For us at Three Corner Coffee Roaster, we choose to roast and produce a socially and culturally sensitive coffee product of high quality and hygienic standards. We believe our product will give a good reputation to products produced in Cambodia and by the Cambodian people, but this isn’t where it should end. We want to see more products produced by Cambodia and services offered by Cambodians that attain to and even go beyond our social, cultural, and quality standards; as much as we can we try to support and encourage such ethical and honest businesses as our own in hopes that this will pave the way for a new generation of business in Cambodia.
Unfortunately, one of the first things that visitors to Cambodia find out is that Cambodia’s current production standards for packaged food and beverages is relatively low, that is, if they can even find a Cambodian product. Very few regulations and certifications exist for Cambodian products, and because of corruption, they are easily side-stepped or, in the case of certifications, are just bought by the companies rather than ever going through a qualification process. Unfortunately, many Cambodian products will never reach the international market simply because of their inferior quality, or an inability to certify that they are of high quality.
Setting the bar as an ethical and honest business that is succeeding in Cambodia is a difficult thing. The anti-corruption legislation that is now being upheld by the government in Cambodia helps to remove the necessity of paying bribes, yet fully coming out of a system requiring regulators to receive bribes in order to actually make a living themselves will take time. We support the economic transformation of Cambodia by following the Cambodian Laws involving taxes, certifications, and licenses, paying all the proper fees, even though enforcement is minimal and many businesses, including our competitors in many cases, save money by not doing so. We do not choose to be “whistleblowers”, but we do know that true sustainability lies in doing things in such a way that it benefits everyone, from the coffee farmer to the coffee drinker.