The American Chamber of Commerce in Cambodia (AmCham) on November 18 held its CSR Excellence Awards Ceremony 2021, to “recognise the importance of giving back” to the Kingdom as it places an even greater focus on corporate citizenship.

The event at Raffles Hotel Le Royal in Phnom Penh honoured AmCham members for their noteworthy efforts in aiding society.

With the pandemic bringing unprecedented hardships this year and other challenges to be faced, 18 AmCham members were saluted for their exceptional corporate social responsibility (CSR) endeavours in combating Covid-19, as well as their environmental and social impact.

Awards were presented to Wing, Cellcard and Hyatt Regency in particular for their especially strong contributions in these areas.

“It is a very special occasion for us. It is our first dedicated CSR event, separating it from our annual general meeting, which means we are putting a tremendous amount of emphasis on CSR this year.

“CSR is one of the four pillars the board decided to focus on this year – with CSR, we must recognise the importance of giving back to the place where we do business.

“We are not only here to make profits, we are in a country that welcomes us, that has a very liberal environment for investment and to do business, and we need to see ourselves as giving back, not only that we are here for financial reasons,” said AmCham president Anthony Galliano.

The judges were (left to right) William Monroe, Lauren Higgins and Sabine Joukes. Joe Curtin

The judges were Lauren Higgins, economic officer at the US Embassy in Phnom Penh, Sabine Joukes, chief of party for the USAID-funded Women Entrepreneurs Act project, and former State Department diplomat and ambassador William Monroe.

The companies were judged on seven criteria – addressing a specific problem; including stakeholder engagement; innovation; the impact it had; how it involved the company’s staff; sustainability; and raising awareness.

Cellcard won in the “Covid-19 Initiatives” category, with RMA Cambodia the runner-up.

Hyatt Regency Phnom Penh and Rosewood Phnom Penh were co-winners in the “Environment Impact” category, while Wing won in “Social Impact”, with AIA Cambodia taking the runner-up award.

The judges also awarded Khmer Organic Cooperative Co Ltd, Amru Rice Cambodia Co Ltd and Fourth Culture Cambodia with special recognition for incorporating CSR into their mission.

Wing Bank CEO Han Peng Kwang receives the ward from Galliano. Joe Curtin

The judges heaped praise on all the 18 AmCham businesses involved, and said that picking winners was incredibly difficult.

“It was a pleasure to serve on the awards committee. We had tremendous nominations. They were all were excellent, and it was not easy to decide which ones to give the awards to.

“They all not only did excellent work within their own companies, but also in getting out in the broader community helping Cambodia and the people of Cambodia,” said Monroe, who handed out the awards in the “Covid-19 Initiatives” category.

“I was delighted to see there were so many CSR activities from AmCham members – double the amount of last year,” said Higgins, who announced the companies who received special recognition for incorporating CSR into their mission.

Galliano said this year’s awards ceremony was one AmCham had put a lot of investment into because it is a strong believer in the importance of CSR.

“Cambodia is a country that has done well in alleviating poverty, so this year our [CSR] mission may have changed.

“Our challenges are now more on the environment, on climate change, while still on education and gender equality, which are very important for us.

“There are a lot of benefits to doing business in this country, and I think we should try to see ourselves, even though we are foreigners, as ‘citizens in spirit’ – that although we are not citizens of this country, we should in spirit try to give back as if we are,” Galliano said.

Eighteen AmCham members were saluted for their exceptional CSR endeavours. Joe Curtin