Kick-off event launches the EU-funded project “Switch Garment: Promotion of Sustainable Energy Practices in the Garment Sector in Cambodia”

PHNOM PENH, Cambodia; September 11, 2020 – Today, a kick-off event was held for the launch of the EU-funded project “Promotion of Sustainable Energy Practices in the Garment Sector in Cambodia”, or Switch Garment, at the headquarters of the Garment Manufacturers Association in Cambodia (GMAC). The project, which is funded by the EU SWITCH-Asia Grants program, will be implemented by the Global Green Growth Institute (GGGI), with the NGO Geres, and GMAC over a four-year period. This event bought together key stakeholders, including garment factories, international retailers, sustainable energy solution providers, and senior government officials.

The event focused on how the project partners will support garment manufacturing factories to improve energy efficiency and harness clean energy to increase their competitive advantage while decreasing their environmental impact. The garment manufacturing sector is the largest industry in Cambodia but has also been one of the hardest hit by the global COVID-19 pandemic. A switch to sustainable energy practices offers much-needed employment opportunities and seeks to fulfill sustainability targets set by international brands. GGGI’s economic modeling projects that a 20% increase in energy efficiency in the garment sector would lead to an increase of more than 30% in energy productivity by 2030 and $2 billion of avoided energy costs.

The overall objective of the EU funded SWITCH-Asia program is to promote sustainable and inclusive growth, contribute to the economic prosperity and poverty reduction in Asia and Central Asia, and to a transition towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient, and circular economy. Launched in 2007, the program has achieved more than a decade of progress on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) in 24 countries in the region. Opening the event, the EU Ambassador to Cambodia, Carmen Moreno, stated, “the project is part of wider efforts of the EU in helping Cambodia mitigate the socio-economic effects of the global COVID 19 pandemic.” The EU funds the project with 3 million Euro.

As a key proponent of the project, the implementing partners will work with the Cambodian government to strengthen the regulatory framework for sustainable energy practices in manufacturing. Speaking at the event, H.E Tung Ciny, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Industry, Science, Technology, and Innovation and H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok, Secretary of State of the Ministry of Environment showed their strong support for the project. H.E. Dr. Tin Ponlok stated, “We are thrilled to see the results from our study on greening industrial sector put into action through this Switch Garment project.” H.E Tung Ciny added, “The Switch Garment project will not only help our garment sector use their energy resources efficiently, but it will also address the negative impacts from industry activities on environmental and climate changes.”

The garment manufacturing SMEs were at the heart of the event as the project relies on their participation to lead the way in sustainable energy in the sector. By offering options to develop their capacities, working with service providers and banks to increase the accessibility of clean energy technologies and financial solutions for SMEs, the project will support garment factories directly. The Minister attached to the Prime Minister, Managing Director of the Electricité du Cambodge (EDC), H.E. Keo Rattanak attended the event, laying out his views on the future of clean energy in Cambodia, “This kick-off event marks another milestone of our current debate on sustainable energy practices in Cambodia and particularly today in the garment sector […] We see solar reach 9% of installed capacity by the end of next year.”