Lao CSR Awards Shortlist Announced
The First Lao CSR Awards were jointly launched on the 1st October 2021 by The Australian Chamber of Commerce, the Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Canadian Embassy, the British Business Group Lao PDR, the European Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Lao PDR, and Civitas Co., Ltd.
The CSR Awards received a large number of excellent applications and it has been extremely challenging for our judging panel to narrow these applications down to a shortlist. The number and quality of the applications speaks to the overall commitment to CSR within the Lao business community, and the BBGL, as part of the Lao CSR Award Organizing Committee is pleased to announce the shortlisted candidates for the inaugural Lao CSR Awards.
The shortlisted candidates in the SME category are (in alphabetical order):
Discover Laos Today is a licensed tour operator based in Luang Prabang. With more than 10 years’ experience in the tourism sector, the team at Discover Laos Today is made up of travel enthusiasts, avid thrill-seekers, photography hobbyists and specialists of leisure, adventure and discovery.
Discover Laos Today has been heavily involved in the protection of Lao’s endangered turtle species through its work in building and funding an insurance colony. There, the turtles are being protected from the wildlife trade and bred to ensure the survival of their species.
The turtles are cared for by world-renowned herpetologist Nathanael Maury, who breeds the turtles in specially designed enclosures on the outskirts of Vientiane.
Many of the turtles being cared for are critically endangered and without drastic changes they will soon become extinct in the wild. It is the hope of Discover Laos Today that a sustainable breeding population can be established which will allow the turtles to be relocated to a separate educational facility, to preserve the isolation of the breeding center and to increase the awareness of their plight to tourists and the general public.
The long term goal of the sanctuary is the eventual release of the turtles into the wild, once effective safeguarding mechanisms are in place.
SERCASIA/Green Vientiane is dedicated to promoting sustainability by encouraging a more environmentally friendly lifestyle and combating plastic pollution by plastic prompting reduction/restriction, to reduce further deterioration of the environment and associated health risks. Their aim is to educate and empower Lao people to live a more environmentally friendly lifestyle.
Since 2011, Green Vientiane has worked tirelessly to reduce plastic pollution by mobilizing manufacturers, policymakers and consumers in Laos.
Green Vientiane has been supporting the Vientiane Urban Development and Administration Authority’s campaign to improve the cleanliness of That Luang Festival since 2015, has organized programs and events to raise awareness particularly amongst the young generation, such as school clean-ups in conjunction with World Clean-up Day with the Lao Youth Union.
Green Vientiane has produced 3 cartoon videos in 2017 for public education, sponsored several contests to involve youth, and organized conferences for industry professionals including “The Future of Plastic, Laos 2030.”
The organization has also advocated for the creation of a legal framework in Lao PDR, in order to make this a national challenge.
The Green runs chicken farms and provides veterinary services in 24hr/ 7 days to keep the chickens healthy. It all started with 1 employee and 1 farmer two years ago and now has grown to 16 full-time employees and 40 farmhouses. The company made a promise not to ever use chemicals to raise chicken, and they are keeping their promises by receiving continuous disease management education. Their adage is “we grow together with local farmers under the green agriculture.”
The green’s goal is to ensure that they provide healthy and trustworthy food for customers, available at reasonable prices and fresh delivery.
They partner with small-scale farmers to increase their production capacity while helping their local communities to easily raise chickens and provide an additional revenue stream for local families.
They do not use chemicals. Pesticides are currently being studied to tackle disease with local microbes. They prioritize local food value chain production and supply in local scale.
They raise chickens free of antibiotics.
They consider animal welfare and don’t use cage for breeding.
The Green are expanding their business with the goal of obtaining an EU-issued organic certificate. It is quite a challenge as with imported feed, it is difficult to obtain organic certification. Therefore, the Green is preparing to equip its own farm to produce the feed part solution itself. While still a new business, within 2 years they plan to form a pilot farm and increase the number of cooperatives to 40 families. From 3 to 5 years, the plan is to expand the business step-by-step to the central region of Laos and then the whole country.
The shortlisted candidates in the Large Business category are:
Once the residence of the late Prince Souvannaphouma, Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel by Angsana , is a luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Luang Prabang with a business philosophy of “Embracing the Environment, Empowering People’. The hotel believes that sustainability goes beyond protecting the environment to creating a positive impact in the communities.
Luang Prabang Monthly Clean Up – Trash Idol Group. Angsana Maison Souvannahoum jointly established the Luang Prabang Monthly Clean Up in 2014 for which they formed a volunteer group called “Trash Idol”. Cleaning community areas means restoring and cleaning natural resources for communities in the Luang Prabang area. They have work with the Luang Prabang Urban Office to arrange the cleaning event on the last Saturday of every month. Each time, they have had more than 50 volunteers from hotels, restaurants, schools, university, vocational collage, government sectors, villages and NGO etc. They have recorded the number/volume of waste and participants and with organized 60 events help so far they have mobilized over 4,100 people to remove over 32,000Kg of trash.
Sustainability performance. Maison Souvannaphoum Hotel commits to continually improve the environmental and social sustainability performance and annual benchmarking by reducing 5% waste sent to landfill, reducing utilities (energy and water) by 5% against last year and increasing the sustainability involvement of associates and guests. The hotel joins the global Earth Hours moment to turns off all non-essential lights for one hour, daily monitor its electricity and water usage and 54% of its light bulbs are LED with a target of 100% in the years to come. The hotel also collect storm water, track food waste to reduce and diver from landfill, compose food and green waste and produce around 300kg of organic compost per year.
Plastic free. The hotel is also a member of “Plastic Free Laos” and has implemented a plastic reduction campaign since 2018. Within two years it has achieved 83.60% of plastic reduction, and plans to eliminate more on garbage bag, cling film plastic wrap etc. Eco shopping bag is provided for guest to avoid plastic bags usage during their stay in Luang Prabang.
Planting trees. The hotel also has a Greening Communities program that raises awareness of climate change and sequesters carbon by planting trees in local communities. The hotel implemented this initiative in 2007, has since planted 21,226 trees around Luang Prabang, namely at Luang Prabang Technical and Vocational Collage, Souphanouvong University, government offices, temples and along the main roads.
Seedlings Program – Mentorships. The seedlings program is a mentorship program which provides life skills training and job opportunities for marginalized local youths, helping them to forge a successful career in hospitality and services. It nurtures young people at risk of societal exclusion by providing vocational education and preparing them for life and work. Angsana Maison Souvannaphoum currently support two local student since 2015, from the age of 12 until 18 years old. In 2021 one of these students graduates from secondary school and they plan to support her at Vocational level 2022. The hotel aims to make this initiative permanent and to be able to support three students every two years.
Burapha Agroforestry Co., Ltd operates a sustainable agroforestry plantation model in four provinces of central Laos. It was established in 1993 and is 95% Swedish owned with a 5% Lao partner. To-date Burapha has plantations, a plywood mill, a nursery and a sawmill/small scale furniture factory. They has 23 plantation sites located within the boundaries of 55 villages across eight districts and four provinces in central Laos. Currently the planted area is 5,500 hectares, mostly eucalyptus, with plans to expand this to 60,000 hectares. The company’s land assets are mainly mosaics of plots with an average of 100 hectares per stand. CSR efforts:
Land acquired for plantations is degraded forest, predominantly past swidden agriculture. Only degraded areas are planted and sensitive habitats, such as stream buffer zones, water courses, and remnant native forests are protected. Participatory villages, families and individuals are employed by Burapha to conduct various forestry operations, including land preparation, planting and tree maintenance. Intercropping, grazing and -non-timber forest product collections are supported activities within their plantations.
Burapha plantation forestry is at the forefront of combating climate change. Its plantations sequester about six tons of GHGs per hectare annually. The company is planning to expand its operations from 5000 to 60,000 hectares which will result in massive volumes sequestered carbon from the atmosphere permanently as its products, plywood and furniture, are created for longevity.
Key direct benefits to communities and individuals include land payments, wage labor opportunities, skills development, and intercropping / agriculture opportunities. Project related land acquisition does not result in resettlement or displacement. Our model brings work opportunities directly to the doorstep of villages which helps to maintain their social cohesion. Burapha plantations have been FSC certified since 2013, and our sawmill and plywood mill are both FSC Chain of Custody certified.
Land acquired for plantations is degraded forest, predominantly past swidden agriculture. Only degraded areas are planted and sensitive habitats, such stream buffer zones, water courses, and remnant native forests are protected. Participatory villages, families and individuals are employed by Burapha to conduct various forestry operations, including land preparation, planting and tree maintenance. Intercropping, grazing and NTFP collection are supported activities within our plantations.
Key direct benefits to communities and individuals are one of land payments, wage labor opportunities, skills development and intercropping / agriculture opportunities. Project related land acquisition does not result in resettlement or displacement. Our model brings work opportunities directly to the doorstep of villages which helps to maintain their social cohesion. Burapha plantations have been FSC certified since 2013, and our sawmill and plywood mill are both FSC Chain of Custody certified.
Pullman Luang Prabang, a dynamic and stylish international 5-star luxury resort in Luang Prabang, is also ALLSAFE Certified for Safety & Hygiene Standards. The hotel is committed to act every day for Positive Hospitality, because “every one of Pullman’s hotels is a world in itself.” Pullman is engaged in comprehensive CRS programs and completes hotel energy efficiency assessments, reduce food waste and meat consumption, and offers local and sustainable food and removing single-use plastic.
Planet21 – As part of the international hotel group Accor, Pullman Luang Prabang is committed in a initiative called Planet21 that aims to engage their guests in a sustainable experience, co-innovate with their partners to open up new horizons, work hand in hand with local communities for positive impact, move to carbon neutral buildings and strive for zero food waste and healthy and sustainable foods. In 2018, Pullman implemented the campaign with the objectives to engage its guests in a sustainable experience with no plastic, use of refillable bottles, electric-powered vehicles, solar panels, LEDs and eco-certified cleaning products, trash pick-up and tree-planting activities. The hotel has a 2-hectare of organic farm and a huge rice paddy field that are used in its restaurant.
Plant for the Planet – Pullman engages in supporting solidarity projects, participating in Plant for the Planet, one of the projects under the Planet21 that encourages every Accor hotels to donate money based on the size of the hotel to contribute to the program, to help in creating sustainable projects and in leveraging and expanding its program.
Single-use Plastics – Accor aims to eliminate all guest-related single-use plastic items in all hotels by end of 2022. In addition, it joined the “Tourism initiative on plastics” led by the UN and supported by the Ellen Marc Arthur Foundation where it shares theses commitments by 2025: 1. Single plastic elimination 2. Reusable alternative 3. Reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging 4. Recycled contents 5. Recycling and composting 6. Reporting.
Love Life Café is a young food service company with big dreams. It started by making natural ice cream and yummy cookies in the heart of Vientiane in July 2011, and its core business is firmly kid-orientated.The company loves nature, as well as all things creative, including technology. Love Live Café is trying to minimize the impact on the environment and have used biodegradable packaging from day one. The five company values are: Quality, Creativity, Discovery, Balance & Responsibility
Love Life Café take CSR seriously in all aspects of work, with special attention paid to human relationships – with its staffs, clients, suppliers, and community. For the Café, protecting the environment goes hand in hand with fostering wellbeing for everyone that comes in contact with the company. In terms of concrete measures. It started by using eco-conscious products and suppliers. For example, from 2011 to 2014, most of their soft-serve ice cream were served in cassava and bamboo pressed cups.
Additionally, they use:
• Bamboo straws made in Luang Prabang by BambooLao (since 2018)
• Pressed bamboo takeaway boxes made in Luang Prabang by Nam Dong Park (since 2020)
• Mulberry “saa” paper gift boxes, hand made by Jeune couture in Vientiane (since 2011)
• Organic herbal teas from Agroasie (since 2016)
• Locally produced Kombucha by AmazingWorx (since 2018)
• Organic brown rice from Panyaniveg Farmers (since 2018)
• Local eco-friendly washing liquid from Thaan Fun Farm (since 2019)
• Imported eco-friendly cleaning products from Eco-lab (since 2019)
• Glass pots for yogurts made for schools as well as for the café. (since 2018)
Love Life has NEVER used or sold Styrofoam takeaway boxes, plastic bottles or cans and plastic bags.
Love Life engages their clients by encouraging reusable packaging for wholesale products; using waste for compost to grow vegetables and herbs at school; avoiding throw-away packaging whenever possible.
On behalf of the judging panel, the organizers and the sponsors, we would like to congratulate all the shortlisted candidates. The winners will be announced on the 18th of February 2022 in an award ceremony at the conclusion of the Responsible Business Conduct Forum. Stay tuned for further updates!