Cambodia Investment Review

CEW22: Clean energy transition utilizing CSR & ESG, rooftop solar, and keeping the momentum going

CEW22: Clean energy transition utilizing CSR & ESG, rooftop solar, and keeping the momentum going

Tom Starkey

Days 7 and 8 of Cambodia’s Clean Energy Week 2022 (CEW22) have focused on the Kingdom’s transition to clean energy through CSR & ESG management concepts, opportunities for rooftop solar, and keeping the momentum going after the forum.

To read more about Days 3, 4, and 6 of CEW22 click here.

Day 7 of CEW22 featured two key events, beginning with a panel discussion on ‘Accelerating Business & Unlocking Real Impact with Clean Energy through CSR & ESG, followed by a presentation on ‘Public & Private Dialogue on Opportunities & Challenges of Rooftop Solar in Cambodia.

The opening session, which was organized by Sevea consulting and hosted by Seeker Spirit House, was moderated by Daniella Chehade, and included speakers Sopha Prak from CominAsia and Helen Heng, Sustainability Manager from Heineken.

Daniella Chehade opened by saying that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and Environmental, Social & Corporate Governance (ESG) are management concepts where companies incorporate social and environmental concerns within their business.

“For a company to be sustainable, they have to ensure their financial security, minimize their environmental impact and meet societal expectations,” she said.

Speaking on what CSR means to Heineken, Helen Heng said the focus of their CSR is sustainability and responsibility.

“We want to build sustainable value chains throughout our business from farmers at one end to service at the bar at the other end. We work by the three p’s, namely people, planet, and profit. We want to maximize our impact in these areas as a basis for our social and environmental responsibility, as well as fair and ethical business practices,” she said.

Speaking on how they implement CSR, CominAsia said as one of the largest clean energy involved companies in Cambodia, it is their job to inform the public of the advantages of clean energy.

Private sector sets own NetZero goals

“Energy conservation and efficiency are important, which is why we took measures in-house to reduce our office energy consumption by some 40 percent first. Now, we have taken that information and work with our clients and customers to show them how they can save money and reduce their environmental impact by being more energy efficient,” Sopha Prak said.

Heineken has implemented sustainability and reliability by committing to a path to NetZero reduction of emissions by 2030 and complete carbon neutrality by 2040, some 10 years earlier than the Paris agreement.

“We also want to protect water supplies, the main ingredient in our products, by balancing our water use and employing water efficiency in line with local regulatory standards,” Helen Heng said.

“We also have a biomass plant which we launched only a few weeks ago, which helps to reduce our emissions by up to 60%. It helps us as a business as renewable energy is safe, efficient, environmentally friendly, and economical. But also, ultimately we think protecting the environment is the right thing to do,” she added.

To read more about JT Group’s accelerates its renewable energy to achieve net zero by 2050 click here.

Wrapping up the morning session, Laura Pretto from Sevea Consulting talked about the upcoming CEE Comp event, a self-sustaining, multi-year campaign that aims to help boost energy efficiency in Cambodia.

“Cambodia Energy Efficiency Competition (CEE Comp) is a not-for-profit campaign that will engage people and organizations using gamification and competition. The competition is designed to engage private companies to compete on energy saving, with the main aim to use this mechanism to accelerate the adoption of an energy-efficient culture,” Laura Pretto said.

“This is critical to reduce ecological impact and advance climate mitigation measures. It will similarly aid in meeting the soon-to-be-issued National Energy Efficiency targets for Cambodia. Furthermore, prospects include expanding to more sectors of industry and eventually including a range of actions within the realm of resource efficiency,” she added.

The final session of the day, hosted in the theatre of the Factory Phnom Penh, was led by Natharoun Ngo Son, Country Director at EnergyLab Cambodia.

The session was designed to bring in experts within the clean energy sector to present the current status of the National Renewable Energy policy and identify opportunities and possible signs of progress, such as steps ahead on Rooftop Solar.

Guest speakers included:

  • Butchaiah Gadde (Technical Advisor at UNDP)
  • Alexander Erb (Consultant at Emerging Market Consulting)
  • Sopha Prak (Clean Energy Division at CominAsia)
  • Cecile Dahome (Co-founder/Co-CEO at Sevea)

CEW22 came to an electric close, with a series of high-level panel discussions, student-oriented activities, and an expansive exhibition showcasing over 20 public and private sector actors sparking innovation in the Kingdom.

The main event was a day-long exhibition, hosted by Factory Phnom Penh, which included a wide range of stalls from both the public and private sectors, showcasing everything from microfinance institutes to electric vehicle (EV) companies.

Exhibitioner, Chin Ol, who is a Project Manager from SOGE – and a CEW22 award winner – said she came to show quality solar products that demonstrate the advantage of switching to solar energy.

To read more about the development of Green Bonds in Cambodia click here.

“We are proud to be part of CEW22 and share the success stories from the solar projects we have installed so far. It is important for us to raise awareness of clean energy so people can be informed on the best energy to use for the future,” Chin Ol said.

“We do more than just promote solar energy systems, we also work with microfinance institutions and partners – such as Sevea Consulting – to help end-users access capital so they can purchase SOGE solar products, making it easier for end-users to access cheap, clean energy,” she added.

Switched On Thinking

From Sevea Consulting, Senior Consultant and Business Advisor Born Boleap said they are proud to support the clean energy sector.

“We work in lots of different sectors and a focus for us is helping businesses run their operations in the most sustainable way. Harnessing clean energy is a prime example of making a business sustainable,” Born Boleap said.

He added that Sevea conducts multiple projects focusing on entrepreneurship, with a strong focus on acceleration, mentoring, and coaching. 

“We are working with a range of entrepreneurs, spanning multiple stages from idea stage prospective entrepreneurs to more mature business owners and multiple sectors, including Clean Energy, Agri-Fisheries, Agri-Industry, and women entrepreneurship,” Born Boleap said.

“Today is all about bringing together all levels within the value chain to discuss the opportunities within the clean energy sector,” he added.

Demonstrating his company’s electric vehicles (EVs), Andy Chun, Country Director of VERYWORDS, said they are passionate about EVs because of their commitment to developing Zero-Carbon lifestyle options for the “exhausted” planet.

“EV offers an alternative to convention vehicles which contributes to the mitigation of emissions. The EV market is still in its infancy in Cambodia, because policies and incentives need to be formulated and developed by the government. However, events like this will continue to raise awareness and understanding of the advantages of E-Mobility to the general public, so they can take advantage of the opportunity EVs offer,” Andy Chun said.

He added that this, in turn, will spur private sector investment into E-Mobility manufacturing, assembly, and charging infrastructure in the Kingdom, as they begin to recognize the growing demand for EV products.

Showcasing their solar-powered agriculture products were Solar Aeration Cambodia (SAC) and Pteah Baitong.

High-Voltage Solutions

SAC Co-founder Sivmey Chhil they are using this event to introduce new technology that uses clean energy to fish farmers to help them increase their yield. 

“We use a solar-powered aeration machine which works by increasing the oxygen inside the water, which helps the fish grow faster,” Sivmey Chhil said.

“Powering our product with clean energy means we can use natural energy which doesn’t damage the environment and costs the end-user less. Negating the use of petrol also vastly reduces the pollution to both fish tanks, the farms, and the air, which is much healthier for the farmers and their families,” Sivmey Chhil added.

Managing Director of Pteah Baitong, Michael Papi, said he is proud to be showcasing high-quality agriculture machinery at the event for people who will benefit the most.

“We making access to our clean energy machines easier through our flexible “pay-as-you-go” in-house financing model for our Futurepump SF2, which is the highest quality, longest-lasting solar pump in Cambodia,” Michael Papi said.

To read more about how Switching to solar will provide an economic spark for Cambodia’s manufacturing industry click here.

“It comes with a full 10-year parts and labor warranty and offers a pollution-free way to save money and the environment, something which we are passionate about,” he added.

Finally, Kanhara Dalin, Technical Engineer from Agri-House – who was selling their signature roasted crickets at the exhibition, said she has joined the event to show how they can produce their food products more efficiently using clean energy.

“We produce our cricket snacks using 100% clean energy which we generate ourselves at the farm. This makes it cheaper to produce our product and reduces our impact on the environment,” Kanhara Dalin said.

“It’s great to join the event today to demonstrate how other businesses can save money by switching to clean energy, and still produce great products,” she added.

Aside from the exhibition, concurrent events, namely the ‘Cambodia Energy Policy and ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Corporation’ and ‘Access to Finance for Solar Technology End-Users and Providers in Agri-Fishery Sector in Cambodia, also took place at the Royal University of Law & Economics (RULE) and the Factory Phnom Penh respectively.

The RULE event featured guest speaker Ratana Pich, meanwhile, the Factory event panelists included: 

  • Chin OI (Project Manager at SOGE)
  • Em Seiha (Senior Commercial Relationship Manager at AMK Microfinance Institute PLC)
  • Guillaume Requin (SMEs, and Finance Manager from Sevea Consulting)
  • Michael Papi (Managing Director of Pteah Baitong)
  • Moderated by Nuon Tum (Business Development Manager at Khmer Organic Cooperative)

The final two events of the day were ‘Switching to Solar in Agri-Fishery Market’ and Understanding Energy Efficiency and Clean Energy Transition in Cambodia, with the latter being a student workshop, aiming to introduce students from the capital to the importance of clean energy.

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