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Mon, May 26, 2008 - Page 10 News List

Importer brings green barbies to Australian market

DPA , PHNOM PENH

They are environmentally friendly, socially responsible and a great talking point for guests — Australians may soon be throwing a shrimp on a traditional Cambodian clay barbeque.

That’s the hope of Tom Drury of Thomas Imports in Sydney’s Mosman.

Drury is currently advertising the handmade clay barbeques on Internet trading site alibaba.com, but says he will approach large chains that show interest in going carbon-friendly such as Bunnings.

The barbeques are the brainchild of French environmental aid agency Geres, manufactured by mostly small and previously poor family businesses in the central Cambodian province of Kampong Chhnang.

“I’m interested in Geres because they are involved with carbon reduction projects in Cambodia. I want to give a few dollars from every barbeque I sell to Geres in the hope of becoming a carbon neutral company,” Drury said by e-mail.

Kimberley Buss, an Australian carbon offset analyst with Geres, says the great Aussie barbie going green from Cambodia is exciting.

“I think a certain percentage, especially men, will always want their big, shiny barbeques,” she said in an interview. “But they make a great talking point — every barbeque has a story.”

By redesigning the traditional Cambodian model so the grill sits closer to the fire, adjusting the number and size of the ventilation holes and keeping heat in with a metal jacket, Buss said the barbeques used 25 percent less fuel than conventional barbeques.

“It’s a moral thing with a lot of buyers,” Buss said. “And it helps people. There are two sisters making them at the moment who may not have had work before, but now every time I visit they have something more — a new motorbike, new staff. It’s great.”

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