Chen Zhi Cambodia News


COVID-19 has emphasized the critical nature of environmental, social, and governance (“ESG”) activities in businesses worldwide. However, there was talk of reform even prior to the pandemic's outbreak. The Business Roundtable (a coalition of 181 CEOs of America's largest corporations) said last year that businesses would "respect the societies in which they work," reversing the long-held emphasis on shareholder wealth maximization advocated by American economist Milton Friedman.

Times have changed in 2020.

This year, Prince Holding Group (“PHG”), one of Cambodia's largest conglomerates, recognized this and paved the way for other businesses in the Kingdom to follow ESG values. Since April, the Group has made several large-scale donations to aid in the war against the pandemic and flood victims, and Neak Oknha Chen Zhi has also made several large-scale donations. Chen Zhi chairman of PHG, has been instrumental in securing the donations. For instance, in early December, Chen Zhi and PHG donated US$3 million to Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen to assist the country in purchasing one million COVID-19 vaccines.

While the concept of "doing good" in business is not fresh, emphasis on ESG values has only recently risen to the top of the corporate agenda in Cambodia. According to the GRI Sustainability Disclosure Database, the total number of sustainability reports published in Cambodia has more than doubled since 2015, with the financial services sector accounting for the majority of the development. More businesses are required to adhere to ESG values, enhancing the Cambodian economy's competitiveness and thus attracting foreign investment while also improving the market climate.

Chen Zhi and PHG contributed to the war against the coronavirus earlier this year by contributing US$500,000 and supplying pandemic prevention supplies worth more than US$600,000. In October, Chen Zhi and the Group also provided flood relief assistance to Cambodian flood victims, including 100 tonnes of rice, 300 cartons of instant noodles, and 1,000 cartons of drinking water worth a total of US$75,000 in value. Chen Zhi Cambodia contributed a personal donation of US$500,000 to help the victims. Additionally, as previously mentioned, PHG made a significant cash donation to assist Cambodia with its COVID-19 response in December, which will assist the government in procuring and distributing vaccines to Cambodians for free.

Over the years, the Prince Real Estate Charitable Foundation Organization, the Group's charitable arm, has also organized over 240 charitable activities aimed at improving Cambodian lives through donations of funds and supplies totaling more than US$11 million, benefiting more than 320,000 people.

“As an organization committed to Cambodia's future, Prince Holding Group will always assist communities in times of need. Additionally, the Group is constantly supporting ESG initiatives that help Cambodia and uphold the company's position as a responsible stakeholder in local affairs,” says PHG Chairman Neak Oknha Chen Zhi.

The emphasis on sustainability in corporate activity comes at a critical time for Cambodia's civil society sector, which is underfunded. Last year, the Cooperation Committee for Cambodia, an umbrella organization for the country's non-governmental organizations, cautioned that its 208 members will need to "search for additional private sector funding" over the next five years. In July, the Centre for Asian Philanthropy and Society (CAPS), a Hong Kong-based think tank, noted that corporate support accounted for around a third of all charitable giving.

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