VIR standing by businesses in sustainable development

November 29, 2022 | 08:29
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Vietnam Investment Review will this week host a recognition ceremony to offer appreciation to both domestic and foreign groups that have supported the country’s sustainable development and corporate social responsibility initiatives over the past five years.

Live: “ESG: the Key for Sustainable Development”

The ceremony comes within the framework of the Sustainable Development Conference on November 29, which is themed “ESG: the Key for Sustainable Development”.

VIR standing by businesses in sustainable development
Many companies have been making great waves in ESG implementation in Vietnam

The conference will provide a platform for exchanging practical experiences as well as evaluating the role of the business community in achieving Vietnam’s sustainability targets, while many businesses that have pioneered the application of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) principles to respond to global issues will be honoured.

At the same time, VIR is preparing to launch a special publication titled Sustainable Development 2022, with the theme “Journey to Net Zero”. The publication, in both Vietnamese and English, will offer multidimensional perspectives and valuable insight into implementing sustainable business, effective ESG measures, and trends in investment, production, and trade in the era of digital technology and the energy transition.

In the context that taking action to combat climate change and its impacts are becoming more urgent, more businesses have been working on reducing carbon emissions and waste using socially responsible inputs to meet ESG criteria. Many policymakers and investors are also realise a greater need to accelerate investments in businesses that prioritise ESG, and Vietnam is no exemption.

At a November 22 forum on promoting private sector-driven sustainable growth, co-organised by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) and the United States Agency for International Development, MPI Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong pointed out that the private business sector, which comprises mainly small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), continues to maintain a good growth rate, accounting for 40 per cent of the country’s GDP and attracting 85 per cent of the economy’s labour force.

The impact of the pandemic, high inflation, soaring energy prices, global economic fluctuations and so on pose challenges for businesses to drive sustainable growth. Notably, ESG criteria is one of the factors that recognises the sustainability of such companies.

According to the Vietnam ESG Readiness Report 2022 published by PwC on October 26, 57 per cent of foreign-invested enterprises gave explicit ESG commitments, while 58 per cent of listed companies in Vietnam indicated a “wait and see” approach. The main reason is that these are mainly SMEs that lack ESG knowledge and have limited financial capacity.

While many Vietnamese enterprises are hesitant to apply ESG criteria and change business models and methods, many top groups in the country have been applying such measures for some time, such as Coca-Cola, BRG Group, Vietcombank, Phu My Fertiliser, Saigon Beer-Alcohol-Beverage Corporation, Panasonic, and many more.

Economic growth intertwined with environmental protection and social security is a goal Vietnam is pursuing to achieve sustainable development and realise the targets of becoming a high-income nation by 2045, and reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

In that vein, the government approved the programme on supporting private businesses to become more sustainable within 2022-2025. The overall objective is to develop sustainable private sector enterprises, ensuring a close, reasonable, and harmonious combination of economic efficiency with social responsibility, protection of natural resources and environment, and contributing to the accomplishment of 17 Sustainable Development Goals as set by the UN by 2030.

Under the auspices of the MPI, VIR and its Vietnamese counterpart Dau tu have regularly organised activities to promote and support domestic and foreign-invested enterprises to fulfill their social responsibilities and effectively practice ESG criteria.

The annual forums and regular activities organised by VIR have received active participation and response from the business community, becoming a prestigious arena for experts, economists, and company leaders to share practical experiences and discuss innovative solutions and applications, thereby promoting sustainable values in each business and fostering sustainable communities across all sectors, industries, and fields.

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Vietnam will soon set up environmental, social, and governance indicators to classify foreign direct investment and measure the performance of foreign-invested projects, laying a foundation to make decisions on the mobilisation of the capital inflows.

ESG promises must be backed up by genuine progress ESG promises must be backed up by genuine progress

The importance of environmental, social, and governance criteria (ESG) factors to businesses has been extensively acknowledged. Andrew Chan, Sustainability Strategy & Transformation leader at PwC Asia-Pacific’s Sustainability Centre of Excellence, explained to VIR’s Celine Luu how to address ESG concerns across a broad spectrum of industries.

Stepping up ESG for socioeconomic gains Stepping up ESG for socioeconomic gains

Both businesses and financial institutions in Vietnam are stepping up their journey in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) criteria, and reinforcing commitments to foster sustainability. A fresh PwC ESG Readiness Report for 2022 shows significantly upbeat figures about how businesses in Vietnam are approaching these matters.

Conference raises CSR and ESG issues in Vietnam’s business landscape Conference raises CSR and ESG issues in Vietnam’s business landscape

At 14th Global CSR & ESG Summit & Awards 2022, speakers from various industries shared their ideas for environmental protection, community empowerment, gender equality, workplace diversity, and other pressing issues.

By Ha Thanh

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