Private sector leaders yesterday discussed sustainable businesses at a forum organised by the United Nations Development Programme.
The event, dubbed UNDP Sustainable Forum, was held at The Factory Phnom Penh and brought together business leaders to stir a discussion on sustainability and encourage new collaborations.
The forum is viewed by many as an important vehicle to promote impact-oriented business models and projects.
Panelist Hashim Alkaff, head of Grab Cambodia, said businesses must think about their long-term sustainability and impact.
Highlighting his company’s work towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Mr Alkaff said that Grab is committed to the creation of new income opportunities for locals, particularly women and the disabled.
Fellow panelist Charles Esterhoy, CEO of Worldbridge Homes, discussed his company’s small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) cluster project.
“The project is part of initiatives towards achieving sustainability of economic growth,” Mr Esterhoy said.
He urged SMEs to consider projects that are sustainable in the long-term, adding that the private sector needs to accept initial risks to reap rewards down the road.
Koung Sorita, CEO of Ocean Technology Cambodia and advisor to the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, stressed the important role of leadership when it comes to sustainability.
“Leaders ought to think about what they can do for the company and, more importantly, for society,” she said.
She explained the importance of financial inclusion in the path to sustainability, highlighting the efforts of the Ministry of Women and the National Bank of Cambodia to promote financial literacy in the country. Financial literacy, she said, allows entrepreneurs to plan better sustainable strategies.
Saora Industries CEO Ganesh Muren discussed making small, sustainable impacts as a business.
“While the SDGs are important, financial sustainability is equally as important for businesses,” Mr Muren said, pointing out that sustainability can be expensive for businesses.
“Making small sustainable impacts is as important as focusing on achieving the SDGs,” he added.