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Champion in Sustainability and Community Development

Taing Rinith / Khmer Times Share:
Raising funds for new computers for local school at Chamkar Bei. Supplied

In the first ever CSR Award Networking Night hosted by European Chamber of Commerce (EuroCham) in June 2019, Knai Bang Chatt, a unique barefoot luxury resort in the coastal province of Kep, won the SME Category Outstanding Achievement Award, another recognition of its contribution to the environment and community development.

“We believe the difference (from other candidates) was that we have a full dedicated department for sustainability which is internationally audited and certified,” said Jef Moons, the founder and CEO of Knai Bang Chatt, when asked about the achievement.”

“Part of this certification requires a CSR element. We as a company are fully committed and dedicated to having this as a core part of our business.”

The resort is especially well known for its sustainable operations. Ten years after its curtains-up in 2004, Knai Bang Chatt became the first resort in Cambodia to be internationally certified gold through the Green Growth 2050 initiative (GG2050). All thanks to the company’s sustainable operations and best practices, sustainability management, pollution reduction and protection of bio-diversity.

In March this year, GG2050 completed its third annual audit, which resulted in Knai Bang Chatt rising to the highest level attainable under the standard, with an overall compliance level in excess of 91%. It means that that Knai Bang Chatt is now certified platinum.

“We have obtained the highest level of certification through the organisation that we work with, our goals and aims are to inspire others to do the same or similar work to what we do,” Jef says.

“We also hope to inspire the general community and we plan on offering workshops to people who are interested in learning more about how much they can make an impact.”

Meanwhile, Knai Bang Chatt’s CSR programme started a few years ago with the creation of their Hand-in-Hand project, which they invested more than $1 million to improve education, health, and livelihood opportunities for over 600 families in the neighbouring village of Chamcar Bei, some 15 kilometres from Kep.

“Our CSR program is self-generated and organic and ongoing projects of contributions are based on the needs and requirements of the community,” Jef explains.

In the next four years, the program grew to encompass a full sustainability initiative, inspired and created with the local community that the resort works and does business in, with the ultimate aim to make a positive impact on both human development and the environment.

Also as part of its CSR initiative, Knai Bang Chatt has provided its staff with good salaries, accommodation, extra insurance, three meals a day, English courses, continuous training and other benefits.

“We believe that our program does already impact the livelihood of our staff as they are more aware and more informed on CSR and sustainability in general,” Jef adds.

“We are hoping that by participating and winning in the EuroCham awards, we have inspired others to implement a program and we hope to be able to offer and share our knowledge and templates in assisting others grow in this area.”.

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