Corporate Sustainability Supported by CSI

11:18:13 AM | 22/11/2019

Sustainable development has become an urgent and necessary requirement in the global economic landscape as well as an emerging challenge in the context of international economic integration.

Active participation in global sustainable development programs

At the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on September 25, 2015, 193 world leaders adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, including 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with 169 targets to end poverty, combat inequality and injustice, and respond to climate change to 2030. The agenda also emphasizes the role of businesses in fulfilling SDGs together with governments and international organizations. This means that businesses are key to innovations that meet sustainable development requirements and report to strategic planners on how they contribute to the agenda.

Being aware of the importance of sustainable development, Vietnam joined the Earth Summit on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1992, the World Summit on Sustainable Development in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2002, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, the Agenda 21, RIO+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in 2012 and the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit in New York in 2015.

Vietnam also developed and issued policies on sustainable development such as Directive 36-CT/TW dated June 25, 1998, of the Politburo on enhancing environmental protection in the course of industrialization and modernization; the Socioeconomic Development Strategy for 1991-2000, Decision 153/2004/QD-TTg on Vietnam Sustainable Development Strategy (Vietnam Agenda 21), Decision 432/QD-TTg dated April 12, 2014 on Sustainable Development Strategy for 2011-2020, Decision 1393/QD-TTg dated September 25, 2012 on National Green Growth Strategy, Resolution 19/NQ-CP dated February 6, 2017 on continued execution of key tasks and solutions for better business environment and national competitiveness in 2017 and to 2020.

The Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), which represents the Vietnamese business community and supports the business community to enhance competitiveness in the integration process, was assigned by the Government as a lead agency to carry out activities concerning sustainable development and business development support, for example carrying out Resolution 19/NQ-CP of 2017 and Resolution 35/NQ-CP of 2016. VCCI is also a key partner/implementer of various regional and international sustainable development programs such as the Southeast Asia Action Plan 2020, the Action Plan 2020 and the Vision 2030 of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, and the Integrated Sustainable Agriculture Program United Nations Global Compact Network.

CSI - Measure of sustainable development for businesses

As one of VCCI's many initiatives to promote sustainable development in the Vietnamese business community, the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) is a measure of business value built on economic, environmental and social sustainability criteria adapted to domestic social and political context and international practices. CSI is also a tool to record measured goals and manage changes to make business operations more sustainable. Now, CSI is considered a unique initiative, consulted and developed and updated annually by leading experts from VCCI, Government agencies, domestic and international agencies, VCCI members and other independent experts. Since 2016, CSI has been used as a basis for benchmarking and ranking sustainable businesses in Vietnam.

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of VCCI, emphasized that it is essential to bring CSI to businesses of all economic sectors nationwide. “VCCI and VBCSD are always concerned about how to deliver sustainability values, especially CSI, to all businesses in the country regardless of size or economic sector, to make sure that all businesses have a sense of humane and sustainable business right after they get started.”

In 2019, the CSI Program has become part of VCCI’s Action Plan for implementation of Resolution 02/NQ-CP for better business environment and national competitiveness.

Following the success of previous years, in 2019, the 4th edition is expected to inspire the Vietnamese business community to make a breakthrough in the last decade of achieving SDGs.

In addition to assessing and announcing excellently sustainable businesses, the program also aimed to enhance exchange and cooperation on sustainable development among businesses and among stakeholders to raise awareness of the importance and benefits of business sustainability.

Joining and getting honored at this prestigious national program means that sustainable businesses are recognized by the Government and central authorities. Thus, they will have their images boosted to the public.

In three years (2016-2018), the Program on Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam has spread strong ripple effects on corporate governance towards sustainability in the Vietnamese business community.

CSI plays a key role in achieving this goal. In particular, this year, CSI has reduced its criteria from 131 to 98, of which 90% are legal compliance indicators. The indicators are also more scientifically grouped, updated with international practices and domestic laws, highly applicable and suitable for more cases of use.

In addition, CSI has an instruction manual. Each indicator is explained and guided in detail, from information disclosure to selection of reference documents. Besides, most reference documents relate to their business. So, their information declarations can be conducted more easily and conveniently.

CSI is also digitalized and posted at the website, which is equipped with supporting functions, and interacts with users in the online declaration process. The improvement of CSI software ensures that users get maximum support and addresses all concerns about adopting this type of engagement.

By providing information for CSI, businesses can systemize their corporate governance information, including business processes and methods, rules and regulations and mandatory documents, to improve and promote their sustainable development strategies.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary General of VCCI, Vice Chair of VBCSD, assessed that the CSI 2019 with richer content is a useful guide for all business administrators and investors.

CSI is a basic tool for businesses that have just started transitioning to a sustainable development strategy, a detailed gauge of sustainability for experienced businesses, a full and reliable report on business potential for investors.

Mr. Le Ngoc Lam, Deputy General Director in charge of the Board of Management of BIDV

In order to expand green credit for environmentally friendly projects, BIDV suggested the Government consider and direct ministries and sectors to develop concessional credit programs and packages to encourage funding for green, environment-friendly, energy saving projects.

We suggest that the State Bank of Vietnam consider and issue policies guiding credit institutions to build an environmental and social risk management framework and increase interest rates and restrict credits for environmentally and socially negative projects.

The Government and central agencies should review and improve licensing conditions for projects that may adversely affect the environment and society and, at the same time, strictly control licensing, environmental impact assessment and tax incentives for environmentally friendly projects.

Vietnamese businesses are motivated to disclose sustainability information

Mr. Hoang Hung, Deputy General Director, PwC Vietnam

In Vietnam, disclosing information on environmental and social indicators is mandatory for listed companies per Circular 155/2015/TT-BTC. Some companies have actively outdone regulatory compliance and voluntarily applied popular sustainability reporting frameworks in the world, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) standards.

Some innovative businesses have made detailed assessment of how sustainable development is aligned into their strategies and operations or surveyed opinions of relevant stakeholders for compiling the most multidimensional sustainability reporting.

In addition to initiatives such as the Vietnam Sustainability Index (VNSI) adopted by the Hochiminh Stock Exchange (HOSE) or the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) launched by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), Vietnamese companies are facing new motivations to disclose sustainability information.

Recently, the State Securities Commission of Vietnam (SSC) and IFC introduced the first Vietnam Corporate Governance Code, which consists of some principles of integrating sustainable development factors such as environment and society into business strategies and encourage the disclosure and transparency of non-financial information to investors, regulatory agencies and the community. Businesses need to align sustainability elements into strategies right from the outset and introduce sustainable development goals and initiatives.

Focus on innovation and technological development

Mr. Denis Brunetti, President of Ericsson in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia

In the past 30 years, foreign direct investment (FDI) into Vietnam has been mainly poured into low value-added and labor-intensive industries and fields. The next steps of breakthrough socioeconomic development will not depend on just land or cheap labor or resources but, importantly, innovation and technological development in the digital economy, knowledge-based economy.

To promote sustainable development and resource-free growth, Vietnam needs to focus more on innovation and digital transformation. Data in digital economy is compared to a new source of oil.

With science and technology, through smart cities, innovation and 5G infrastructure - as a core platform, Vietnam needs to build a data network to fuel growth, a pollution-free fuel source.

Creating values from circular economy applications

Mr. Matt Wilson, Corporate Affairs Director, Heineken Vietnam

Practices at Heineken Vietnam show that the circular economy model not only helps reduce emissions but also creates value from waste. These initiatives include advancing to zero waste to landfill - nearly 99% of waste or by-products are reused or recycled: Almost 100% of Heineken Vietnam's glass beer bottles are recovered for reuse before being recycled at the glass factory at the end of the product life cycle. Other materials such as cardboard, aluminum, plastic and paper are all reused or recycled. 100% of wastewater is treated up to Grade A, a safety standard, before returning to the environment. Four out of six Heineken Vietnam's breweries use carbon neutral thermal energy from renewable energy and biomass fuel, thus reducing 2,500 tons of CO2 emissions in logistics in 2018 alone.

Heineken Vietnam's initiative to recycle Tiger beer caps is a good example that the circular economy can help create positive values ​​for society, protect the environment and support business growth. Launched in 2018, the project has built two bridges made from recycled beer bottle caps in Tien Giang and An Giang provinces. The third bridge in Ho Chi Minh City will be completed in early 2020.

Sustainability is a key strategy of Schneider Electric

Mr. Yoon Young Kim

Country President of Schneider Electric Vietnam, Myanmar and Cambodia

We are committed to accomplishing the 17 United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals by addressing the five sustainability megatrends: Climate, Circular economy, Ethics, Health & Equity, and Development. It shows our contribution and commitments in each country we operate, and Vietnam is not an exception. Sustainable development is one of the key strategies of Schneider Electric over the last 25 years of operation in Vietnam. We are honored as one of 100 sustainable businesses in Vietnam which is proven by our campaigns, activities and solutions.

We apply our heritage of corporation in digital transformation in energy management and automation to help businesses in Vietnam manage energy efficiently and then develop sustainably. We are constantly trying to be proactive and innovative in technology (with key hero product EcoStruxure) to achieve the transition to the net zero carbon economy by reducing CO2 emissions to the environment, save electricity and consumption costs, aiming at green and sustainable development for customers in Vietnam.

We also care sustainability in terms of CSR activities by inspiring the young with innovative ideas about smart city and energy savings by our global contest: “Go Green in the City”. We are trying to bring safe, clean and sustainable electricity to communities as well, especially the remote areas in Asia by the campaign “Light It Up”.

Schneider Electric’s employee well-being program with health and equity will be still our focus and be one of key factors in our Schneider Sustainability Impact 2018 – 2020 – as we committed. This all will help for the next blooming 25 years of Schneider Electric in Vietnam.

Sustainable development must be invested comprehensively in diverse fields

Mr. Sadaharu Kato, CEO of Bridgestone Tire Sales Vietnam Limited Liability Company

With our leading position in consecutive 11 years in global tire industry, we believe that sustainable development must be invested comprehensively in diverse fields, rather than solely in economic, social or environmental aspects. With that perspective, Bridgestone Vietnam puts great emphasis on the sustainability in all activities. Not only do we strive to provide environmental-friendly products, we also carry out social-driven programs to assist local citizens in solving contemporary issues as well as creating long-term benefits. Particularly, children's development is one of our top priorities, since we believe that investing in younger generations would positively impact our society in years to come. Our recent CSR programs such as “No waste, No pollution” or “Bridgestone Squad – The Children’s Guardian” are all developed upon a sustainable vision towards Vietnam’s young generation. “Mobility – People – Environment” are three pillars on which Bridgestone Vietnam’s CSR programs are built, aiming to achieve 17 sustainable development goals proposed by the United Nations.

Anh Mai