The culture of good is embodied in Buddhist “karma.” A well-meant action or deed will influence the future of an individual, bad intent can result to future suffering. Corporate responsibility similarly plays that way, “good adds up.”
AMRU Company’s business model—to market high-end food products made in cost-efficient supply chain—is no different from other companies. But efficiency is pursued in a culture of good as the company joined the ranks of a 37-member CSR Platform in Cambodia. This burgeoning movement gives back to every community it does business—and AMRU has succeeded in making a difference in local communities while keeping employees happy and engaged in their work.
“Enabling our supplier cooperatives to earn more individually or as a collective builds up farmer’s assets while also enable them to contribute more to their communities’ social assets. Our partner cooperatives cascade their benefits towards the entire community as they invest in their children’s education, social projects and causes they are passionate about.” AMRU’s Chairman, Song Saran said.
AMRU’s business is moving in an ethical market, primarily for export of organic food products. The company exported 80,000 tons of rice last year to 80 countries of destination, about 12 per cent of which are organic rice. It expects to lean more towards the organic food market since the world’s demand for organically grown food has grown bigger the past years, worth an estimated $80 billion in 2014, according to the Research Institute for Organic Agriculture (FiBL). The biggest markets are Europe and the United States, but sales are catching up in China.
In 2016, rice exports totaled US$18.4 billion with Asian countries accounted almost three-quarters (71.3%) of all rice exports, organic rice exports still accounted a small portion of total exports, for example, Thailand the lead Southeast Asian exporter, only has 0.3% of its rice farms as certified organic.
The organic market requires strict product quality standards. But the conditions are excellent among Cambodia’s organic food farmers who have never used GMO or pesticides. These farmers in remote farmlands with their rice free of chemical residues willingly acceded to be AMRU’s contracted partners. AMRU brought in global certification, EcoCert SA, among other certification standards. Cooperatives set up an Internal Control System compliant to all AMRU’s standards.
“We have used our expertise to bring the inherent goodness of organic rice to everyone, every day. We will never compromise on purity, taste, quality or nutrition, and goodness,” AMRU assures the consumer. AMRU will seek added certification through the British Retail Consortium (BRC) Global Food Safety Initiative and the Business Social Compliance Initiative (BSCI) standards through the SA8000 social management certification, for export of organic baby food products.
“We have placed corporate social responsibility as a core ethic and as our own business platform. It is a path for long term business survival for both our company and our farmer suppliers. It is the push for us to innovate and be competitive. It is our own approach of promoting climate change adaptation. It is our way of promoting Cambodian flagship products.”