Private and public players came together to explore ways to accelerate Cambodia’s journey to net zero at the annual Green Business Forum.
Hosted by EuroCham Cambodia’s Green Business Committee on June 9, the event brought together industry leaders, businesses, initiators, and policymakers to discuss how to push the Kingdom’s progress towards meeting its green economy goals.
The forum also marked the roll-out of a new glass bottle return program in Cambodia that has been piloted by F&B and hospitality businesses in Phnom Penh since February.
In the presence of high-ranking government officials and in partnership with HEINEKEN Cambodia, the forum wrapped up with a celebration to recognize 14 Cambodian businesses and entrepreneurs for their role in championing the bottle return program.
Tin Ponlok, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Environment, officiated the opening ceremony. He said: “We are celebrating today the pioneers of a program that has the potential to make returnability and circularity bigger in Cambodia. Our natural resources are not infinite. If we want to continue to grow and make Cambodia an attractive place to live, we need to transition towards business models which are more resource efficient.
“The circular economy is a big part of the solution. It is encouraging to see businesses taking the lead in this endeavour, and I hope this will inspire others to follow, so that circularity and returnability can become mainstream practices in the years to come.”
Presiding over the official celebration of Cambodian heroes, Chuop Paris, Undersecretary of State, and Ken Sereirotha, Director General of Knowledge and Environmental Information from the Ministry of Environment, together with HEINEKEN Cambodia Managing Director, Samson Wong, presented awards to: V-Friend, Prel Leap, Traino-Pabu, Royal 214, Gold Pub, KC Restaurant & Sky Bar, Kiri Pub, Color Cup, Le Moon Rooftop, Prime Distributors Asia, Leng Channa, Ly Huy, Ly Kiet, and KCV.
Tassilo Brinzer, EuroCham Cambodia Chairman, said, “The annual forum underscores the urgent need to embrace a future where sustainable practices become the norm. It’s a vision that requires stronger collective action. Getting it right will open a whole new world of green investments to deliver sustainable economic value for the Kingdom.”
Initiated by HEINEKEN Cambodia, the glass bottle return program strongly supports the brewer’s “Brew A Better Cambodia” ambition. This outlines clear and ambitious targets for boosting circularity and decarbonizing not only its production by 2030, but its entire value chain by 2040.
With packaging an important contributor to the brewer’s full value chain’s footprint, accelerating returnable packaging is key to realizing these longer-term commitments. Working with the F&B and hospitality industry is also an intentional step, as it holds most of the brewer’s glass bottle volume in the market.
“Returning glass bottles is only the first chapter of our returnability journey. We won’t stop there,” said Wong. “We also recognize that the path to circularity will be a long one, perhaps challenging at times, and we can’t do it alone.
“We’ve long invested in building a system that could support a larger scale bottle-return program one day. All our bottles are already returnable. Now we need more to join the returnability movement and make it bigger. We welcome all, including other beverage players, to work together towards a circular value chain.”
Shereen Teh, Head of On Trade at HEINEKEN Cambodia, added, “As the returnability movement starts to gain momentum, consumers will soon see more of their favorite bars and restaurants returning glass bottles in the industry’s efforts to cut waste.
“Bringing people together while also making the world a little better, it’s what drives our purpose at HEINEKEN Cambodia and what we hope will inspire many more in the industry.” [Partnered Content]