Cambodia Investment Review

2nd Edition of Cambodia Energy Efficiency Competition Engages Corporate Sector in Bold Energy Conservation Efforts

2nd Edition of Cambodia Energy Efficiency Competition Engages Corporate Sector in Bold Energy Conservation Efforts

Tom Starkey

The Ministry of Mines and Energy in Cambodia proudly hosted the opening ceremony of the second edition of the trailblazing Cambodia Energy Efficiency Competition (CEE Comp) on June 16. The competition this year has expanded to include 22 companies from various sectors, all of which will dedicate the next 12 months to implementing new habits within their organizations aimed at reducing energy consumption.

The competition was officially launched by H.E. Suy Sem, the Minister of Mines and Energy, who highlighted the importance of cross-sector collaboration. Co-organised by the Ministry of Mines & Energy (MME) and the consulting firm Sevea, the competition has garnered support from several important partners and sponsors.

H.E. Suy Sem, Minister of Mines and Energy.

Major companies such as Shneider Electric and SOMA group have sponsored the initiative, while global conservation organization WWF, business association EuroCham, travel agency All Dreams Cambodia, and energy innovation organization EnergyLab are acting as official partners for this year’s competition.

Read more: EuroCham Green Business Forum 2023: Cambodia’s Strategic Shift to Sustainable Policies and Eco-Investments

Dr. Sothearath Seang, the Project Manager of CEE Comp, expressed his enthusiasm at the launch event. He highlighted the innovative nature of the campaign, which aims to promote energy efficiency through a unique combination of education, games, and challenges, following a successful European model. He pointed to the achievements of the first edition, which included 22 buildings and 14 companies across various locations, with over 2,300 employees participating.

A culture that integrates energy efficiency into everyday practices

The competition resulted in 194,236 kWh of energy being conserved, which is equivalent to preventing approximately 200 tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere. The participating companies, which included well known firms like Smart Axiata, Comin Khmer, Heineken, and Decathlon, saved a collective $35,000 in total in operational costs. “The second edition will see an increase in participation, and we are excited to see even more savings,” he declared optimistically.

Daniella Chehade, Energy Engineer at Sevea, added that the ambition of CEE Comp is not only to reduce energy-use but also act as a mechanism to integrate the energy efficiency culture. Changing ones behaviour is difficult, if not the most challenging aspect, yet it’s also the first step towards a long term shift. Actions speak louder than words and its brilliant to see the commitment participants take to make that step, she added.

Green Team Leader of Thalias Group, Mr Settha Yok.

Previous participants affirmed the beneficial impacts of the competition. Mrs. Pheakdey Much, Green Team Leader at AMK Finance, reflected on the experiences and lessons learned from last year’s competition. She said that her team saw a 40% reduction in energy usage across four branches, translating into around $14,000 in savings. More importantly, the competition inspired them to do more for the environment and understand the role of energy efficiency in reducing carbon emissions.

The competition also had a cascading effect on employees’ behaviors beyond the office. Mr. Settha Yok, Green Team Leader of Thalias Group, noted that their employees began implementing energy-saving practices at home, thus amplifying the positive environmental impact. Encouraged by the results, Thalias Group plans to register another three buildings for this year’s competition.

Focus on promoting change through small, manageable steps

H.E. Suy Sem recognized that the competition is the first in Cambodia that challenges commercial buildings to boost energy efficiency through behavioral change. He connected the competition with the broader national agenda, pointing to Cambodia’s National Energy Efficiency Policy 2022-2030, which aims to decrease energy consumption by at least 19 percent.

Read more: Cambodia enters energy saving mode, assures no side-effects on Kingdom’s economic growth

Adam Fitzpatrick, the Country Manager of IPS, a newcomer to the competition this year, praised the competition for its focus on promoting change through small, manageable steps. Fitzpatrick highlighted the fun, competitive, and educational aspects of the competition. He said it would also contribute to fostering a stronger team spirit among participants.

This year there will be 24 buildings and 22 participants.

Emphasizing the real estate industry’s responsibility to promote energy efficiency, Fitzpatrick stated, “As professionals, we need to be aware of our impact on the environment. Our clients expect us not only to have that knowledge to provide good advice but also to help them select properties that meet their environmental credentials.”

The growing traction of the CEE Comp since its inception is evident. The first edition saw participation from six universities with 30 student teams, and three ministries. This year, the competition expects to engage 24 buildings and 22 participants, focusing on saving energy, engaging employees, networking, fostering the implementation of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and encouraging behavioral change and knowledge application. The expectation is that these efforts will go a long way in promoting sustainable practices, helping build Cambodia’s green future.

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