Akhila is a Justmeans staff writer for CSR and ethical consumption. As an IEMA certified CSR practitioner, she hopes to highlight a new way of doing business. She believes that consumers have the immense power to change 'business as usual' through their choices. She is a Graduate in Molecular Biology from the University of Glasgow, UK and in Environmental Management and Law. In her free-time she i...
Small-town CSR at the Golden Mango Inn
The Golden Mango Inn was built by a couple in Siem Reap with the simple idea of providing their family with a means of livelihood. This little quaint guesthouse is family run and has commendably incorporated a rudimentary CSR model based upon local sustainability. The inn has 24 rooms making it quiet small compared to many of the bigger enterprises in Siem Reap. This automatically means that resource consumption is lower. Apart from the management team who are close family, they have 11 employees whom they employ on an incremental salary basis.
In this little inn, in a little town in Cambodia I am surprised to find notices on how to regulate the temperature settings on the air conditioning to save energy, methods to save water and a key-card management system. In addition to a lot of traditional Cambodian art & craft, I also notice CFL bulbs and the general greenery around the property. When I spoke to Wann, one of the owners about sustainability efforts with their staff he said, "We meet all the staff once a week and one of the topics we discuss is getting them to understand more about the environment."
The restaurant adjacent to the guesthouse serves some really delicious food. I learnt that they grow some of their vegetables in their backyard, buy from farmers who use minimal amounts of pesticide and usually grown with traditional Cambodian fertilizer. The fish and eggs are locally sourced in Cambodia but some meats are imported. To their credit however, the number of meat dishes in their menu is comparatively lesser than seafood items.
They are also planning on expanding green cover on their property by planting more trees and flowering plants. They have a little fish pond in a large stone urn with thriving water plants and quite a lot of birds, butterflies and bees on the property. They have also associated themselves with one of the children's hospitals in Siem Reap called Angkor Hospital for Children. They donate 30% of their postcard sales to the hospital as well as have a donation box in the reception area. On top of all that, they treat their guests with a personal touch, offer you complimentary fruit and juice upon arrival!
Very often when CSR is talked about, its always about the bigger enterprises and big companies. Smaller businesses are also taking part in a very quiet CSR-revolution which is heartening to note. Small enterprises have a huge advantage of incorporating the models of CSR into their business very early on in the conception stage. They also have a direct relationship with the local community and in most cases are aware of environmental impacts.
Whilst talking about CSR, it is very easy to ignore the smaller places but it would be folly to do so. There is so much big businesses can learn about intrinsic sustainability from the smaller players.
Photos Top: Our room at Golden Mango. Bottom: A hanging plant holder made out of a coconut. Akhila Vijayaraghavan©