As the inaugural European Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (EuroCham) Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Contest and Awards 2019 is set to take place, Khmer Times speaks with its Executive Director Mr. Blaise Kilian to find out more about the auspicious event taking place this June 26.
Modeled after the CSR Awards organised by the French Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur in Cambodia, Mr. Kilian said the event is mainly aimed at championing a matter close to EuroCham’s heart.
“We received many queries from both members and non-members about the CSR awards that were held by the French business community for the past 3 years. So we thought it would be interesting to emulate the model and upscale it to EuroCham’s size for all our members.
“CSR efforts, to us, corresponds well to the values that we are trying to promote. It is really our agenda to further promote CSR in Cambodia by engaging as many companies as we can to be a part of this. If the event proves to be successful, we will open the competition to all companies in the Kingdom in the future,” he told Khmer Times.
Out of over 30 applications, only 17 were shortlisted and they are: La Plantation, ATS, IDP Education, Libra Private Security, Chip Mong Insee, Thalias, Kulara Water, Knai Bang Chatt, Khmer Green Charcoal, Exo Travel, Artisans Angkor, DHL Express, PPCBank, Socfin Cambodia, Total Cambodge, Smart and Damco.
“These 17 companies represent 25 different CSR projects, as some submitted more than one application. They were shortlisted as they fulfilled all the requirements, some of which include having CSR programmes that are recently completed or still ongoing. We wanted to see projects which impacts can be demonstrated, nothing from over a year ago,” he explained.
Mr. Kilian reassures that the panel of juries appointed will remain independent in selecting a winner, adding that they include representatives from the EuroCham Board, the EuroCham Green Biz Committee, the Conseillers du Commerce Extérieur (CCE), UNIDO and the Academic sector.
He said the panel of judges is co-presided by His Excellency Sok Chenda Sophea, the Secretary General of CDC, and Mr. George Edgar, Ambassador of the European Union to Cambodia.
“First of all, we don’t pretend to know how best to measure the success and positive impacts of each of the company’s CSR programmes. That is why we have formed a panel of juries, composed of different key figures. For credibility purposes, the leadership of the EuroCham Board has absolutely no access to the evaluation process. Not even our Chairman,” he said.
Speaking further, Mr. Kilian said CSR initiatives not only boost a company’s reputation but also guarantees sustainability in the long run.
“The difference between CSR and charity is that the former involves investing in your company’s profitability, with the hopes that it will bring positive impacts to the society at large. While charity is also commendable, its one-off nature represents a pure cost and does not bring long term solutions to social issues in the country the company operates in.
“Aside from its impact on the company’s bottom line, CSR boosts visibility. It shows that a company is upholding strong values. This can attract strong business partners, shareholders and motivated employees,” he said.
He added that EuroCham is very excited to host its first CSR Contest and Awards 2019, and hopes that it will spark more interest in efforts that could benefit employees and the society.
“What we really want is to promote CSR-driven initiatives and hopefully have more and more companies emulate the good that their peers are doing. Take the chance to expand your business network under the values of CSR,” he said.