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VCCI News

Last updated: Tuesday, July 17, 2018

 

Sustainable Development in Era 4.0: No Business Will Be Left Behind

Posted: Wednesday, July 04, 2018


Regarded as the most important sustainable development event of the year, the National Conference on Sustainable Development held by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) is expected to offer new solutions to accelerate the strategic green growth process and national sustainable development in the era of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Ahead of the conference, our reporter has an interview with Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of VCCI, on this content. Thu Ha reports.

Mr Vinh said that the National Conference on Sustainable Development 2018 themed “Enhancing Competitiveness, Realising SDGs amidst Industrial Revolution 4.0” is jointly organised by the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement, the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) under the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the World Bank (WB). The event is expected to bring together government officials, important partners of Vietnam such as the United Nations and the foreign partners, and the Vietnamese business community.

Adopting sustainable development is now very important for businesses to enhance their competitiveness. Is this the message of this year’s conference?
First of all, I want to say that adopting sustainable development is the right way for businesses to enhance their competitiveness and corporate governance performance as a result. This includes building the capacity of the entire business community while capturing new opportunities that sustainable development brings. The integration of sustainable development in business strategies will create market opportunities worth US$12 trillion a year or generate hundreds of millions of jobs among other things, especially in the context of the digital revolution that has exerted a strong impact on all aspects of life.

Therefore, businesses need to take advantage of this opportunity to improve the competitiveness, corporate governance capacity and market expansion. That is the reason why the topic of this year’s conference focuses on enhancing competitiveness and achieving 17 sustainable development goals and the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These are very important issues for the development of Vietnam as a whole and the development of its business community in particular.



The theme of this year's conference highlights sustainable development in the Era 4.0, meaning that corporate sustainability has entered a new era with new challenges. What do businesses need to pay attention to for delivering sustainable growth?
We can see that awareness raising and actions of Vietnamese companies in exercising the corporate social responsibility (CSR) or achieving corporate sustainability in the 1990s or earlier was at the basic stage.

Today, we need higher awareness, that is to say, making corporate social responsibility the heart of business. Such issues as climate change response, digital age issues, cybersecurity in the era 4.0, the future of jobs and circular economy should be embedded into the sustainable development strategy of the business and become core activities of the business. It needs to be upgraded to strategy and integrated into corporate governance. Thereupon, businesses can couple its operations with 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs).

In addition to changing the mindset, businesses need to have superior support tools for corporate governance towards sustainable development, such as the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI). This index can be applied to all types of business, even microenterprises. At the same time, CSI also has specific economic, environmental and social criteria for them to self-assess, identify gaps in governance and operation to reduce risks or inversely identify their own strengths and capture potential business opportunities thereon.

Although sustainable development has spread to the business community, why is it that many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, still take no heed of this story?
To meet new business requirements and to integrate contents of 17 SDGs and the 2030 Agenda, Vietnamese businesses, especially SMEs, have a lot of work to do.

Since no business can deliver all 17 SGDs at a time, they need to choose right goals, for example, governance, water, climate change or energy in parallel with their business operations. This will help them improve their competitiveness.

In fact, many Vietnamese companies are doing well this, for example, Viettel, Vinamilk, Traphaco, TBS Group, PNJ, SASCO, Bao Viet Holdings and Vietcombank as well as multinational organisations in Vietnam. These companies have obtained high rankings of corporate sustainability in Vietnam. These are typical examples of Vietnamese companies integrating 17 SDGs into their core business. They can be seen as good examples and good practices to share with SMEs, even microbusinesses, in Vietnam.

To speed up the implementation of sustainable development in the era 4.0, what are the aims of VCCI and VBCSD to meet the needs of the business community and apply new world practices?
The most important content of the 2030 Agenda adopted by 193 United Nations members, including Vietnam, is “No one is left behind.” In carrying out the agenda, VCCI also wants to deliver the message that no business will be left behind. Another important content is good practices and good business models that deliver sustainable development in different sectors, namely circular economy and inclusive business will be diffused and multiplied more widely in the economy.

VBCSD and VCCI have promoted support to enable Vietnamese companies to scale up good models and practices in their business. At the same time, we will continue to work with partners such as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the World Economic Forum, the United Nations institutions in Vietnam and the World Bank to acquire more and more new model experiences, adapted to be applied in Vietnam.

This is also what the Government wants. The business community will work together with the government and stakeholders to successfully deliver the 2030 Agenda in Vietnam, with emphasis placed on the key role and leading role of the Government in this story.








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