Promoting Sustainable Business Development

1:33:29 PM | 27/5/2019

The Program for Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Companies in Vietnam has been launched for 2019 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD). In an exclusive interview granted to the Vietnam Business Forum, Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of VCCI, affirmed that this year's ranking criteria will be more streamlined and closer to businesses than previous years.

He said, in addition to benchmarking and ranking sustainable companies, the program aims to raise awareness of businesses, the community and the society of the importance and benefits of sustainable development, while promoting sustainable business, enhancing exchange and cooperation on sustainable development among related parties, assisting businesses to learn from global experiences and practices of sustainable development and economic integration, and scaling up the application of the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) in the Vietnamese business community.

This is the fourth edition of the Program for Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Companies in Vietnam. What do you think about the ripple effect of this program over the years?

Clearly, the rankings strongly impacted and encouraged the Vietnamese business community, including micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs), to pursue sustainable development and corporate governance, especially when Vietnam is speeding up sustainable development and digital transformation amid the Fourth Industrial Revolution. All is designed to achieve Vietnam's sustainable development over the next decade.

This is one of activities in response to the UN 2030 Agenda, in which 193 countries including Vietnam, signed and are rushing to achieve the goal of “No one is left behind”. I think that businesses need to participate more actively and join forces with the Government and other social stakeholders to accomplish this goal.

The increasing involvement of businesses in the rankings showed that the effect of the program is spreading. Adopting the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI), corporate governance, environmental management and overall strategy are greatly improved. This helps inspire businesses to improve competitiveness and increase productivity as well.

While carrying out 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and responding to the Prime Minister’s call on plastic waste treatment, adopting CSI is an important lever, helping them deal with plastic waste. Since then, they can propose practical initiatives to protect the environment.

CSI 2019 is complete and richer in content. It is a useful manual for all business executives and investors. The index is the basic suggestion for businesses starting to move to sustainable development strategies, is a gauge for companies experienced with this index to look back on their progress to sustainability, and is a complete, reliable report on business potential for investors.

You have said that this year’s ranking is more streamlined and closer to businesses. Would you mind elaborating on this?

That’s right! This year, CSI is more streamlined and easier to apply than in previous years. Following the success in 2018, the Organizing Board and specialists gathered to get feedback from the business community and revise and reduced CSI criteria from 131 to 98. Indicator subgroups are organized more scientifically and specifically. Each indicator will have specific explanations and instructions, close and easy to understand, so that businesses can easily report information and take appropriate reference documents, most of which are related to their production and business operations.

This year, CSI is complete and richer in content. For example, this year the Organizing Board has worked with UNICEF experts to add content on child rights in business. This index is always active and updated to match the development level of the Vietnamese business community. Therefore, in the coming time, CSI will have some changes and updates such as going deeper into women's empowerment and gender equality.

In addition to benchmarking and announcing sustainable businesses, we will vote on journalistic articles about corporate sustainability with the aim of honoring the journalistic works on sustainable development and raising the business and public awareness of sustainable development and clarifying their role and responsibility toward sustainable development.

After experiencing many years of evaluating and ranking sustainable businesses, what still concerns you and what do you expect from this year's ranking?

What still concerns my colleagues and me is that Vietnamese enterprises are mostly small and micro in size. Although their awareness on sustainable development has gradually been raised, they still face many hardships and barriers to aligning sustainable development with business. For that reason, we should do this gradually to uplift their perception of sustainable development on the one hand and equip them with sustainable financial and environmental management.

Currently, we are living with an integrating economy, digital transformation and sustainable development. Certainly, these will directly affect businesses. Therefore, they need to immediately embark on sustainable development to meet societal needs and not be left behind.

Thank you very much!

The Program for Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Companies in Vietnam 2019 aims to communicate, discover and announce businesses that have made efforts for sustainable development while raising awareness, promoting and guiding companies to pursue sustainable business.

All enterprises regardless of the size, type and form of ownership with lawful business registration and operation registration within the territory of Vietnam for three years or more can join in the program without cost.

The program receives applications through August 31, 2019. The Award-announcing Ceremony is expected to take place in Hanoi in November 2019.
For more information about the program, please visit the website: http://vbcsd.vn/