Interview with Giang Trinh, Public Affairs Manager at Pernod Ricard Cambodge

This week we interviewed Ms. Giang Trinh, Public Affairs Manager at Pernod Ricard Cambodge, a leading international wines & spirits importer & distributor in Cambodia, investing in local advertising, activities, and promotions of their wines and spirits portfolio. Ms Giang will shed light on the current state of the alcohol industry, particularly for wines and spirits, prospects and difficulties, as well as how Pernod Ricard Cambodge is committed to sustainability.

EuroCham: Could you brief me on your background and how long you have worked at Pernod Ricard?

Giang: In university, I majored in Teaching English as a Second Language. After graduation, I worked as a Research Assistant at the Provincial Department of Health, assisting a group of Nagasaki University and Tokyo University doctors and researchers on public health programs for women and children. I was subsequently invited to join an international NGO, Handicap International, which was highly active in disability prevention and care in Vietnam and worked there for 8 years as a Program Assistant, and later as the Program Manager.

It was there that I discovered Pernod Ricard, who is one of the program donors for drunk driving prevention. In 2016, I joined Pernod Ricard Asia in Hong Kong, where I primarily managed Cambodia and Vietnam. I have been based and working in Cambodia full-time since July 2022. I took some gap years and have been with Pernod Ricard for four years.

EuroCham: What are your thoughts on the current state of the alcohol industry, particularly for wines and spirits, the opportunities, and challenges, and what excites you the most about this industry?

Giang: Cambodia, in my opinion, provided many significant prospects for the alcohol business, particularly for wine and spirits companies like Pernod Ricard to operate in Cambodia. To be honest, the industry benefits from the open-mindedness of public and private stakeholders, including our end-consumers, as well as the support and favourable regulatory framework for alcohol. In Cambodia, each of us has a greater opportunity to communicate, collaborate, and practice compliance.

However, the challenges that all public and private stakeholders have been working together to address are the lack of some standards and regulations (a minimum Legal Purchase Age, definition of alcoholic beverage, rice spirit standards, etc.), inconsistent enforcement when it comes to tackling illicit alcohol or combating harmful alcohol use.

Despite the hurdles, what fascinates me about this industry, particularly in Cambodia, is the frequency with which I've witnessed public-private dialogue and strong relationships among industry players. For example, only in Cambodia can we see shared joint commitments and cooperative efforts among wines, spirits, and breweries, which is not always the case in other similar business contexts. 

EuroCham: Pernod Ricard Cambodge is also taking part in EuroCham's CSR Cross-Sectoral. Could you please share the project strategy and future plans for your company's CSR initiatives?

Giang: We are fortunate to have a very clear Sustainability and Responsibility (S&R) Road Map to 2030 from Pernod Ricard, which has been continuously implemented in all affiliates throughout the world. We began our impactful S&R programs in tackling the harmful use of alcohol back in 2015, even before the affiliate's official establishment in 2017. All our programs, which are global, regional, and local best practices, have contributed to the prevention of underage drinking, drunk driving, binge drinking, and the intake of alcohol from unknown sources.

This year Pernod Ricard Cambodge applied for Eurocham's CSR Cross-sectoral Awards this year with our Sensota project, which aims to promote the livelihoods of local farmers in Takeo, province communities who create rice liquor (Sraa Sor) and help revitalize Cambodian rice spirit as a source of national pride.

EuroCham: Unrecorded alcohol including illicit alcohol is becoming more sophisticated in the region, also in Cambodia. Which measures has Pernod Ricard Cambodge taken to address this? 

Giang: There is an urgent need to address an unrecorded alcohol problem that includes illicit trade alcohol, counterfeit, smuggled, and homemade alcohol that is unsafe to drink. According to WHO estimates, unrecorded alcohol accounts for over half of all alcohol consumed in Cambodia.

To tackle this, Pernod Ricard Cambodge has joined hands with EuroCham Cambodia, in their partnership MoU with the Consumer Protection Competition and Fraud Repression Directorate General (CCF) of the Ministry of Commerce through conducting educational workshops, and conferences. We also work with regional and local organizations to disseminate important reports on the illicit trade of alcohol in order to promote awareness and encourage participation from various stakeholders. 

EuroCham: Given how each company has embraced sustainability as it has grown over time, could you tell us how Pernod Ricard Cambodge continues to be committed to sustainability?

Giang: Pernod Ricard Cambodge will definitely continue to walk the talk to expand the scale of the impact of our programs in addressing irresponsible drinking behaviours, in partnership with relevant public and private stakeholders. We will also continue to learn more best practices from peers, from players inside and outside of the industry and maximize the implementation of them in Cambodia.

Internally, each of Pernod Ricard Cambodge’s employees is a great ambassador of responsible drinking. Resources including human resources and funding will be allocated significantly relevant to realize our commitments in sustainability, to make Cambodia a safer place to operate and to practice our core values.

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