Sustainable Development - Key to the Future

10:42:07 AM | 12/17/2021

Sustainable development has become a vital megatrend for countries around the world, including Vietnam, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam.

This message was delivered by the Deputy Prime Minister at the Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2021 (VCSF 2021) on December 9. The 7th VCSF took place amid the spreading contagion of the COVID-19 pandemic which caused a heavy impact on Vietnam's socio-economic development.

The Government of Vietnam has integrated sustainable development indicators into all socio-economic development strategies, he said. The National Action Plan on Sustainable Development is reviewed annually to assess criteria applied, outcomes achieved and challenges confronted.

For the time being, only two sustainable development goals, namely education and responsible consumption and production, are assessed to be completed in Vietnam. The remaining goals such as infrastructure, life at sea and on land still have a huge gap to be filled to reach the finish line.

Deputy Prime Minister Dam acknowledged that achieving all sustainable development goals is a huge challenge for countries, even the most developed ones. Vietnam is a developing country with a lot of existing difficulties, but it still boldly makes a strong commitment to sustainable development.

"Vietnam cannot achieve its sustainable development goals without the participation of the people, without the determination to promote public-private partnership where the business plays a core role,” he noted.

The COVID-19 pandemic is a push for businesses to change their thinking about crises, enabling them to make better preparation and investment, dedicating more resources for designing a risk management framework. When a crisis occurs, they can immediately start up defense and troubleshooting mechanisms to quickly recover and develop even more sustainably. When the pandemic is controlled and the economy revives, given their existing competitive advantages, they will have a solid foundation to recover sooner and return to the growth trajectory.

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic has shown that businesses that have pursued and applied sustainable business strategies and models have better resilience and response to the crisis. And in the past, the Vietnamese business community has provided great financial, material and spiritual contributions to the fight against the pandemic and to the economic recovery of Vietnam.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam highly appreciated the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and its partners for persistently initiating and organizing VCSF. When he assigned tasks, he expressed his belief that VCCI will make more efforts to lead and work with the business community to have greater contributions to the cause of making Vietnam more prosperous, happier and more sustainable, and leaving no one behind.

VCCI President Pham Tan Cong said at VCFS 2021 that working practices of the business community in the past have proven that earlier adoption of sustainable development and sustainable business and governance models has made companies more resilient to global challenges.

“Without doubt, applying sustainable business and governance models is an effective vaccine to strengthen the immune system of enterprises," he emphasized. To increase resilience, they need to change their business thinking, see sustainable development as indispensable, and the only way for them to stand firm in the global market. A responsible and sustainable business approach needs to be instilled with a company-wide commitment, from the leadership level to each and every employee.

Sustainable businesses quickly study and apply the CSI Index to corporate governance. CSI helps all businesses, especially SMEs, to work out a specific roadmap for building a sustainable development strategy, early identify risks and new business opportunities, thus enabling it to manage business more efficiently.

The 6th announcement of Vietnamese sustainable enterprises in 2021 shows that the percentage of Vietnamese enterprises and foreign enterprises winning Top 10 titles is 55% and 45%, respectively. In the Top 100, these respective percentages are 63% and 27%. This demonstrates that the readiness, transformation and responsiveness to the sustainable business of Vietnamese enterprises are increasingly strong and progressive.

At VCSF 2021, VCCI and VBCSD gave recommendations and solutions to governmental agencies and the business community. Accordingly, governmental agencies need to further improve the legal framework, create a favorable business environment for enterprises toward sustainable institutions in order to promptly remove difficulties and obstacles, and arouse all potential and resources to generate a new driving force for rapid and sustainable development.

According to VBCSD, the business community needs to change their thinking, see sustainable development as indispensable and the only way for them to stand firm in the global arena; urgently research, apply and spread the CSI Index in corporate governance; establish a sustainable business network to sharpen their competitive advantages; and study and develop industry-specific and business-based CSI indices.

By Huong Ly, Vietnam Business Forum