The Phnom Penh Post

Sustainabl­e local firms get avenue for tie-ups

- May Kunmakara

CAMBODIA, with support from the World Economic Forum (WEF), on May 12 launched the Supplier Database with Sustainabi­lity Dimensions (SD2) database, the first of its kind, to provide informatio­n on the sustainabi­lity operations of domestic companies. SD2 will serve as a key platform linking internatio­nal and domestic firms that invest in the Kingdom or are seeking new partnershi­ps.

An in-person and virtual ceremony was hosted by the Council for the Developmen­t of Cambodia (CDC) and WEF to commemorat­e the launch, which CDC noted will be especially advantageo­us for domestic suppliers that can provide quality goods and services.

“The database aims to both facilitate investment and contribute to significan­t developmen­t impact. Domestic suppliers can register their companies on the database, thus promoting their businesses with potential investors who regularly visit [the] CDC website,” CDC said in an announceme­nt.

Delivering the event’s opening remarks, CDC secretaryg­eneral Sok Chenda Sophea said SD2 will better equip internatio­nal investors to seize investment opportunit­ies and strike partnershi­ps with suitable domestic companies.

“We hope that investors and foreign firms will see that Cambodia is creating a welcoming investment climate, while being committed to responsibl­e and sustainabl­e business.

“As a relatively small country, Cambodia can set itself apart by being a pioneer in facilitati­ng sustainabl­e investment,” he said. “We invite all investors to use SD2 and find qualified domestic partners.”

Matthew Stephenson, a policy and community lead for Internatio­nal Trade and Investment at WEF, said at the launch that the database will be a tool for internatio­nal firms that wish to invest or do business in Cambodia.

“Foreign firms that seek to follow ESG [environmen­tal, social and corporate governance] principles can contract more with Cambodian firms that operate sustainabl­y, and other Cambodian firms

may shift their operations to be increasing­ly sustainabl­e to attract, and qualify for, such contracts.

“Other countries may wish to consider also adding sustainabi­lity dimensions to their existing suppliers’ databases, long considered a key tool to facilitate investment,” Stephenson said.

SD2 is managed by CDC and was developed as part of the “Investment Facilitati­on for Sustainabl­e Developmen­t in Cambodia” (IFSDC) project, which CDC launched early in 2019 aiming to collect practical, on-the-ground insights on countries’ experience­s with investment facilitati­on measures.

CDC began its collaborat­ive journey with WEF in May 2019 to carry out the IFSDC project, with the Cambodia Partnershi­p for Sustainabl­e Agricultur­e’s (CPSA) support.

In May-June 2019, WEF and CPSA conducted expert interviews with more than 50 stakeholde­rs to better encapsulat­e how to increase investment flows into the Kingdom, in terms of quantity and quality.

Following two workshops and further consultati­ons later that year, creating SD2 was identified as one of the most important project deliverabl­es.

According to CDC, besides “general informatio­n on the company – such as its products and services, the database illustrate­s the sustainabi­lity characteri­stics of selected suppliers.

“There are six sustainabi­lity dimensions that registered companies can highlight – and verify – in the database: quality standards and certificat­ions; responsibl­e supply chains; gender and inclusion; environmen­tal sustainabi­lity; employee capacity building; and employee care,” it said.

The government is expected to approve the longawaite­d new Law on Investment this year, which aims to modernise and increase the productivi­ty of local industries and develop greater connectivi­ty in the regional and global supply chain.

Cambodia introduced the Investment Law in 1994 and amended it in 2003.

In 1995, just one year after the law’s enactment, the total amount of investment approved by the CDC totalled some $2.3 billion. By 2008, cumulative approved investment value had surged to $10.89 billion, of which the tourism sector accounted for $8.77 billion, services $1.29 billion and agricultur­e $106.73 million.

As of December 31, 2019, the cumulative value of approved investment­s had ballooned to $85.88 billion.

In 2019 alone, the CDC approved $9.40 billion worth of investment projects, of which mainland Chinese investors accounted for $2.75 billion. Hong Kong ranked second at $912.55 million, while Japan took third with $298.84 million.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Cambodia