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Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Coca-Cola Cambodia’s Winning Battle Against Corruption in the Kingdom

Coke GM David Wigglesworth receives the gold medal from deputy PM Men Sam An.
Coke GM David Wigglesworth receives the gold medal from deputy PM Men Sam An. Photo supplied

Coca-Cola Cambodia’s Winning Battle Against Corruption in the Kingdom

Since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between The Coca-Cola Company and Cambodia’s Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU) two years ago, 20 other private companies and one business association have followed suit in the fight against corruption, and encouraging a transparent business culture.

As the first company to sign such an MOU in Cambodia, Coca-Cola acts as the main advocacy agent in informing businesses in the private sector about the ACU during international chambers meetings, interacting with Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and International Non-Governmental Organisations (INGOs) to highlight the benefits of collaborating with the ACU to battle corruption.

This MOU not only seals The Coca-Cola Company as a corporation wherein there is absolutely no tolerance for corruption, but also marks a significant move in the right direction for Cambodia with the passing of the Anti-Corruption Law (ACL).

Although it is the harsh reality that the road to combating corruption in the Kingdom may take years to be wholly successful, exercising the law in daily practices will greatly help. With rigorous joint efforts, both Coca-Cola and the Royal Government of Cambodia (RGC) aim to educate the masses on the new ACL and proactively engage with it.

Cambodia’s massive development potential has been hindered for years due to corruption, thus it is the responsibility of not only the RGC, but also its citizens, to form an alliance against this criminality.

In recognition of its persevering efforts, The Coca-Cola Company in Cambodia was awarded a Gold Medal during the International Anti-Corruption Day on 9 December 2015 by His Excellency Men Sam An, Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia.

Coca-Cola’s best practices are not limited only to anti-corruption; it also has a global ‘Code of Business Conduct’ that is implemented in all its branches across the globe. These are:

• Integrity within the Company—thorough checking of Financial Records and proper usage of Company’s assets and information.

• Conflicts of interest—not allowing private or personal matters, or employment outside of the Company interfere with the Company’s best interests.

• Integrity in dealing with others—exercising honesty and reliability when dealing with every client and customer regardless whether governments, suppliers, or stakeholders.

The Company received the medal in recognition of its fight against corruption.
The Company received the medal in recognition of its fight against corruption. Photo supplied

As an American-based company with strong local operations, Coca-Cola’s Code of Business Conduct draws parallels to the strict US Foreign Corrupt Practice Act. It is with this best practice that Coca-Cola Cambodia embraces the bold initiative by the RGC in passing the ACL.

Spokesperson for The Coca-Cola Company Cambodia, Lim Lina, emphasizes that a compliant and transparent culture is imperative for all stakeholders in both the private and public sectors.

“This ensures fair competition, while encouraging local manufacturers by implementing a fair tax policy for both local manufacturers and importers,” Lina explained.

“To support the reform effectively, I think it is also crucial that the government does a genuine effort in bringing in previously non-collected tax,” she added.

In the ongoing fight against corruption in the Kingdom, Coca-Cola hopes to see a combined effort among the RGC, the private sector, and civil society.

It cannot be undertaken solely by certain senior government officers while the frontline general government officers are not as willing to impose the law.

Rather, it should be a consensus that all sectors of the government are committed to the fight against corruption, together with the private sector and the general public.

“I see the reform is underway for the better of the Kingdom and its people, and I believe that Cambodia will improve in the near future in terms of corruption.

They have started from scratch, developed this policy, and built an alliance to tackle the country’s toughest issue,” Lina concluded.

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