The American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham) hosted its annual CSR Excellence Awards Dinner at the Fairfield by Marriott Phnom Penh on December 6, 2023. Now in its fifth edition, the awards dinner seeks to recognise corporate social responsibility (CSR) achievements in Cambodia in a variety of different categories.
AmCham’s 2023 CSR Excellence Awards attracted 47 applications from 36 companies, an almost 40 per cent increase from the previous year. The awards were segmented into five categories: Social Impact, Digital Inclusion, Financial Literacy, Law (for pro-bono work), and Education.
Watch B2B Cambodia’s interviews with Devin Barta, President of AmCham Cambodia, Bill Monroe, Former U.S. Diplomat and awards judge, and two award winners:
The winners and recognised businesses were chosen by a panel of three esteemed judges with combined experience in social work, international development and diplomacy: Sabine Joukes, Country Director and Chief of Party of the WE Act Project, Vicheka Chroup, Country Manager of the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF), and William (Bill) Monroe, Former U.S. Diplomat.
Delivering the opening speech, Devin Barta, President of AmCham, noted that business has shown it can be a powerful force for good and must strive to continue demonstrating that profitability and social responsibility can go hand in hand to create a win-win situation for both businesses and society.
“We must continue to build on this work, strive for greater impact, we must work together to create a world where every business operates with a sense of social responsibility, and where sustainability is really in our DNA,” said Barta.
Patrick Murphy, the U.S. Ambassador to The Kingdom of Cambodia, delivered a keynote address where he affirmed the American Embassy’s shared objectives with AmCham to promote CSR activities such as empowering women economically, upholding labour and environmental standards and investing in the social fabric of local communities in Cambodia.
“For those companies who are active in CSR but perhaps won’t be recognised tonight please keep up your programs and activities, it all matters,” said Murphy. “It’s important and impactful as a practice to ensure that CSR is part of your business operating plan.”
Before the main award winners were announced, special recognition was also given to Brad Gordon and Steve Heimberg, two U.S. citizens who have played instrumental roles in the repatriation of Cambodia’s stolen and lost artefacts.
Winners, Runner-Ups And Special Recognitions
For the Social Impact awards, AIA Life Insurance and Herbalife secured the top spots for large and small businesses respectively. AIA Life Insurance championed projects focused on raising awareness about breast cancer and supporting women in need through a special partnership with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs (MoWA), while Herbalife was recognised for its ‘Casa Herbalife Program’ providing food and nutritional support to children in need.
“CSR means a lot to us because our main purpose is to make people live healthier, longer and better lives, and we’ve been doing this work for almost seven years now,” said Ly Bunma, Assistant Sales Director of Corporate Solutions at AIA Cambodia. “We are so happy to win this award, it is amazing for us and it reflects what we are doing at AIA Cambodia.”
- Social Impact Award Runners-Up: Manulife, Rosewood and Etiqa General Insurance
- Social Impact Special Recognition: Cambrew Ltd, Vattanac Properties, and Wing Bank received special recognition.
In the Digital Inclusion category, Smart Axiata and Sethalay Law Office were celebrated as winners. Smart Axiata launched a Digital Literacy Program in 2019, in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, which has continued on until 2023. Sethalay Law Office were recognised for their efforts to help assist customers file complaints.
“Winning this award means a lot to us and it shows that our efforts paid off, we can now see a lot of growth among Cambodian youth,” said Chem Srey Oeun, Head of Corporate Affairs at Smart Axiata. “We see digital literacy as one of the most important skills, especially since digital literacy in Cambodia is quite low, based on the data itself just 30 per cent of people [in the country] have basic digital literacy, so our program helped to address this big issue in Cambodia and to support especially those who are unreachable in the provinces.”
In the Financial Literacy category, Prudential emerged as the winner. MVU Investment and OBOR Management were specially recognised, while Visa, along with Wing Bank, were the runners-up.
The Law (for pro-bono work) Award was another highlight, with S&O Intellectual Property Law Firm winning the award for its work in advising clients on all aspects of intellectual property law. Sok Siphana & Associates was declared the runner-up for its project focused on women’s empowerment and its contribution to the “Protecting Children Against Sexual Offences in ASEAN” report.
Finally, the Education Award was claimed by RMA Cambodia for its “Building Foundations for Future Generation” program focused on renovating educational facilities, while Aprati Foods and Sofitel Phnom Penh Phokeethra were named runners-up.
CSR In Cambodia
The event, attended by a mix of business leaders and social change advocates, not only celebrated the winners but also underscored the critical role of CSR in giving back to the community.
Bill Monroe, Former U.S. Diplomat, shared that he has been judging the AmCham CSR Excellence Awards for a few years now and has been impressed by the number of nominations increasing every year.
“Another thing that’s really impressive… is the wide variety of different activities that are involved here,” added Monroe. “It’s everything from cleaning water, clearing mines, blood donation drives, cancer awareness, building schools… it’s really impressive, companies here are really stepping up.”
“Organisations benefit a lot from operating here in Cambodia, and it’s really just seen as the right thing to do to give back to the communities in which we operate and to some degree, serve,” added Barta.
He explained that AmCham continues to organise this awards dinner to further encourage businesses in their CSR activities, and to also more broadly share what businesses are doing to hopefully inspire others.
“It’s an opportunity to see what works well, get ideas about the best practices, and it sets the bar for the next year, for anybody else who wants to participate and has a great idea,” Barta concluded.
The AmCham CSR Excellence Awards was sponsored by WEWATCH CO., LTD, with wine provided by Pernod Ricard Cambodge and beverages from Cambrew Brewery.
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