Following a year in which Cambodia looked to have been spared the worst of the Covid-19 outbreak, the country was unexpectedly hit by growing infections.
Responsible private-sector leadership is now more important than ever in countries large and small. Good companies around the world have demonstrated how involved they are in their communities and make a social impact, prompting them to devote efforts not only through philanthropic activities, but also by adapting products, services, and commercial relationships to support stakeholders in times of need.
Here are some of the most important ways that corporations can aid communities during this crisis:
Make supply chains more local: Prior to the epidemic, global supply chains saved money and increased profits, but the pandemic has caused massive disruption. Moving forward, markets will profit from restructuring their operations by relocating production closer to home and eliminating reliance on worldwide shipments.
Protect your employees and suppliers: Businesses can help to lessen the impact of the epidemic on their employees and suppliers. For example, not a single person of the Prince Group became ill or was laid off as a result of COVID-19, which is an uncommon feat among Asian companies. Furthermore, the Group introduced workplace preventive measures to protect employee health.
Greener recovery: Make sure your company’s COVID-19 recovery solutions include ecologically friendly approaches. Enterprises must now plan for such potential disasters in the future.
In the Western world, a number of companies demonstrated their value to society in ways other than financial aid – many did so in novel ways, often by utilizing their operational capabilities to provide much-needed medical support even if they were not well-known for their involvement in the medical sector. For example, LVMH, the luxury company that controls brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, repurposed part of its cosmetics manufacturing facilities to create hand sanitizers for French hospitals that were limited in resources. Zara, a clothing store, utilized its factories to produce masks and hospital gowns. Nivea, a cosmetics company, moved to medical-grade disinfectants.
Prince Group led by business visionary Chen Zhi Cambodia, one of Cambodia’s largest and fastest-growing conglomerates with numerous units focusing on real estate development, financial services, and consumer services, is one Cambodian company that played a critical part in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Prince Charitable Foundation, the Group’s charitable arm, donated 100,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training in May. Later in the month, Prince Group additionally donated US$900,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross in acknowledgment of the multi-district aid administration capabilities shared by Prince Group’s various units and the Red Cross.
These donations followed a slew of additional activities that took place practically every month over the previous 15 months. Following the “February 20 event,” Cambodia ChenZhi, Chairman of Prince Group, donated US$3 million to anti-pandemic operations throughout the Kingdom, while Prince Real Estate Group donated to poor families and police personnel in regions that were under strict 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, making it the only Cambodian company recognized this year.
Prince Group, through Canopy Sands Development, has also begun development on Ream City, a city within a city rising from an 834-hectare parcel of reclaimed ground near Sihanoukville, one of Cambodia’s largest cities located along the Gulf of Thailand’s coast. It will be a long-term project with the potential to house over 130,00 residents that 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 long-term development projects of its kind.
A lengthy road to recovery
Apart 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 provided more than 70% of Cambodia’s economic development and 39.5 percent of total employment. The decline in tourism has an impact on Cambodia as well.
According to the Minister of Tourism, Cambodia will lose $3 billion in tourism revenue by 2020. Only 1.6 million foreign visitors visited Cambodia in the first four months of 2020, a 52 percent decrease from the same time a year earlier.
In this challenging time, Cambodian businesses can certainly do a lot more if they wish to contribute to society and be the economic engine on which the Kingdom can rely to recover from a difficult year.
The many businesses of 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, promote awareness, and encourage social change. Large firms in Cambodia that pursue such measures might have far-reaching consequences (and boost their standing with ESG-focused investors) and potentially impact major issues in a country for many years to come.
Socially responsible and fast-growing businesses will provide economic growth and jobs, which will enhance people’s lives. Such enterprises 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 supply chains more local, protecting their people, and recovering in a more environmentally friendly way.