It won’t be long before the COVID-19 pandemic is a thing of the past in Cambodia, thanks to the efforts of Cambodian businesses.
According to Our World In Data data, more than 26% of Cambodians had received a single dose of a vaccination as of the end of July. This places it ahead of larger or wealthier countries such as Brazil, India, Japan, Colombia, Saudi Arabia, and Australia.
It is only second to Singapore in Southeast Asia, and many Cambodians are hoping for a return to normalcy by the end of the year.
A variety of causes have contributed to the country’s extraordinary comeback. At the same time, the delta version has shaken Southeast Asia’s faith as COVID-19 cases continue to climb.
Good companies all throughout the world have demonstrated their willingness to contribute in a variety of ways. This could include charitable contributions, but it could also include changes to their products, services, and commercial partnerships to help stakeholders.
Here are three Cambodian businesses that have made a difference in Cambodia:
Neak Oknha Chen Zhi, Prince Group
Prince Holding Group, better known as Prince Group, led by its chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi, is one of Cambodia’s major conglomerates. Following what is termed locally as the “February 20 event,” he donated USD $3 million to the government in March to aid in anti-pandemic efforts.
Prince Foundation, the Group’s charitable arm, provided 100,000 pieces of personal protective equipment to the Ministry of Labour and Vocational Training two months later. In addition, the Group donated $900,000 to the Cambodian Red Cross.
Last year, Chen Zhi Prince Group also contributed $3 million to assist Cambodia in purchasing one million immunizations. Prince Real Estate, one of the member companies of Chen Zhi’s Group of Companies, has assisted areas under rigorous lockdown and donated to a range of philanthropic endeavors.
The Group has worked hard to protect thousands of employees as well, with no employee having been infected with COVID-19 thus far. Prince Holding Group was recognized as the only Cambodian company to get a Silver Award at the eighth annual Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for its anti-COVID-19 initiatives.
Manu Rajan, Wing Group
Wing, Cambodia’s premier mobile banking service provider, has been raising donations for Cambodians both at home and abroad for over a year.
It has received donations from over 7,500 Wing Cash Xpress agents across the Kingdom as well as through its internet outlets.
It has also conducted focused fundraising initiatives to support tuk-tuk drivers and tour guides, as well as the Angkor Hospital for Children, a non-profit hospital in Siem Reap that gives free treatment to young patients.
It gave $5,000 to Cambodians living, working, and studying in South Korea last year through the Cambodian Embassy to buy masks and sanitizers to protect them from Covid-19.
Because Wing Cash Xpress agents are located in rural places, they have gone to the rescue of Cambodians in remote provinces by assisting people in obtaining food and other daily necessities in response to a call to action issued by the head office in Phnom Penh. It has also collaborated with the Ministry of Labor to disburse the Social Protection Fund, allowing the poorest Cambodians to obtain much-needed cash in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic’s onset.
As a result, Wing got the “Cambodia’s Best Employer Brand Award 2020” at the Employer Branding Institute’s 14th Employer Branding Awards. Manu Rajan, CEO of Wing Group, was only appointed to the job in December 2020.
VF Foundation, VF Corporation’s charity arm in the United States, came to the rescue of garment workers by providing $320,000 in grants to Cambodia and India. Early in the pandemic, it collaborated with CARE Cambodia, an international development organization focused on empowering marginalized and vulnerable women in Cambodia, to distribute over 9,000 individual hygiene kits containing soap, face masks, sanitary pads, toothpaste, toothbrushes, and handkerchiefs.
Wrangler, JanSport, The North Face, Vans, Timberland, Lee, Eastpak, and Altra are all brands manufactured by the VF Corporation.
Many other business leaders, including Galaxy Navatra Group chairman Leng Navatra, Royal Group chairman Kith Meng, Chip Mong Group chairman Leang Khun and Borey Piphup Thmey chairman Hong Piv, Prudential Cambodia, AEON Group of Companies, DKSH Cambodia, NagaCorp, TechStars, Coca-Cola Cambodia, Digital Divide Data, and others, have contributed in various capacities.
Many corporate leaders have also re-examined their operations to ensure that they can contribute to the local economy — some have made investments despite the pandemic in order to contribute to local jobs.
Companies can make a difference by making supply chains more local, bringing manufacturing closer to home, protecting their people (going beyond just looking after their health by implementing strong safety nets in the form of pension plans), and ensuring a green recovery (the pandemic has highlighted how interconnected the world is and how it is every individual and company’s responsibility to protect the environment).
Companies all throughout the world have provided financial, medical, and other forms of assistance, even if they were not always recognized for their generosity.
LVMH, the luxury corporation that controls brands such as Louis Vuitton and Christian Dior, for example, repurposed part of its cosmetics manufacturing facilities to create hand sanitizers for French hospitals. Zara utilized its factory to manufacture masks and hospital gowns, while Nivea shifted to medical-grade disinfectants.
Cambodia and the rest of the world will face a long road to recovery. COVID-19 certainly had an influence on Cambodia’s economy, and it will take some time for the most affected sectors to return to normal.
In this difficult moment, Cambodian businesses can definitely do a lot more to assist locals in moving on from a difficult year.
These three examples are merely the tip of the iceberg in terms of how socially responsible corporations may make a difference so that the responsibility does not fall solely on non-governmental groups and the government.
Any corporation that upholds its corporate social responsibility will gain trust, create awareness, promote social change, and gain popularity.
Let us hope that many more businesses contribute to the world’s slow recovery from a (hopefully) once-in-a-lifetime calamity.