At the Announcing Ceremony of Sustainable Business in Vietnam 2017 held in Hanoi on December 6, Dr Vu Tien Loc, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said, “To achieve sustainability, companies in pursuit of profit must be friendly to the environment, responsible to the society. These are three targets that they must pursue if they want to be sustainable. These are fundamental criteria of development indexes in all businesses.”

He said, the most-repeated topic of APEC Summit meetings was sustainable, inclusive and innovative development. Sustainability to economies and to companies is no longer an option but an only way to ensure the today development without compromising future generations.

Dr Loc affirmed that although sustainability is a popular concept, companies cannot sustain their development without specifically applicable models and gauges. Based on the United Nations general criteria, VCCI adapted and materialised them to develop the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI). CSI is a measure of business value based on economic, environmental and social sustainability standards and adapted to domestic political and social contexts as well as international practices.

CSI is also an instrument to define sustainable development goals, measure their performances and manage their changes to make business operations more sustainable. CSI is consulted and updated annually by leading experts from VCCI, government agencies, national and international organisations, VCCI member enterprises and other independent experts. Since 2016, CSI has been used as a foundation for assessing and scoring sustainable development businesses in Vietnam.

“Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) established relations with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to make sure that Vietnamese enterprises are aligned with global sustainable business communities to acquire experience, to grow up, to reach global standards, and to attract international businesses to make investments,” Dr Loc stressed.

“One of major directions in national development strategies of countries is to promoting medium, small and micro businesses, which will become owners of the global economy under strong scientific and industrial influences, especially Fourth Industrial Revolution. Promoting sustainability in the business community is a common goal of supporting businesses,” the VCCI President stressed.

While big businesses in the world have taken the initiative to make the transition, small, medium and micro businesses are not aware of the matter. Dr Loc said, what is needed to do now is sharing successful sustainable development models and introduce them to more businesses.

17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were adopted by 193 United Nations member countries with the aim of achieving a fine future where no one is left behind and drawing a way in the next 15 years to end hunger and poverty, fight against inequality, maintain peace and protect the planet.

Mr Nguyen Quang Vinh, Deputy Secretary General of VCCI and Vice President and Secretary General of VBCSD, said, to further perfect CSI, VBCSD will continue to study on international practices and Vietnamese standards. In 2017, CSI reduced its evaluation criteria from 151 to 134 in three areas of economic sustainability, social sustainability and environmental sustainability.

Mr Tran Minh Triet, Deputy Managing Director of Heineken Vietnam Company, said sustainability requires every business to define its clear objectives, focus on its most influential objectives, introduce action plans, create management and reporting processes with reference to the set of CSI criteria. Specifically, Heineken Vietnam is selecting six areas in line with the United Nations SDGs.

“CSI is an initiative that provides the business community with guidance as well as sustainable measurement standards for reference and adoption. The Programme on Ranking Sustainable Companies helps them know their results and identify what needs to be further improved,” he said.

Mr Dao Trung Kien, Strategic Director of Phu Nhuan Jewellery Joint Stock Company, said that CSI developed by VCCI is in line with international sustainability indices and helps the business community develop in three economic, environmental and social pillars.