Greening your bottom-line for sustainable development

July 29, 2021 | 14:00
Witnessing the world buckling to deal with the environmental pollution has not only changed consumer sentiment but also affected people’s job preferences. While consumers tend to favour green brands, workers are more likely to click "apply" for companies committed to creating long-term values. Greening is not only a trend but also a “must-have” for businesses wishing to attract talent and develop sustainably.

In 2020, a research company named Corporate Knights from Canada announced the list of the 100 "greenest" businesses on the planet, and the trophy went to Ørsted – a Danish multinational power company. It was known that since 2008, this enterprise has changed its business model by shifting focus from fossil fuel to investing in wind energy. This strategy helped Ørsted reduce its carbon footprint by 83 per cent in production.

In parallel, Ørsted has also applied sustainable development policies in human resources management, for example, increasing the proportion of women in top management positions from 13 per cent in 2019 to 20 per cent in 2020. In addition, to be in line with the global trend, the company has expanded up-skilling programmes and designed psychological counselling activities to help employees reduce workplace stress. After a series of guidelines towards sustainable development from the business model to human resources policies, it was not surprising that 78 per cent of Ørsted employees declared their content with the company in 2020. The company's profit also increased by 4 per cent compared to the same period in 2019.

The research titled Advancing Sustainability: HR’s Role conducted by The Society for HRM also showed that companies adopting sustainable development strategies experience a 38 per cent increase in employee loyalty. Additionally, another research from Britain, Decade of Disruption: The Future of Sustainable Workplaces in the Age of COVID-19 and Climate Change indicated that up to 65 per cent of workers in the UK want to work for companies that concentrate on environmental issues.

Greening your bottom-line for sustainable development
Greening is no longer just a trend but has become a condition worth considering for businesses if they want to attract employees

"Not only stopping at just environmental problems, a number of businesses are also spreading the green sustainability concept to human resources and production. It is not only a trend but also an operation principle,” said Tieu Yen Trinh, CEO of Talentnet, a leading HR consulting firm in Vietnam. “Sustainable operation helps businesses to develop sustainably but still ensure they are protected in the face of unpredictable future of the so-called “new normal”. When this "long-term investment" is made simultaneously by businesses, it will make a major leap in the quality of lives of each employee, businesses, and the whole society."

Vietnamese businesses joining the "green game"

As one of the "big boys" in the field of technology, Intel Vietnam has determined that sustainable development is not only an "environmental game" but also a 360-degree strategy, specifically embedded in its RISE model (Responsible, Inclusive, Sustainable world, Enabled through technology).

Some of the measures Intel Vietnam has implemented include closing the gender gap in the workforce and ensuring employees’ welfare. By 2019, Intel Vietnam reached 31 per cent of female employees working in the engineering sector and 95 per cent of Vietnamese employees holding positions from production specialists to senior directors and heads of departments.

In the case of Nestlé Vietnam, the sustainable development strategy revolves around trying to improve the salary, bonus, and welfare policies for employees and investing in applying high technology to renovate the working space. Since 2018, Nestlé Vietnam has been running the "Talent Factory" to build strong frontline workforce to meet current requirements, as well as improve the inherited talent pool to align with future development requirements.

Moreover, the company has tightened relations between employees and the company. This idea has helped Nestlé Vietnam win prestigious awards in the categories of "Salary, Compensation - Welfare Policy" and "Talent Management" at Vietnam HR Awards 2018.

Greening your bottom-line for sustainable development
Sustainability is the "long journey" that every business needs to do well from small steps

To go on a long journey, you need to take the first small steps

To be able to walk firmly on the path of sustainable development, Intel Vietnam and Nestlé Vietnam have persistently implemented human resources policies for many years.

This shows that sustainability is a long journey that starts with small steps for every business. Here is a "to-do list" for Vietnamese businesses to start their journey towards sustainable development, both in business and in human resources.

It shows that sustainability is the "long journey" that every business needs to do well from small steps.

One of the "handbooks" business leaders can refer to is the list of "Good life goals" made by lifestyle consulting company FUTERRA. The following four points have been selected to align with Vietnamese businesses:

First, taking care of physical health and spiritual life: providing practical health benefits such as insurance packages for employees and family members.

Second, enhancing training quality: regularly organising soft skills training, expertise development sessions, creating opportunities for employees to develop and upskill for the job at present and in the future.

Third, eliminating inequality: creating equal development opportunities for all individuals in the organisation, offering salary and welfare policies that match employees' abilities and contributions.

Fourth, protecting the environment: training employees on protecting water resources and the environment, switching to clean energy such as solar energy for production.

"Greening" is a comprehensive development strategy and requires businesses to persevere in the long run. However, the results this strategy brings are great bang for the companies’ bucks. The stories of Ørsted, Intel Vietnam, or Nestlé Vietnam are all evidence of this. If businesses dare to take the first steps, sooner or later, the journey will be completed, and the "sweet fruits" from this “endeavour” can be harvested.

By Anh Duc

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