Region/Country: Cambodia

SAVE – Sustainable Action and Vision for a Better Environment

Industrialization has the potential to help achieve poverty eradication, improve gender equality and labour standards and provide greater access to education and healthcare. At the same time, industrial processes play a major role in the degradation of the global environment. Industries in developing countries have significant potential to reduce the material, energy, and pollution per unit of industrial output.


The project’s aim was to implement a sustainable industrial development programme through the promotion of resource efficiency and waste management practices benchmarked on international standards. The envisaged outcome of the project was to help the supply chain factories of footwear, apparel and accessories (FAA) sectors in the developing countries of Asia (Bangladesh, Cambodia, Indonesia and China) to reduce their energy, water, waste and CO2 emission by 25% by 2015, compared to the 2011 baseline, and to contribute to a green economy and sustainable industrial development.


Over the course of the project, more than 500 attendees were trained and 35 factories participated from the target countries. The project resulted in total savings of USD 4 million in the first year with an average payback period of 2.5 years, 62,000 MWh per annum of energy saved (equivalent to 44,500 tons per annum of carbon dioxide emissions), nearly 633,000 m3 per annum of water saved and approximately 660 tonnes per annum of waste reduced.

Mapping Studies on Solid Waste, Renewable Energy and Water Saving Technologies

As part of the initiative to develop H&M’s “Green Industry” strategy for the garment supply chains of Cambodia & Myanmar, ASSIST conducted a mapping of the existing stakeholders on renewable energy.


ASSIST conducted mapping studies and generated reports on solid waste, renewable energy, and water saving technologies. The reports provided a description of the subject’s current conditions in the country, the existing stakeholders and key players and the national solutions/technologies available. The reports also offer a more detailed analysis of the subject specifically in the context of the country’s garment industry and recommend relevant actions for the sector. Following those 6 reports (3 in Cambodia, 3 in Myanmar), H&M requested ASSIST replicate the studies in Vietnam.

Improving Food Safety Systems at Rice Mills, Rice Sector Support Project – EAP Sustainable Business Advisory

Limited access to services and information on international markets requirements has caused a lack of awareness and understanding of food safety systems in the Cambodian rice industry. This prevents local food processors from realizing the potential in the EU and US markets. Moreover, modern trading conditions require food businesses, including rice mills, to demonstrate their commitment to food safety through an appropriate management program.


IFC has been supporting the development of the Cambodian rice sector for years, aiming to make the milling and trading industry more competitive, by playing a key role in accelerating the transformation of the industry through several project interventions. In this food safety pilot project, part of the larger Cambodia Rice Sector Support Project, ASSIST collaborated with IFC to enhance the awareness and capacity of mill enterprises to implement food safety management systems.  Implemented in two phases, Phase 1 included Food Safety / Occupational Health and Safety gap assessments and Phase 2 covered the Food Safety / Occupational Health and Safety implementation.


ASSIST specifically undertook a detailed assessment of these mills’ status and capacities, produced a business plan/project proposal for the implementation processes, raised awareness and conducted a National Food Safety Dissemination workshop. Over the course of the program, 21 rice mills were assessed, 12 participated and received certification for food safety management systems (GMP/HACCP/ISO22000) and occupational health and safety (OHSAS18001).

Fire and Life Safety Risk Profiling

The standards of work health and safety were brought to the forefront of the public eye after the collapse of the Rana Plaza Building in Bangladesh in April 2013. The commercial structure housed a garment factory and its collapse resulted in numerous injuries and a death toll of 1,127. In the aftermath, it called for improved working conditions and better compliance with factory safety standards.


The IFC Fire and Life Safety Risk Profiling (FLSRP) Project aimed to support the Better Work Programme – a partnership project of the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) – in its objective to improve labour conditions and compliance of standards by participating garment and footwear factories in developing countries. The project aided Better Work in reviewing its tools and approaches to assess and remedy fire and building safety issues in each of the countries in which it operates; ultimately to prevent or mitigate the impact of future incidents like the 2013 disaster in Bangladesh.


FLSRP involved the conduct of sectoral-level risk assessments on fire and building safety in garment and footwear factories to develop respective risk profiles for Cambodia, Haiti, Indonesia, Jordan, Lesotho, Nicaragua, and Vietnam. Major activities included research and desk review, benchmarking, report review, site selection and inspections, stakeholder discussions, data compilation and lessons-learnt workshops in each of the target countries.

Energy Efficiency Initiative

The percentage of the Cambodian population with access to electricity is very low, at 56.1% in 2014. A lack of electricity affects society in numerous ways: children find it more difficult to study, families are unable to properly prepare food, communities cannot conduct social gatherings and the overall productivity of the country suffers. To meet the growing demand for affordable and accessible electricity, it is essential to adopt alternative sources of electricity production.


Considering the challenges faced by Cambodian communities, ASSIST is working to implement the Energy Efficiency Initiative and increase the capacity of distributors to create and support a market for Philips’ solar systems. The Energy Efficiency Initiative is a project organized by ASSIST, DEG, and Philips, to provide LED solar systems to electricity-deprived regions in Cambodia and build the capacity of local actors to support and maintain LED solar systems. Local stakeholders, such as public authorities, community representatives, and NGOs, will collaborate and coordinate the capacity building of communities, the implementation and maintenance of Philips’ solar products and LED Solar Lighting Solutions.


By the end of the 18-month period of implementation, the Energy Efficiency Initiative will have reached 510 households and 30 public spaces; including playgrounds, classrooms and community centers. The target communities will enjoy the benefits of high-quality and cost-effective lighting that is reliable and robust, easy to install and maintain, matches climate factors with minimum environmental impact, ultimately providing a better standard of life, be it day or night.