Sustainable development has become an urgent and essential element in global economic activity, as well as a challenge in the context of international economic integration. In 2016, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), primarily orchestrated by the Office for Business Sustainable Development (SD4B) and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), has carried out practical and effective sustainability activities for businesses.
With its coordination achievements in construction and implementation of the VCCI Action Plan for enforcement of Resolution 19 of the Government dated March 12, 2015, SD4B/VBCSD led the construction and implementation of the VCCI Action Plan for major tasks and solutions with respect to improving the business environment and enhancing national competitiveness in years 2016 and 2017, with an eye to 2020. VCCI built VCCI Action Plan for primary tasks and solutions to continued improvement of business environment and corporate competitiveness and submitted it to the Office of the Government, and the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement.
Besides, SD4B/VBCSD continued to perfect the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) and launched the Programme on Benchmarking and Ranking Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam in 2016. CSI was drafted by SD4B/VBCSD together with top-notch economic, social and environmental specialists and successfully piloted in 20 enterprises from different industries and with different scales to lay the groundwork for the launch of the Programme on Benchmarking and Ranking Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam in 2016.
After nearly seven months of deployment, the council shortlisted 100 businesses for ranking and named Top 100 sustainable businesses in Vietnam in an official announcement ceremony. Winners were enterprises having products and services of Vietnam brought to the world, creating the image of Vietnamese enterprises and businessmen who are enthusiastic, creative and innovative in doing business with integrity, and ethics and responsibility to the community. The Programme on Benchmarking and Ranking Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam and the Top 100 Sustainable Businesses are not only the talk and pride of today, but also a source of motivational aspirations for a community of 500,000 companies to pursue sustainability. Then, they will help the image and products of Vietnamese companies increase competitiveness on the international market and become national brands and the pride of every Vietnamese citizen.
The Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2016 (VCSF) themed “Creative to Deploy Sustainable Development Goals” was successfully held with the aim of discussing and adopting creative business solutions and models to address social and environmental issues to define potential investment and cooperation opportunities. The forum was also a chance for attendants to put forth recommendations to the government to support a more sustainable and effective business community. Recommendations at the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2016 delved into the 2030 Agenda of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change; social enterprise development, transparency and integrity improvement in business, and sustainable agricultural development.
One of sustainable development goals for businesses is to build and carry out the Action Plan for enhancing integrity in business in the 2015 – 2019 period (Project 12). The project highlights collective actions of the business community and stakeholders, namely tax authorities, customs authorities and banks, to announce sector integrity commitments on mass media. Engaging enterprises and stakeholders to implement integrity agreements and commitments will form the necessary synergy to improve the business environment and enhance competitiveness for enterprises and the nation. In 2016, Project 12 organised five workshops with 550 participants, and opened 24 training courses for 1,200 trainees in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hai Phong, Hai Duong, Hung Yen, Thai Nguyen and Vinh Phuc.
2016 was the first year SD4B carried out the productivity project, but it obtained positive results such as improving the quality of employees of enterprises on the labour market. The project helps enterprises tune up production processes to minimise waste, increase productivity and reduce product costs. After being trained, they will be able to shape an effective working environment to enhance performance and motivationally engage employees to sustainable development. Employees are equipped with scientific working skills, production management skills, quality control skills, interaction skills, teamwork skills and cooperation skills to raise labour performance and productivity.
As for the UNIDO – VCCI CSR project, a project that supports Vietnamese businesses to exercise corporate social responsibility (CSR) towards sustainable production and consumption, the Global Compact Network Vietnam, in which VCCI is a national partner, was established and developed in Vietnam in 2010. Currently, VCCI is working closely with network operation organisation and coordination project and with operations appropriate to needs and expectations of 94 member companies. In 2016, the network admitted four member companies, particularly Orana Vietnam and The Colour Club.
The Global Compact Network Vietnam collaborated with SD4B to launch an initiative of organising the Meet to Meet the SDG Forum, the first and only forum for Vietnamese businesses to access, share and contribute on a regular basis for the achievement of SDGs in Vietnam.
In 2017, VCCI will advocate VBCSD’s projects, the Programme on Benchmarking and Ranking Sustainable Businesses in Vietnam in 2017, the project on enhancing integrity in business, cleaner production and waste management training project for enterprises in Vietnam, CSR towards sustainable production and consumption training project, and productivity project among others.