Enterprises Working together for National Sustainable Development

2:26:05 PM | 11/29/2022

Sustainability has become a top priority for many businesses, a critical factor for their success. How have Vietnamese entrepreneurs promoted sustainability in their businesses? Vietnam Business Forum quoted some opinions of business leaders about sustainable business practices.

Ms. Dinh Thi Thu Hoai - Director of Vietnam Business Coalition for Women's Empowerment (VBCWE)

As a member of the Judge Council of the 2022 Program on Benchmarking and Announcing Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam, we are glad that most companies have prepared very well. Some have even made detailed reports for every criterion with convincing proof. Some of them even provide integrated sustainability reports. This is a very good sign because it shows that businesses are now highly aware of gender equality, as well as other sustainable development criteria. This achievement is significantly attributed to the CSI Program in particular and VBCSD as a whole. We cannot improve what we cannot measure. And the CSI Program is like a "ruler" that helps us see what we are lacking and what needs to improve for sustainable development. After seven years of implementation, CSI has helped bring CSI closer to companies and employees. The sustainable development picture has become much clearer with CSI indicators. Good practice/implementation of CSI criteria is not only for “competing for awards” but really useful for their sustainable development.

Mr. Montri Suwanposri -  General Director of C.P. Vietnam Corporation (CPV)

To be a sustainable business community, each business must be sustainable itself, from input supply to production and processing to make products that meet consumer needs but do not cause negative impacts on the environment, thus helping improve the life quality of the community.

In nearly 30 years of doing business in Vietnam, we have concentrated on carrying out sustainability strategies built on three core values of “For the country, for the people, for the company” with social, environmental and economic focuses to be a sustainable enterprise in the present and in the future in Vietnam

Socially, CPV announced the goal of supporting the community in creating access to safe and nutritious food sources for consumers and disadvantaged groups. Environmentally, CPV set environmental targets towards 2030 to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Regarding business, we focused on sourcing raw materials of clear origin, not breaking the law nor destroying forests. We invest in production technology without harming the environment and employment for people.

Our achievements today are supported by reasonable policies of the Government. We hope to accompany Vietnam toward sustainability in the present and future.

Ms. Verena Siow - President and General Manager of SAP Southeast Asia

Vietnamese companies are still relatively passive on sustainability issues. Many still consider sustainable development as something of extravagance, not something really urgent. They only care, learn and deploy it if required by the market, investors or authorities.

In fact, sustainable development will increasingly be a decisive factor for business success. This is not only good for the environment, but also helpful for increasing revenue as customers will tend to buy products made by sustainable firms, especially for consumer brands. Moreover, sustainable development helps foster innovation and enable new business models.

Not only to beautify reports or comply with obligatory regulations, companies need to find more sustainable and superior ways of development. This requires a combination of technology and data to create breakthrough leverages.

Ms. Do Hoang Anh - Director of Legal and External Affairs, British American Tobacco (BAT) East Asia

BAT Vietnam's sustainable development goals always follow the Government's overall goals to join the business community to assist the 2030 National Agenda for Sustainable Development based on 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

BAT is also committed to implementing priorities in three areas: Environment, Society and Governance (ESG). Environmentally, BAT Vietnam always strives to reduce climate impact along our value chain. We also apply principles of circular economy and zero-waste economy to create more efficient operations, while giving employees the opportunity to make changes and reduce their impact on the environment.

Socially, BAT Vietnam is committed to improving the livelihoods of all farmers in our supply chain by increasing income and crop productivity year by year. BAT Vietnam also strictly follows human rights regulations and ensures close monitoring in our supply chain every year.

Regarding corporate governance, BAT Vietnam is committed to maintaining a culture of integrity and fully complying with BAT’s business ethics standards. We also adhere to BAT’s international marketing guidelines, marketing responsibly.

When carrying out sustainable development goals, companies will have to spend more money and resources to protect the environment and bring a better tomorrow for stakeholders and the country. Therefore, by regulating its tax policies and preferential policies, the Government should clearly demonstrate its strong commitment to developing a green economy, a circular economy and implement this commitment to every enterprise.

Ms. Holly Bostock - Corporate Affairs Director HEINEKEN

HEINEKEN Vietnam is always looking for opportunities to cooperate with reputable partners to continuously enhance the company’s sustainability strategy. Recently, the company has announced its partnership program with WWF-Vietnam to conserve three key river basins of Vietnam with an investment of US$30 billion. The program will last until 2025, aiming to conserve 3 billion liters of water per year for the Tien, Dong Nai and Red river basins.

Our partners who supply resources to promote circularity and recycling/upcycling/reuse at HEINEKEN Vietnam’s breweries are also crucial components to the company's sustainability strategy. For example, at HEINEKEN Vung Tau, the largest green brewery in Southeast Asia, we have created an ecosystem of 46 companies in the region and contributed more than 200 jobs. There, we are helping to support jobs for the local people and have become an important part of the local economy.

Besides, the recent turbulence around the globe has made sustainable development a topic of interest to almost everyone. This generates a great opportunity for small and medium enterprises in Vietnam, when many large companies are prioritizing sustainability criteria when looking for strategic partners in the domestic market.

To promote stronger sustainable business practices in Vietnam, HEINEKEN Vietnam is committed to supporting the government in promoting sustainable development and environmental protection, one of which is the goal of bringing Vietnam to net zero emissions by 2050 that was announced at COP26.

Currently, regulations & policies on sustainability in Vietnam are putting their focus on manufacturers and import processes; however, along with setting stricter controls and compliance, there also needs to be incentives and a relaxation of regulation to allow companies to be able to meet their targets, as well as attract more investment in sustainability infrastructure into Vietnam.

For example, at HEINEKEN Vietnam, to implement circularity in packaging, we are still sending crushed cans to Thailand and China for recycling. In addition, legal constraints on the direct electricity purchase and sale mechanism between renewable energy generators and large electricity users are also preventing businesses from accessing clean electricity for their production.

Mr. Binu Jacob - CEO Nestlé Vietnam

In Vietnam, regarding sustainability strategy, Nestle focuses on four key areas: Climate Action, Sustainable Packaging Solutions, Responsible Purchasing, and Water Management. These priorities are intended to contribute to the realization of Nestlé’s common goal in the Roadmap to Net Zero Emissions by 2050.

To accomplish this goal, one of the most important things Nestlé is doing is introducing the concept of regenerative agriculture and applying this approach in agriculture in many countries, including Vietnam. Regenerative agriculture is an approach in which agricultural production is directed towards improving soil quality and fertility as well as conservating water resources and biodiversity. Improved soil quality helps increase the ability to absorb CO2 into the soil and create biomass fuel from plants. Better soil quality will increase resilience to the adverse effects of climate change, helping to increase productivity and improve farmers' incomes and livelihoods. These positive impacts will contribute to building a strong foundation for sustainable food production and contribute to Nestlé's climate change goals.

By Vietnam Business Forum