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VCCI News

Last updated: Wednesday, December 13, 2017

 

Powering Up Sustainable Business Community

Posted: Tuesday, December 05, 2017


The ceremony announcing the 100 sustainable businesses of Vietnam in 2017 is scheduled for December 6. What Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, Deputy General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), feels most satisfied with is that the quality of candidates in this second edition is much higher. Not only honouring winners, the award also casts profound impacts on the operations of candidate companies.

Having returned from Da Nang City after attending the APEC Summit 2017 and side events such as CEO Summit, Vietnam Business Summit and ABAC, what can you say about the messages of inclusive development and sustainable development goals?
After APEC 2017 wrapped up, both domestic and foreign partners hailed efforts and impressions of the host country of Vietnam for common success. The message of inclusive development and sustainable development goals in fact has the same contents, focusing on 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) e.g. employment linked to economic growth, responsible use of resources, and utilisation Fourth Industrial Revolution’s achievements. Notably, the meeting of leaders and policymakers from Asia Pacific economies focused on accelerating development based on the mentioned SDGs. As for enterprises, cognitive changes are quite clear.

I want to say that activities within the framework of the APEC Summit Week such as the Vietnam Business Summit and the APEC CEO Summit, hosted by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) are recognised by partners for establishing new standards of organising events, both in form and content. This helped highlight the image of the Vietnamese land, people and business community. In that way, the Vietnamese business community managed to create vivid impressions at these major international events. At the intercontinental forum that brought together world-leading corporations and CEOs, I was impressed with the confidence of the Vietnamese business community in their presentations. For example, TBS Group delivered keynotes on employment in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Vingroup talked about sustainable agricultural development. TH Milk represented development with natural protection. These presentations covered contemporary issues that attracted the attention of the business community.

Not long ago, at the Fourth Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum, one of your concerns was that the impact of the business sector on overall sustainable development process is limited. After coming back from the APEC, do you have more inspirations or plans to change that status quo?
In general, things have become better as the business community is becoming more aware of opportunities and targets of sustainable development, proven by the double number of companies making sustainability reports in a year (90 per cent of Top 500 companies disclosed sustainability reports) and strengthened network cooperation of nations and companies. However, in reality, most companies remain confused with their approach to SDGs, and global awareness of SDGs is still low.

Opportunities for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), especially micro-businesses, to get involved in the contemporary flow are quite low. Thus, how to help big companies develop, promote their interaction with SMEs and get them integrated into global supply chains are existing concerns. This aims not to leave anyone out of general development and make socioeconomic development sustainable on national, regional and global scales.

As for VBCSD, we specified 17 SDGs with actions to popularise the spirit of “Better Business, Better World” in the business community. New concepts such as a circular economy, sustainability reporting, high-tech agriculture and renewable energy are conveyed in a wide range of action programmes. We always diversify support forms to achieve SDGs as a right growth strategy, for example, integrating SDGs into business objectives and fostering the financial system with long-term sustainable investment orientations.

VBCSD aims to accelerate the transition to sustainable markets alongside companies in the same industry like working with policymakers to pay proper values for natural and human resources. The way to go is working with governments, consumers and employees to achieve all SDGs.

Is it right that the Programme of benchmarking, and announcing sustainable companies is designed to change the perception of the business community toward sustainability?
Against the backdrop of Vietnam’s deeper international and regional integration, while carrying out the Government Announcement 398/TB-VPCP dated December 15, 2015 on ranking sustainable companies from 2016 to drive the Vietnamese business community towards sustainability, VCCI coordinated with other stakeholders to successfully launch the maiden Programme of Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Businesses in 2016. The success of the 2016 programme was beyond expectations of the Government, the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement, ministries, departments, domestic and international partners, as well as active participation of the Vietnamese business community. This laid the foundation for the Government to request VCCI - VBCSD to continue this annual programme.

How is the quality of candidates in the second edition?

The Announcement Ceremony of Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam in 2017 will be held on the afternoon of December 6 at the Hanoi Friendship Cultural Palace. The event is expected to bring together some 600 delegates representing Government agencies, domestic and international NGOs, research organisations, embassies, businesses and news agencies.

In 2017, the criteria of the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) were adjusted to produce a more accurate assessment of corporate sustainability, and the launch of the online registration system encouraged and facilitated enterprises to engage in the programme.

Remarkably, the quality of candidates is significantly higher than that of the previous year. Nearly 500 companies operating in manufacturing and service sectors nationwide have submitted applications. An independent jury is set up to assess and score them publicly, transparently and fairly. After finishing the qualifying round, the Organising Board will conduct field inspections at enterprises to ensure the accuracy of information provided by candidates. 110 finalists will be selected to find out Top 100 Most Sustainable Businesses under CSI criteria.

What comes after the award ceremony? And, what makes this award stand out from other business awards and honours?
After the honouring ceremony, we will choose most outstanding enterprises to represent the Vietnamese business community to attend the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards. Last year, Bao Viet Holdings joined and won the first prize. I believe that sustainable businesses will have big changes in their operations, which makes the award stand apart from others. Because when SDGs are integrated into operating strategies and materialised by specific actions like making sustainability reports and the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI), corporate performances will be significantly improved. Then, such activities as shaping sustainable culture, promoting inclusive business, developing social enterprises, and more importantly exercising integrity and transparency in business will help build up the development foundation of enterprises. We see that honouring is just the recognition of a progress of effort and it is more important that companies can change from inside and they can plan long steps and meet contemporary trends.

As a leader of VBCSD, what message would you like to deliver to businesses?
Right after the honouring ceremony, we will embark on a programme for 2018 to generate a stronger effect and help more companies to adopt sustainability as a matter of course. That will create better values for the community and for the society.

As for VBCSD, in the coming time, we will set up a business support programme to launch the circular economy, promote sustainable agriculture by responsibly using land resources, cooperate with ITC and apply sustainability maps. VBCSD will sign with the UN International Trade Centre to implement the sustainable agriculture project in Vietnam.

In addition, key activities such as scaling up the use of CSI, promoting inclusive business will be carried out. The program for promoting circular economy in Vietnam will initiate first activities in the plastics industry. VBCSD will vigorously and creatively assist businesses to compile sustainability reports, enhance their response to climate change and promoting anti-corruption and integrity in business.

It is a pleasure and pride to be a helpful supporter for businesses on their way to find sustainability values.








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