Diageo Vietnam: endless efforts to support the community

December 21, 2021 | 17:42
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The last two years have been a special time, with losses caused by the pandemic but also witnessing how the community has come together in the spirit of sharing and selflessness. The pandemic has placed businesses in an unprecedented situation, challenged their willpower, and produced unique experiences. Nguyen Anh Thi, general manager of Diageo Vietnam (DVL), discussed with VIR about the company’s community support activities during the pandemic.
Mr. Nguyen Anh Thi - General Manager of Diageo Vietnam (DVL)
Nguyen Anh Thi - General manager of Diageo Vietnam (DVL)

The last two years have been immensely challenging for many companies. As a relatively well-established corporation in Vietnam, has DVL ever faced such a tough time?

The last two years have probably placed businesses in unprecedented difficulties, especially those in the food and beverages (F&B) industry. The situation at DVL was no exception, the market was inactive, restaurants were closed, and various distancing measures from the state were put in place.

Fortunately, thanks to our solid foundation, we have actively and promptly transformed our operations and proactively engaged in the response. By doing so, we have safely overcome the incredibly formidable fourth COVID-19 wave in Vietnam and regained our strengths and growth pace in the new normal.

Diageo is known for its positive spirit: "Keep walking". Has the company managed to keep up this attitude in recent times?

We have upheld the "Keep walking" spirit throughout our operations before, during, and after the pandemic.

During the pandemic, DVL has not stopped moving once, making every effort to protect employees’ health, search for a safe way to maintain operations, actively plan for readiness and response to COVID-19 to provide the best care and safety for employees and their families during the pandemic, and prevent undesirable impacts from the pandemic. Employees' and their families' health and safety are always the top priorities in our company.

What is more, Diageo has made great efforts to progress with the community. We have established various initiatives to protect our customers and the community, such as the "Clean Serve by Diageo" programme for the nationwide club and bar network or contributions to Vietnam's vaccine fund. Of note, for the first time, we have imported medical equipment, including 50 ventilators and 8,000 pulse oximeters, to support frontline medical staff.

Which of DVL’s initiatives had the biggest impacts on the community?

Despite the challenges, for the last two years, DVL has wholeheartedly devoted itself to the fight against the pandemic and public health protection.

We were one of the first businesses and the first foreign-based business to make a donation to the vaccine fund initiated by Tuoi Tre. In March, national vaccine imports were limited. With this donation, DVL wished to contribute to the government’s vaccination efforts so that thousands of frontline medical staff in health facilities, hospitals, and isolation camps would be vaccinated free of charge, which would help avert the pandemic and enhance safety and health for the community in the new normal.

DVL has also actively raised pandemic prevention awareness among our staff, partners, and customers through communication and education. We have developed and applied various initiatives to protect the health of all stakeholders, such as our emergency 5-in-1 health support package for employees and their families, a disinfectant kit and sanitation instruction for 315 partners across the nation in the "Clean Serve by Diageo" campaign and the handover of 18,600 hand sanitisers to the Ministry of Health.

Thirdly, DVL has decided to directly import more than VND3 billion ($130,430) worth of medical equipment to timely support health facilities in hotspot cities across the country such as Ho Chi Minh City, Hanoi, and Ninh Thuan. These devices are critical for overburdened health facilities in large cities, helping to reduce the number of severe cases and increasing the number of recoveries.

Diageo Vietnam: endless efforts to support the community
DVL handed over VND3 billion worth of medical equipment, including oxygen concentrators and pulse oximeters, to health facilities in Ho Chi Minh City, Ha Noi, and Ninh Thuan

Why did DVL continue spending on community support activities even during the most challenging times when this would not yield direct benefits to the company?

In the F&B industry, our main consumption channels are restaurants and hotels. DVL operates in the worst-inflicted industry. Although our business was impacted during this difficult time, we believe that businesses are responsible for sharing the burdens besetting the community and supporting them through this challenge.

When businesses of all shapes and sizes commit to shared goals, any obstacle can be overcome. During the implementation of support projects, we have received attention and support from various organisations and individuals. In these difficult times, the community's compassion and solidarity are more valuable than ever.

Regarding revenue and profit, I think we should look at the bigger picture. To develop in the long run, the business must grow together with the communities it serves. Only when the community is safe and stable can businesses thrive.

What are the company's development plans for the future?

We are gradually recovering our business and supply chains. Our partners have reopened their outlets and restaurants as localities are entering the new normal.

Our efforts to transform "risks" into "opportunities" during this hard time have opened up new and modern business opportunities for DVL, helping us to serve our customers in a better and safer way in the new normal.

By Mai Dang

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