Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Hotels, embassies go 'carbon neutral'

Hotels, embassies go 'carbon neutral'

Hotels, embassies go 'carbon neutral'



The recently opened Quay hotel on the Phnom Penh riverfront is one of several operations in the capital working to minimize carbon emissions.

What do the British Embassy and one of the newest boutique hotels in Phnom Penh have in common? They are both going green.

While Phnom Penh may seem an unlikely place to witness the effects of policies devised in London, the British government's commitment to becoming a low-carbon economy has inspired its Phnom Penh Embassy to take steps to reduce their own carbon emissions.

"We volunteered to be one of the first posts to look at how to improve our carbon footprint," said Rob Bateson, deputy management officer at the British Embassy.

The Embassy formed a "green team" composed of both local and British staff and invited French NGO Geres to conduct a carbon audit. The results showed that air travel was the worst culprit, accounting for more than 50 percent of their carbon footprint.

Staff are now being discouraged from flying unless strictly necessary and video conferencing has been installed in an effort to curb work-related travel.

But the Embassy also looked for simpler changes that could quickly reduce their output of carbon dioxide, a byproduct of burning fossil fuels and the main culprit in human-induced global warming.

Standard light bulbs were changed to low-energy bulbs, air conditioning use has been limited, printers have been upgraded to models that print both sides of a page and recycled or renewable-sourced paper is now being used.

"We've begun the process of reducing our vehicle fleet and one of the vehicles is now run entirely on biodiesel," said Bateson.

"We know you can't reduce emissions to zero but you can get rid of as much as possible and what we cannot get rid of we will offset."

The idea is to "spread the word and encourage other firms, businesses and diplomatic missions to take [their carbon footprint] seriously," said Bateson. And it appears to be working: the Danish Embassy has recently followed suit. .

"It is about changing the way people operate," Bateson said. "You don't have to work in an arctic cold office. It doesn't have to cost businesses a lot of money - they just have to take a little time to think about how they can do it."

It is about changing the way people operate. You don’t have to work in an arctic cold office.

While the Embassy's efforts were motivated by government policy, one important player in Cambodia's booming tourism industry - Food and Beverages Solutions (FABS), whose portfolio includes the FCC Phnom Penh, FCC Siem Reap and Spanish restaurant Pacheran - has gone green with its latest hotel venture.
"We want to set a new benchmark," said Michelle Duncan, group operations manager for the FCC Phnom Penh. "It's definitely a marketing tool but as long as we can back ourselves up with Geres."

Like the British Embassy, FABS engaged Geres to conduct a carbon audit of all its properties and give recommendations on how to reduce its carbon footprint. The audit is still in progress and recommendations will be forthcoming when it has concluded later this year. 

Geres is now planning a "carbon friendly rating system for restaurants and hotels [where businesses will be rated] on emissions and attempts to improve these emissions in Cambodia," said Kimberly Buss, carbon offset analyst at Geres's climate change unit.

While the Quay - FABS' recently opened carbon-friendly hotel - has inbuilt "green" features such as waste water treatment facilities, energy efficient lighting, solar power to heat water and wood-free paper, the group hopes to "move forward to carbon neutral" at all of its properties, Duncan said.

But at the moment, much of what can be done is limited.

"Behavioral change is a big part of what you can do here," said Buss. "We are looking for things that are simple to change; turn off air-conditioning, teach staff to recycle - it's a start."


  • Cambodia rejects UN rights claim

    Cambodia's Permanent Mission to the UN Office in Geneva on Friday hit back at David Kaye, the UN special rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression after he raised concerns over the repression of free speech and

  • Snaring may spawn diseases

    The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has warned that snaring of animals has become a crisis that poses a serious risk to wildlife in Southeast Asia and could spawn the transmission of zoonotic diseases to humans. Its July 9 report entitled Silence of the Snares: Southeast Asia’

  • Ex-party leader, gov’t critic named as secretary of state

    A former political party leader known for being critical of the government has been appointed secretary of state at the Ministry of Rural Development, a royal decree dated July 9 said. Sourn Serey Ratha, the former president of the Khmer Power Party (KPP), told The Post

  • Residence cards set for over 80,000 immigrants

    The Ministry of Interior plans to grant residence cards to more than 80,000 immigrants to better keep track of them. The ministry announced the plan on July 10, following the results of an immigration census. “An inter-ministerial committee and many operational working groups have been set up

  • Kingdom produces PPE gear

    Medical supplies from Cambodia have been donated to member countries of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to assist in the fight against Covid-19, said an ADB report published on July 9. The report stated that the supplies were donated as a response to global efforts to

  • Kingdom, US vow stronger ties

    At an academic forum on Saturday to celebrate 70 years of Cambodia-US diplomatic ties, Cambodian researchers and officials expressed hope of encouraging US investments and for that country to deepen and improve its bilateral relations. Held at the Royal Academy of Cambodia, it reviewed the past 70

  • Fifteen Cambodians from Saudi get Covid-19

    The Ministry of Health on Sunday confirmed 15 more imported cases of Covid. The 15 men ‒ all Cambodian aged 21 to 33 ‒ arrived from Saudi Arabia on Friday via a connecting flight in Malaysia. They were travelling with 79 other passengers, three of them women. The ministry said 80 of the

  • Ministry requests school opening

    The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport on Thursday said it would request a decision from Prime Minister Hun Sen to allow a small number of schools to reopen next month. Ministry spokesman Ros Soveacha said if the request is granted, higher-standard schools will reopen

  • Kingdom eyes India FTA, China deal set for August

    Cambodia is studying the possibility of establishing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) with India to open a new market with the second-largest regional economy. This comes as an FTA with China is scheduled to be signed next month while similar negotiations with South Korea

  • Judge lands in court after crashing into alleged thief

    Sen Sok district police on Thursday sent a Koh Kong Provincial Court judge to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court on manslaughter charges after he crashed his car into a woman riding a motorbike on Wednesday, killing her. District police chief Hour Meng Vang told The