Sustainable Development: Business Role Highly Appreciated

5:06:18 PM | 5/26/2011

The endorsement of the orientated strategy for sustainable development is a strategic step that will create a solid foundation for Vietnam to sustain economic growth in the future. The active participation of the business community, through the representative of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), in implementing this strategic orientation is a decisive factor for success and creates a dynamic partnership closely associated with the Government, businesses and other economic sectors for the sake of common targets and interests.
In fulfilling commitments to the international community on sustainable development, since 2004, the Government of Vietnam issued the orientation for sustainable development in Vietnam, also commonly known as Vietnam’s Agenda 21. After six years carrying out Agenda 21, Vietnam has obtained many important environmental, economic and social achievements. The country has carried out many activities to support the construction and execution of sustainable development orientation at industry and local levels, to raise awareness, and to strengthen management capacity in sustainable development. Many companies have approached and applied sustainable production and consumption models. They operate in a variety of fields like food and seafood processing, paper and pulp production, metal ware, construction material production, textile and others.
However, according to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, which is responsible for guiding the contents of Agenda 21 applied at industry and local levels, the implementation is facing a lot of limitations. Specifically, the quality and efficiency of the economy remain low; economic growth is mainly developed in width, not in depth, especially in fields using non-renewable resources. Meanwhile, environmental protection remains insufficient. Worsening pollution of environment, soil, water and air; mining; and solid waste management are distressing people.
According to experts, businesses play critical roles in sustainable development because they are the primary subjects that exercise sustainable development tasks, including both social and environmental aspects, while doing business. If they are short of sustainable development knowledge or lack the sense of social responsibility, the consequences will be very serious, not only against themselves but also the surrounding environment and society. Therefore, the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development chaired by VCCI is constituted by many large Vietnamese and foreign corporations, like Holcim Vietnam, Unilever, Son Ha Garment Company, Shell, Apco, Roll - Royce (Vietnam) International Ltd, Hanoi Trade Corporation (Hapro), Vietnam National Coal, Mineral Industries Holding Corporation Limited (Vinacomin), Nippon Paint Vietnam Corp, Ho Chi Minh City Securities Corporation, FPT Corporation and Saigontourist Group. The council will focus on three main aspects: energy, response to climate change and environmental protection. With the participation and dialogue of stakeholders, with businesses playing vital roles, the council will definitely become a significant factor and attract business community participation to the sustainable development strategy in Vietnam.
Deeply aware of the importance of sustainable development, in 2006, VCCI founded the Business Office for Sustainable Development. With the goal of building a dynamic, powerful Vietnamese business community that contributes more to economic, social and environmental development, the office collaborated and coordinated with countries and organisations in the region and around the world to execute sustainable development projects, encourage, instruct and advise businesses to implement sustainable development measures.
Remarking on the importance of sustainable development to the economy and businesses, Dr Vu Tien Loc, President of VCCI, said: “High continuous economic growth must go in line with macroeconomic stability, growth quality and look towards sustainable development. This is tied with the improvement of competitiveness of the national economy, businesses and products of Vietnam. In the current context of globalisation, effectively implementing corporate social responsibility, especially coordinating with stakeholders, will help businesses overcome technical barriers, penetrate international markets, edge up competitiveness and ensure sustainable development of businesses.”
In reality, efforts by VCCI and the business community are also consistent with Vietnam’s sustainable development orientation for 2011 to 2020: sustaining economic growth, employment, labour productivity and investment productivity, as well as ensuring a sustained decline in energy consumption, traffic accidents, social evils, poverty, unemployment, land degradation and environmental pollution.