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  • Writer's picturePhilippe Javelle

Certified Green Growth 2050 Platinum: the Knai Bang Chatt experience

After a decade in Cambodia, Covid-19 stopped my entertainment activities without any guarantee of retrieving them. I had to find another way of making a living.

While on meditation time in Kep, the most beautiful seaside spot of Cambodia, I came across Knai Bang Chatt's resort General Manager and happened to know of a Sustainability Manager position vacancy. Knai Bang Chatt's visionary owner created a barefoot luxury orientated resort in the 2000's with a concern for ecology: respect of the environment, mixed local and foreign management, respect of labour laws and neighbourhood. It was natural for him to move to circular economy and be the first hospitality structure owner to engage in sustainability.

Getting Green Growth 2050 certification in 2015, thanks to the whole working team's commitment under supervision of a proper sustainability manager, the resort kept on improving its achievements: solar panels providing 30% of its energetic needs, HACCP kitchen with energy monitoring, organic garden, recycling center, communication towards guests, payback to the local community (local school, online teaching program and supplies in a rural area). Integrating the resort's team, I had to maintain its high sustainable level during a troubled period that showed a significant increase of inside tourism in Cambodia. The resort's clientele changed from mostly Western hipsters to local wealthy persons. I had to face the new challenge of educating them and preserving the resort from local polluting habits. Also, Cambodia before Covid-19 hosted multiple organisations and associations working in sustainability and recycling. The pandemic literally slaughtered their activities, considerably diminishing recycling channels for hotels' waste. Another challenge was to find solutions with local actors and harden the resort's suppliers policy in terms of packaging and whereabouts.

In parallel, ASEAN enhancing its Green Hotel & Restaurant Standard, the owner wished to transmit the resort's sustainable DNA to other hospitality businesses in Cambodia. I was missioned to write 24 sustainable workshops in order to guide and assist other professionals of tourism in getting certified, then 6 training pilots for GIZ, a German governmental environmental association funding sustainable projects. In this very fulfilling and instructive experience, my duality as a business developer and storyteller was a precious asset. My soft skill in ecological innovation was also very helpful. I proudly learned that Knai Bang Chatt renewed its Green Growth 2050 Platinum certification a few weeks after I left the team, creating my own consultancy office in sustainability, with a leading Cambodian construction company as my first client. To be continued!


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