Last updated: Monday, April 22, 2019


“The world will be better when we do better business!”

Posted: Tuesday, February 06, 2018

That is the confirmation of Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh in his new position - General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI). Known as a devoted person with an ever-burning passion for supporting the business community to grow in general and promote sustainable development in Vietnam in particular, he always believes that “the green journey of the world cannot reach its destination without the green footprints of business.”

Towards a green economy and sustainable growth, the Government of Vietnam is building a long-term plan to provide maximum support for the business community to develop on the right track. In response to that general policy, in 2017, the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) actively accompanied the business on this journey. With high prospects for economic growth in 2018, Vietnam Business Forum conducted an interview with Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, newly-elected Secretary General of VCCI cum Vice President and Secretary General of VBCSD, on new intentions and plans to better integrate sustainable development into the rise of the Vietnamese business community.

In 2017, VBCSD worked hard to support the business community. Could you please brief on remarkable achievements of the council in the year?
In 2017, VBCSD worked hard and achieved great successes in strongly promoting sustainable development in society generally and the business community particularly.

First of all, the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum (VCSF) and the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) - two most prominent annual events - were of great success. VCSF 2017 was not just designed as a forum to bring together hundreds of businesses, but also a place which incubated and realised many business initiatives towards sustainable development as well as public - private partnership (PPP) model.

The Programme on Benchmarking and Ranking Corporate Sustainability received a record of nearly 500 candidate companies in its second edition, much bigger than that of 2016. This showed that sustainable development had a stronger movement, but more importantly, the business thinking of companies towards humanity and long-term benefits prevailed. That is what companies around the world are pursuing.

In addition, four core activities of VBCSD - communication and awareness improvement, training, research and international cooperation - were also promoted with specific actions. In 2017, VBCSD coordinated with its partners to successfully organise the Eco-Products International Fair (EPIF) 2017; launch 22 training courses in the framework of the “Improving business productivity in Vietnam in 2016 - 2020, with a vision to 2020 - 2030” project attended by hundreds of enterprises; carry out Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Programme towards Sustainable Business; and build the “Promoting Sustainable Energy Development by Building Sustainable Energy Scenarios and Green Investment Guidelines for Financial Institutions” Programme. These are excellent achievements that VBCSD accomplished in the past year.

Also in 2017, VBCSD established the Advisory Group on Sustainable Development and Digitalisation Evolution. Would you introduce its first operating steps and its future plans?

This advisory group is the result of a working meeting between Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam and the VBCSD Executive Board in the framework of VCSF 2017. The group is designed to recommend to the Government action plans and policies on digital revolution and business community support to meet the requirements of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. It conducted a rapid survey on corporate awareness and impacts of Fourth Industrial Revolution to compile the most accurate report and recommend relevant proposals to the Government and the business community as well.

In 2018, the advisory group will carry out in-depth studies concerning the future of jobs in the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in conjunction with capacity building for the business community.

So, what is the specific direction of VBCSD to provide maximum support for the policy of translating sustainable development into development process of the business community in 2018?
In addition to the four core activities mentioned above, significant annual events such as VCSF and CSI will continue to be strongly executed and engage more enterprises, not only big ones but also smaller ones, especially micro businesses. CSI will be further adjusted and added with new contents to better approach and serve the local business community. In 2018, we will work with a team of experts to research and set a corporate sustainability standard for this purpose.

VBCSD will not only select 100 most sustainable businesses as in previous years. Any candidate qualified for the mentioned standard will be certified “sustainable business”. This is the way we encourage the business community to adopt sustainable development and make them understand that though they are not among the 100 chosen companies, they are not excluded in adoption of sustainable development approach. In addition, new PPP-based initiatives such as the Vietnam Programme for Advancing Circular Economy in Vietnam, the Sustainable Agricultural Development Support Programme in conjunction with the United Nations International Trade Centre (ITC), and the Programme for Business Capacity Building in Digital Revolution Era, and working with Ministry of Planning and Investment to compile in-depth review reports on sustainable development goals and other actions will be implemented.

The world economy is heading for circular economy and green growth. Would you tell us about VBCSD’s specific orientation and strategy to support the Vietnamese business community to get closer to these new models?

Just as you say, such models as the circular economy will help realise the country's green growth strategy as well as the sustainable development goals that 193 United Nations member countries, including Vietnam, adopted. Seeing the importance of the circular economy model in promoting sustainable development in Vietnam, VBCSD - VCCI has been very proactive in developing a programme to support the adoption of circular economy in Vietnam. By the end of January, the programme was officially launched with the signing ceremony of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the implementation of “Zero Waste to Nature” initiative between VBCSD-VCCI, Unilever Vietnam, Coca-Cola Vietnam and Dow Chemical Vietnam. This initiative aims at four objectives: Addressing issues arising from plastic wastes; building a road map for forming and promoting sustainable business models; and developing circular economy-oriented value chains as well as policy recommendations to facilitate the roll-out of the circular economy in Vietnam. Not only working with the plastic industry, the programme will have other activities for industries such as cement, steel, garment and textile, seafood and construction materials.

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