Vietnam Outpacing Peers in “Green Race”

10:12:55 AM | 9/16/2019

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Vice Chairman of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Enhancement, stated that Vietnam is outpacing other countries of the same development level in the “green race”. However, to achieve inclusive sustainability, Vietnam needs to continue improving the legal framework to attract more private resources.

“Green footprint” on the sustainable development map

In the presence of leaders of 193 member states at the United Nations Conference in September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development with the mission of a “world-changing agenda” was adopted. 17 sustainable development goals (SDG) are designed to ensure the harmonization of economic, social and environmental development goals, and work to shape  global economic development. With this agenda, the world is moving the same development path towards more efficient, more humane and more environmentally friendly development under the motto “for human and do not hurt on the earth”, “leave no one behind” and “leave no burden on the offspring.”

He said, sustainable development is a value system of the modern world, an interactive platform for countries, a bridge to connect people and a passport for businesses to enter the world market. Leaving the “green footprint” on the global economic map is a standard of a humane business. Free trade agreements like the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU - Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) are also designed on these platforms.

According to VCCI President, Vietnam is one effortful country to attain many achievements on the path to sustainable development. The country has launched the National Program for Sustainable Development and established the National Council on Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Enhancement. Sustainable development goals have been aligned and integrated into socioeconomic development strategies. With respect to business environment and competitiveness, Vietnam does not rank high in global rankings. In 2018, according to the World Bank, Vietnam ranked No. 69 out of 190 countries in ease of doing business and, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF), the country ranked No. 77 among 140 economies in competitiveness. But also in 2018, Vietnam ranked 54th out of 162 countries to stand among Top 30% of countries leading in sustainable development, only second to Thailand in ASEAN. Thus, compared to other countries of the same level of development, Vietnam is outstripping in the “green race”.

Future vision

Dr. Vu Tien Loc analyzed that, shifting from the traditional linear development model to the circular economy is a trend of sustainable development that achieves both objectives of responding to input resource exhaustion and tackling environmental pollution in output development, aiming to achieve the goal of zero waste and no exchange of environment for economic development.

Five specific initiatives to implement the circular economy include the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam); Zero Waste to Nature Initiative; Post-consumed Recycled Plastic Market Development Project; Recycled Plastic Asphalt Road Project; and Vietnam Material Marketplace Initiative.

VCCI President Loc emphasized, “To foster the circular economy, we proposed integrating the circular economy development policy into the Resolution of the 13th National Party Congress and proposed the National Assembly to enact the Law on Circular Economy Promotion, and the Government  to have effective policies on development of circular economy models in the community and among businesses. Clearly defining that executing circular economy development, enterprises play a central role. VCCI is willing to cooperate with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government agencies, international organizations to develop and implement an action plan to scale up the circular economy in Vietnam.”

On enhancing human capital quality and productivity, the Vice Chairman of the National Council on Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Enhancement welcomed the World Bank in coordination with the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs and concerned agencies to report on future employment in Vietnam and make necessary policy recommendations.

“Improving labor quality and creating decent and sustainable jobs is the most important comprehensive requirement of labor productivity improvement in Vietnam,” Dr. Loc stressed.

With this goal in mind, the draft Labor Code expanded the scope of application from contractual labor in the formal sectors (about 20 million people) to the entire labor force (55 million people in working age) in Vietnam. At the same time, the Law on Enterprises expanded its scope, bringing business households, with first of all being registered ones, into the scope of the law. These are important developments towards transparency, formalization and assurance of upgrading and getting connected to business households as a type of business and engaging small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam into global value chains.

VCCI President said that the synergy of different types of enterprises and economic sectors to join global value chains where transparency is the most important standard for interaction and synergism. The transparency also helps ensure rights and obligations of employers and employees in all economic sectors, thus raising national labor productivity. We hope that the National Assembly - the lawmaking body - will pass these important laws to give a helping hand to upgrading Vietnam's economy in the face of modernization and integration.

“Improving labor quality and creating decent and sustainable jobs is the most important comprehensive requirement of labor productivity improvement in Vietnam,” said Dr. Vu Tien Loc.

On human resource quality in Vietnam, an important challenge is that Vietnam has only 8% of workers holding university degrees. Up to 80 - 85% of companies complained that they find it hard to recruit employees with management skills and technical skills. According to the World Economic Forum, Vietnam is also among economies not ready for the digital economy and the quality of human resources is a barrier.

According to Dr. Vu Tien Loc, national policies on education should be promoted, public-private partnerships and private sector must have a key part in education and training. On training content, it is necessary to promote dual-training methodology that aligns factory demands with school competency and reduce the time of specialized university training (to two years, for example) to catch up with rapid-changing tech trends and quickly meet requirements for high quality labor supply, focusing on STEAM priority programs (science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics). Recently, the Prime Minister has launched a national productivity movement and VCCI will promote strong deployment of this movement in the business community. More than ever, the national productivity movement should be defined as a patriotic emulation movement with the most widespread scope in the new situation.

Huong Ly