ESG Investor Conference discusses need for inclusive partnerships

May 22, 2024 | 16:10
(0) user say
The 2024 Vietnam ESG Investor Conference saw industry leaders and investors converge at New World Saigon in Ho Chi Minh City on May 16-17 to address the pressing challenges posed by climate change and chart a course towards a more equitable future.

This was the event's second year and was co-presented by Raise Partners and Vietnam Innovators by Vietcetera Media

The conference aimed to bring together investors, local and international business leaders, and partners like non-profits and research institutions to advance impactful environmental, social, and governance (ESG) projects that will lead to a more prosperous, inclusive, and resilient future for Vietnam.

The programme featured events such as networking and business matching, where potential investors and entrepreneurs initiated promising partnership opportunities, and an invite-only field trip to give select guests a first-hand experience of Vietnam’s sustainability practices and ESG initiatives.

Vietnam ESG Investor Conference 2024: A resilient future for Vietnam requires inclusive partnerships

"This year's conference was aimed at answering critical questions about Vietnam’s future amidst the climate crisis. The meaningful dialogues we had during those two days will serve as a blueprint to balance economic growth with environmental preservation and social equity," said Hao Tran, CEO of Vietcetera.

According to Van Ly, a partner at Raise Partners, ESG is no longer just an offshoot of corporate social responsibility or a marketing strategy for corporate image. It is now an integral part of business operations, legal partnerships, accreditations, and investment prerequisites.

"Vietnamese businesses are being called on to strengthen their ESG policies to align with international due diligence and unlock opportunities for growth and expansion. The Vietnam ESG Investor Conference was founded upon the principles of impactful business practices as key to a resilient future," said Ly.

Green commitments

Vietnam has committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, ending deforestation by 2030, and reducing greenhouse gases. Additional investments of as much as $368 billion and partnerships between public and private sector will be necessary to deliver on those commitments.

Ha Thu Thanh, chair of the Vietnam Institute of Directors, emphasised the critical importance of establishing a robust investment infrastructure to stimulate substantial flows of capital into low-carbon activities.

"Several key projects, including developing ecosystems for renewable energy in industrial and service sectors and advancing smart power grids and energy storage systems, are in urgent need of financial backing," said Thanh.

Thanh’s take was reiterated by Nguyen Ba Son, deputy director of treasure for BIDV, in a separate panel discussion.

"As the first local bank to issue a sustainable loan framework, BIDV’s green financing initiative reached more than 1,300 customers and projects in 2023 alone, with a year-end outstanding loan totalling $2.68 billion, a clear indication of our crucial role in bridging the gap in sustainable financing in Vietnam," Son said.

"The achievement of corporate and national sustainability goals all boils down to leadership and strategically translating values into operational practices," said Quyen Vuu, CEO of Biti’s. "Crafting a strong ESG strategy goes beyond setting goals; to achieve lasting success, it needs to be deeply rooted in the organisation’s leadership values and implemented across all levels of the business."

This holds true for multinational corporations and small- and medium-sized enterprises, which currently make up 98 per cent of Vietnamese firms. Ensuring access to tools and resources for financing and future proofing is paramount for their sustainable growth.

Beyond business considerations, however, lies another crucial component of advancing ESG principles: investing in people and promoting gender equality in the midst of energy transition.

Vietnam ESG Investor Conference 2024: A resilient future for Vietnam requires inclusive partnerships

Private stakeholders and government institutions should continue to promote equal opportunities for all Vietnamese, cultivating a more inclusive society that empowers individuals to thrive and contribute to sustainable development.

Resilient supply chains

Vietnam is a critical link in the global value chain. Considered a major manufacturing and agricultural hub, the country influences international trade. This also means Vietnam’s climate strategies and challenges impact external economic and geopolitical events.

Threats against Vietnam’s supply chains grow more pronounced as extreme weather events, such as flooding and storms, increasingly disrupt transportation routes, damage infrastructure, and hamper operations.

"Key players in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors must prioritise resilience-building measures and sustainable practices to lessen the impact of environmental shocks and ensure the continued functionality of supply chains," explained Bruno Jaspaert, CEO, DEEP C Industrial Zones.

This includes investing in infrastructure upgrades, diversifying sourcing strategies, implementing adaptive measures to safeguard against climate-related disruptions, and empowering the workforce with the necessary skills and resources to navigate these challenges effectively.

"Investment in human capital not only strengthens Vietnam's position in the global supply chain but also enhances its competitiveness in the international market, ensuring sustainable growth and resilience in the face of evolving challenges," according to Craig Martin, chairman at Dynam Capital, during a panel discussion with Pham Hoang Hai, head of division at the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development.

"Vietnam is already an attractive destination for investments by global companies looking to diversify their supply chains. But there is a long road ahead to elevate our position as a real manufacturing powerhouse and drive broader participation in higher value global supply chains. We need to invest in modernising and greening industrial zones and increase the quality of research and development," said Martin.

The 2024 Vietnam ESG Investor Conference was made possible with the support of Dynam Capital and Vietnam Holding as the title sponsor; Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade as a government partner; British University Vietnam and HSBC Vietnam as the major sponsors; New World Saigon Hotel as a venue sponsor; Vero as official communications partner; EuroCham and NordCham as promotional partners; and Marou, Cricket One, and Every Half Coffee as in-kind partners.

ASEAN Future Forum 2024 set for late April ASEAN Future Forum 2024 set for late April

The ASEAN Future Forum (AFF) is a new initiative by Vietnam to create a platform for member nations, allies, partners, and diverse societal strata can collectively contribute to shaping ASEAN's trajectory towards future development.

Vietnam and UK deepen science, technology and innovation partnerships Vietnam and UK deepen science, technology and innovation partnerships

Vietnam and the United Kingdom are set deepen science, technology, and innovation (ST&I) partnerships, with a focus on emerging technologies, the environment, and healthcare.

Elements of a green hydrogen future Elements of a green hydrogen future

Vietnam’s economy and sustained growth rate, has attracted attention, achieving a swift economic expansion.

By Huyen Thuy

What the stars mean:

★ Poor ★ ★ Promising ★★★ Good ★★★★ Very good ★★★★★ Exceptional