Sustainable Development in New Decade: Turning Challenges into Opportunities

3:14:05 PM | 12/10/2020

More and more businesses are aware that sustainable development is a must. Sustainable development not only concerns the business community, but also engages the whole society. It is difficult for us to see a significant change in one year, but it is clear to see it in the last five years. This statement was delivered by Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Chairman of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement, at the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2020 (VCSF 2020).

VCSF 2020 took place with special significance, this being the last year of the Socioeconomic Development Plan in 2016 - 2020 and the stepping stone to the Socioeconomic Development Plan in 2021 - 2025 and the Socioeconomic Development Strategy in 2021 - 2030. VCSF 2020 focused on discussing key contents on sustainable corporate governance, promoting a circular economy to respond to climate change and enhancing public - private partnership. These are not only lessons drawn from the COVID-19 pandemic but, above all, key issues to be addressed to foster inclusive and sustainable socioeconomic growth in the coming decade.

Delivering a keynote speech to the forum, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam said that the Government of Vietnam has a national action plan and has selected 115 appropriate targets to be integrated into the Party’s resolutions and the Government’s strategies. We realize that reaching our goals in the next 10 years is a huge challenge. With 169 global targets and 115 local targets, there are still a lot of things to do, especially in social aspects.

Dr. Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Chair of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), proposed bringing sustainable development contents in documents of the 13th National Party Congress, requesting the National Assembly to issue the Law on Circular Economy to stimulate and promote this model in the economy. “I will also suggest that the Party Central Committee of the 13th tenure issue a resolution on sustainable development. We already had resolutions of the Party Central Committee and the Politburo on all economic sector development, on integration, on Industrial Revolution 4.0 and on many other issues. But so far we have not had a Party resolution on sustainable development yet,” he emphasized.
In addition, VCCI-VBCSD made recommendations based on discussions at three conferences in the framework of VCSF 2020 in September in order to successfully reach the above directions. Specifically, we recommended the Government continue reforming institutions to create an enabling business environment for enterprises; prioritize measures to support micro, small and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) and startups; develop and implement the Project for Improving Sustainable Corporate Governance in the 2021-2025 period, approach international governance standards to promote sustainable corporate governance; build a support policy system for developing the circular economy; and improve the legal framework for PPP in accordance with international practices and Vietnamese conditions.

Regarding new breakthrough points of the Law on Environmental Protection, an important policy towards sustainable development goals, Dr. Vo Tuan Nhan, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment, said that the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment is urgently building and submitting an action plan for enactment of the Law on Environmental Protection 2020 to the Prime Minister for promulgation under which specific responsibilities are assigned to central and local authorities to prepare necessary conditions and resources, especially compile and issue documents detailing the enforcement of the Law. These regulations will support strengthening the nation's strength and resilience, realize the Paris Agreement and related international treaties, and create a legal corridor for companies to achieve sustainable development.
Madam Caitlin Wiesen, Chief Resident Representative of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) in Vietnam, said, “We cannot achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs) without business as they are the backbone of any economy. The completion of SDGs could open up a global market opportunity worth at least US$12 trillion by 2030. She emphasized that businesses play an important role in addressing the challenges of climate change and poverty reduction. In the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, she said the UNDP is working with partners, including government agencies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and businesses, to help companies become "greener, cleaner and more resilient” and achieve SDGs in the decade of action to 2030.

Mr. Binu Jacob, CEO of Nestlé Vietnam and Co-Chair of VBCSD, said, “2020 is a year of many challenges and fluctuations. The COVID-19 pandemic and the impact of climate change remind us how vulnerable and interconnected the world we live in. Therefore, the business community needs to join hands for sustainable development to bring long-term and sustained prosperity to the entire society. We want to inspire and help the business community realize their role. In addition to ongoing sustainable development commitments and initiatives, Nestlé has just announced a concrete roadmap to halve carbon emissions by 2030 to complete emission elimination by 2050. We will work together with our partners to achieve this goal.”
Madam Holly Bostock, Senior Corporate Affairs Director of Heineken Vietnam, said, “We believe that sustainable development not only benefits businesses but also the economy and the society, and broadly speaking, the country where we are present. This is especially important in the context that Vietnam is currently one of the countries most severely affected by climate change, with dire consequences such as latest storms and floods in the central region as vivid examples. For many years, our sustainable development strategy ‘For a better Vietnam’ has always been the core of all our business activities. We also set ambitious goals for the environment: No landfill, 100% water recycled, and 100% renewable energy used (both thermal energy and electric energy) from now to 2025.”
In recognition of the VBCSD-VCCI's persistent efforts and great contributions over the past 10 years to the sustainable development of the Vietnamese business community, Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam awarded the Prime Minister's Certificate of Merit to representatives of the VBCSD-VCCI Standing Committee. VCCI President and VBCSD Chair Vu Tien Loc pledged that VBCSD-VCCI would always accompany and work together with the Government and the business community to achieve 17 sustainable development goals by 2030. 

Source: Vietnam Buisness Forum