Last updated: Friday, February 17, 2017
Businesses Should Take Sustainability into AccountPosted: Thursday, December 08, 2016
Not only paying attention to boosting up business operations to increase revenue and profit, Vietnamese companies also integrate social and environmental objectives to ensure interests of all stakeholders. However, not many companies have the vision and integrate sustainable development to their business strategies.
At the online workshop titled “Businesses innovative and creative for sustainable development” hosted by the Business Forum Newspaper, Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, Director of the Office for Business Sustainable Development (SD4B) and Secretary General of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), said, a sustainable business must be sustainable at all three aspects of economy, society and environment. A sustainable business must first of all make a profit. If it is not profitable, it cannot be sustainable. But, its profit generation must be tied to social and environmental interests. Thus, a sustainable business is a profitable business which successfully combines environmental protection, social stability and labour relations.
Sustainable development is a business value. Sustainable development goals must be introduced and fully integrated into business activities of enterprises. Even after they succeed, they will continue to be renovating, thinking and taking actions to bring sustainable development to next business strategies to create competitive advantages, improve productivity and generate advantages that their competitors do not have. More importantly, they not only create unparalleled advantages and competitive advantages but also maintain such advantages in their business development.
“In the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) developed by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), we quantified parameters that seem to be unquantifiable, from which we can decide whether a company attains sustainability or attains what extent of sustainability. To develop this index, we combine efforts of many top-notch economic and environmental specialists. They had studied various indexes in the world as well as the global warning index to pick up best indicators for measuring sustainability of Vietnamese companies. With this index, we can identify whether a company is sustainable or partially sustainable,” Mr Vinh said.
He added that SMEs, State enterprises and private enterprises should take this index into account to gauge their degree of sustainability. Then, they can consult consulting firms or VBCSD of VCCI for assistance.
The good implementation of sustainable development will generate many opportunities for businesses to enhance the reputation and competitiveness and attract human resources and investors. By deploying sustainable development activities, enterprises can improve productivity and reduce costs by utilising resources, preserving resources, enhancing employee performance, cutting expenses, sharpening competitiveness, and quickening international economic integration process.
However, most Vietnamese SMEs are not confident that they can obtain sustainability on their limited financial resources and experience while Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have 151 criteria.
Mr Pham Hoang Hai, Head of the Secretariat of VBCSD, said, we look deeply into 151 criteria of sustainable development, we can find out that they weigh up governance. If companies have good internal governance, they have already been sustainable. When they have good governance processes, their business results will more economically profitable. Then, they will be able to spend more on modern technologies.
“One of sustainability factors is environmental development. To have environment-friendly products and technologies, we must have environmentally friendly technologies and most lean management processes. Among 151 index, environment, creativity and technology indices account for 30 per cent,” Hai said.
This is also the reason why VBCSD built this index on the harmony of Vietnam’s business environment and gradual integration into international environment.
He added that it is understandable that many companies cannot figure out what sustainability is and how to achieve it. Therefore, the council has, and will, organised many training courses on energy saving and green growth and update online tools on the website for enterprises to access them easily. Besides, VBCSD will host many seminars and conferences to share experience and knowledge with enterprises on sustainable business.