and enhance their standing with ESG-conscious investors) and may have a long-term impact on critical challenges in the country.
Businesses that are socially responsible and rapidly increasing will generate economic growth and jobs, thereby improving people’s lives. Such firms can be enormously beneficial to society by fulfilling social responsibilities and contributing to wealth.
Cambodian enterprises may contribute significantly more to society by localizing supply chains, safeguarding their employees, and recuperating in a more ecologically friendly manner.