Minimalist Manufacturing: Asia’s New Approach To Production
17 October 2018 - Impact Hub

From textiles to electronics and more, Asia is one of the world’s most prolific manufacturers. And as the production rate continues to increase, so do worries about responsible manufacturing and consumption.

It comes as no surprise then that when Impact Hubs across Asia decided to come together and take part in the most recent Mash-Up, (an event series that aims to inspire and engage a multi-location audience around one Sustainable Development Goal, or ‘SDG’), the chosen topic was a no-brainer. SDG 12: Sustainable Production and Consumption.

On October 3rd, Impact Hub communities from Kuala Lumpur, Manila, Taipei and Phnom Penh came together to discuss what sustainability means to production and consumption across the region. We sat down with Abigail Perriman and Kosoma Kim from Impact Hub Phnom Penh to find out why…

Why SDG 12?

Firstly, responsible consumption and production are two hot topics for Cambodia. One of the largest industries here is the garment industry which has a big impact on both the environment and employee well-being – and when it comes to factories, these need to be highlighted and encouraged.

Secondly, many people in Cambodia are not yet aware of the impact their personal behaviour as consumers has on their environment, and so we wanted to promote responsible consumption, especially among young people living in Phnom Penh.

How does this issue affect you the most?

There are so many people in our community who are passionate about responsible consumption, especially when it comes to protecting Cambodia’s environment. In particular, there’s a strong and growing group of young people who are passionate about raising awareness around this issue while introducing more eco-friendly alternatives to people in the city.

It’s clear to us that reducing food waste and using less plastic is very important to our community of eco-warriors!

What drew you to co-organize this Mash-Up?

At Impact Hub Phnom Penh, we really wanted to be part of a regional event. We liked the idea of working together to focus on a specific theme, sharing a speaker and resources.

And as mentioned, the two most important areas for us are the garment industry and waste management, so for our event we invited one speaker to give insights on each topic.

Who were they?

Kim Van Der Weerd, General Manager of Raytecs clothing, spoke about their factory and the measures they take – both environmental and social – as they strive to be a more responsible producer.

We also invited Seat Lykhieng, co-founder of DerPrey, and Environmental Activist from Youth Eco Ambassadors, to share the youth group’s work, as well as personal and practical tips on how to be a responsible consumer in Cambodia.

How did  it go?

We really enjoyed the Mash-Up night! We had a great turnout and the audience was a 50/50 split between Cambodians and foreigners, many of whom worked in the textiles or plastics industries, or who had specific interests in SDG 12 and the local speakers.

To our delight the Q&A portion of the evening turned into a vibrant discussion among the guests, and many of the questions asked related to how audience members could be more responsible consumers themselves (for instance we had questions about where to recycle certain items in the city, and about tips for composting). We also designated some time for networking, which was great. Many useful connections were made and people stayed talking for long after the official end time.

What was your key takeaway from the Mash-Up?

We found it hugely interesting when our local speaker Kim described Boeung Sayab Market; a mountainous fabric waste market near the airport in Phnom Penh. Kim urged everyone to go and check out for themselves and reflect on the overuse of resources in the fashion industry.

She also touched on the rapidly changing styles of the fashion world, and how this competitive nature continues to increase the amount of waste produced, compared to the past. But, Kim also gave us solutions.

Based on her new business model, ‘production based on immediate demand’, Kim only produces high-quality products that ensure lifelong use. We think this is a great answer to our current problem. This really opened our eyes, and helped us to rethink our everyday outfits.

Maybe going minimalist is the new sustainable way of living.


This Mash-Up contributed to the following SDGs: