At least 55 factories and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have been benefiting from a green industrial plan that has made sustainable practices accessible and scalable and have also participated in promoting renewable industry in Cambodia. 

The framework was developed in collaboration with the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology and Innovation, the Ministry of Environment and the UN Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). 

It has successfully implemented an environmental project called Low-carbon Development for Productivity and Climate Change Mitigation through the Transfer of Environmentally Sound Technology (TEST) Methodology, aiming to address pollution issues and promote sustainable industry in the country, according to a recent announcement from UNIDO.

Rana Pratap Singh, project manager for the UNIDO programme, said it supported the beneficiaries by providing them with a green industrial strategy that made sustainable practices feasible. 

“By doing so, the project contributed to improving the manufacturing conditions at these factories and SMEs and supported their green transition. As a result, the [beneficiaries] were able to save resources and increase productivity by 10 to 20%, leading to an annual saving of around $10 million per year,” he said.

“Additionally, it facilitated reaching $10 million in investments. The success of TEST is a concrete example of the greening industry for other developing countries,” he added.

Sok Narin, country representative for UNIDO, highlighted that the project aided approximately 130,000 workers, with over 80% of them women, by assisting the factories in meeting sustainability and compliance standards.

He said the programme increased the capacity of key staff, improved the health and safety of workers, reduced negative impacts on the surrounding community and fostered a shift in mindset towards green activities and practices. 

“Aside from the economic and social benefits of the green industry resulting from TEST project intervention, the environmental impact was also noteworthy,” he said.

“The project can potentially contribute directly to the CO2 reduction with an average of 40,000 tonnes per year during the period of 2018-28 while also contributing to a sustainable reduction in the discharge of wastewater, solid waste and GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions,” he added.

Industry minister Hem Vanndy expressed his gratitude to all stakeholders for their strong collaborations, especially the environment ministry for partnering to implement the programme, UNIDO for their technical assistance, the Global Environment Facility (GEF) for project funding and the factories and SMEs for their commitment to the project. 

He said that TEST has helped the enterprises strengthen Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production (RECP), the Environmental Management System (EMS), Environmental Management Accounting (EMA), increase productivity, reduce production costs and increase the competitiveness of manufacturing sectors for local, regional and international markets.

“We could scale up and encourage more initiatives and commitments as outlined in the 100 Days campaign toward a green and sustainable industry sector in Cambodia and we urge all developers, public and private sectors and institutions under the ministry to commit and continue to support the above initiatives, especially among our 60,000 SMEs and 2,000 factories,” he said.

“Also, we will further support an advanced level of TEST for a bigger impact in the greening industry such as Eco-Industrial Park [EIP] initiatives which aim to strengthen SEZs or Industrial Parks [IP] in Cambodia,” the minister added, following the project’s “successful” outcome.

Heng Chanthoeun, deputy head of the general directorate of policy and strategy under the environment ministry, said the project also supported Cambodia’s National Determined Contribution (NDC), especially the Industrial Processes and Product Uses (IPPU), by reducing carbon emissions. 

He said it also helped to increase the awareness of RECP and TEST methodology as a whole. 

“Additionally, the ministry will commit further to the Long-Term Strategy for Carbon Neutrality [LTS4CN] 2050,” he added.