With the belief that leading companies have a vital role to play in the overall development of the Kingdom of Cambodia, Kulara Water Co., Ltd. is putting ressource protection, product quality and employee welfare at the forefront of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.
Founded in 2013, Kulara Water has become Cambodia’s number one mineral water brand in less than five years. Thanks to the balance of its mineral content and its unique positioning, it is now a household name both among Cambodians and expatriates. In fact, by the end of 2018, Kulara Water has increased sales by 35 percent when compared to the previous year.
While there are a total of six guiding principles in its overall CSR framework, Kulara Water believes that the company’s sustainability rely heavily on high-quality products and employee involvement.
“At Kulara Water, we care about two main things: first, to be able to bring something new in the country, with a strong commitment to quality. We also care about giving back to the community,” its managing director Dr Jacques Marcille told Khmer Times in a recent interview. The company expresses its social commitment mainly through the creation of sustainable jobs for the villagers who live around the Kulen Mountain, where its mineral water product Eau Kulen is sourced and bottled.
Considering the income status and educational background of the villagers, Kulara Water continuously provides a fair remuneration, training, promotion and internal mobility to ensure the development of its employees’ skills.
Aside from providing English and Khmer classes to its staff, other programmes under its value-creation model include sending two teams of Kulara Water technicians to Parma and Venice in Italy last year to transfer technical expertise.
“Motivation, wellbeing and involvement of all our employees play a key role in the success of our mineral water. Our fair wage policy, which is probably unique in Cambodia, is one of the pillars of our development and growth,” Dr Marcille said.
With an upcoming launch of its new carbonated water dubbed Kulara Water in October, the company will continue to uphold its vision of contributing back to local communities by creating 15 new job opportunities.
Dr Marcille said Kulara Water is also proud to have one of the lowest turnovers in the Kingdom. Illustrating his point, he added only two out of the 40 first employees had left the company since 2013.
“Of the 40 employees who participated in the creation of the company, 38 people are still present and some have been able to develop their career significantly within the company,” he said. “Today, we have 96 direct employees – 93 of which are locals and only 3 expatriates.”
Dr Marcille said Kulara Water also has a unique reforestation programme. To protect its mineral water from being contaminated by external pollutants, the company has bought 38 ha of land surrounding its source where 3,800 trees have been planted, as of last year.
“In view of deforestation, we have drawn up a list of endangered species in the region and we have decided to plant more than 7,200 trees on these lands that we control,” he said. Thanks to a strong partnership with the Archaeology and Development Foundation, Kulara Water’s reforestation programme also aims to build awareness on resource protection, land regeneration and biodiversity conservation. Three primary schools and about 400 kids in Phnom Kulen are involved in the company’s programme.