June 24, 2021
Many Cambodian companies don't obtain relevant certifications because of a lack of awareness about their benefits, especially when it comes to improving quality management. On the one hand, several SMEs might think it is unnecessary unless it is obliged by the regulator. On the other hand, many SMEs willing to obtain certification are not ready to comply with the standard rules. (Are not willing to respect the standards as they are described in the obtained certification) Respecting the standard can be a capital investment; it also requires allocating human resources and time.
Quality Standards & Certifications play a crucial role in improving the business credibility towards international markets. For many Cambodian SMEs, these are the first step towards exporting globally/global exports. To export, certifications can be compulsory to meet the regulators' requirements (e.g. food safety) and/or satisfy the demand of the final consumers (e.g. fair trade). The Standards and Certifications are often also explicitly requested by the buyers, even if it is not an obligation from the regulators. This situation illustrates the necessity for an SME to be appropriately certified and use it as a competitive advantage.
Of the 15 companies supported by technical assistance from the ARISE+ in the Export Development Strategy (EDS) framework, 13 companies are in the process of obtaining certification. The certification of the supported SMEs are in the area of food safety (HACCP), quality management system (ISO 9001), fair trade (fair for life), ethical business (SEDEX), and good manufacturing practices for cosmetics (ISO 22716). There are also two more specific certifications: Global Recycled Standard and British Retailer Certification. We also support the Cambodian Rice Federation to obtain ISO 9001 (quality management system), with technical assistance provided by the advocacy sub-component.
To create awareness and knowledge regarding Quality Standards & Certification, ARISE+ Cambodia has partnered with Eurochamb Cambodia and the GIZ Business Scouts for Development program developed the second of our SME Export Talks. This second event will focus on "Standards & Certification for Export".