Foreign investors in Vietnam are urged to pay more attention to corporate social responsibility (CSR) to achieve business success by reducing operational costs with improved employee engagement.
|Leaders of foreign invested enterprises discussing the importance of CSR
Kenan Institute Asia, a non-profit organisation, today held a workshop in the northern province of Bac Ninh to introduce a project on raising businesses’ awareness of international labour standards. The project will be carried out between 2017-2019 in industrial zone (IPs) in Bac Ninh.
The workshop attracted around 30 foreign investors from VSIP, Dai Dong, and Tien Son IPs. They included Cedo Vietnam, Canon Vietnam, and Suntory PepsiCo Vietnam.
Addressing the event, Mau Quang Thang, deputy head of the Bac Ninh Industrial Park Management Board, said that the province attracts 285,000 labourers, with the majority being female employees. However, housing for labourers in local IPs and kindergartens for their children have yet to satisfy the demand.
“Although we required investors to pay due attention to the issues, they remain a big problem. Moreover, the trade unions’ role in protecting labourers’ interests remain vague. In 2017, we saw five labour strikes over salary, social insurance, and extra hours,” Thang admitted.
|John DaSilva talked about the importance of CSR
Highlighting the importance of CSR in business operations, John DaSilva, director of Kenan’s Corporate Engagement, said that understanding the role engaged employees can play a role in supporting business objectives and reducing costs.
“If you want to have a successful and sustainable company, you need to have good CSR practices,” he noted.
According to a 2014 Nielsen survey, 67 per cent of respondents think it is either essential or expressed a strong preference for working for socially-responsible companies.
People who feel they work within a strong CSR culture rate their organisations far more favourably in a number of important areas than do people who feel they work in a relatively weak CSR culture.
Kenan decided to pilot the project in Bac Ninh before multiplying it in other provinces because Bac Ninh has appeared on the radars of international investors. At present, Bac Ninh is home to 16 operating IPs.
According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, Bac Ninh ranked second among Vietnamese localities in terms of registered foreign direct investment (FDI) attraction in 2017, with $3.4 billion. The positive number was largely thanks to Samsung Display Vietnam expanding its investment in its local project by $2.5 billion.
Although Bac Ninh is a small province, its economic value has increased significantly over time. The province ranks second among Vietnamese cities and provinces in terms of import-export turnover and FDI attraction.