Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum 2016 (VCSF): Innovation for SDGs implementation

The Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) in close cooperation with the British Council, Unilever Vietnam and Vingroup Joint Stock Company has officially hosted the third Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum (VCSF) with the theme of “Innovation for SDGs implementation.”

The Forum has taken place with the attendance of Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam, Chairman of the National Council for Sustainable Development and Competitiveness Improvement as well as leaders from ministries, ambassadors, representatives from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, United Nations (UN) organisations in Vietnam, international institutions, academics, enterprises, business associations, and Vietnamese and international media agencies.

Deputy Prime Minister Vu Duc Dam affirmed that three years is a short time but the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) have succeeded in turning this annual forum into an effective meeting platform for the public sector, the private sector, civil society organisations and communities to put forth their ideas on VCCI’s general recommendations to governmental policies with the aim of improving environment and business environment in Vietnam, and supporting and promoting the sustainable business community.

Speaking at the forum, Mr. Tran Hong Ha, Minister of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE), has presented a plan for the carrying out of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change in Vietnam. The plan consists of strategic directions to fundamentally and systematically address climate change issues in decades and proves Vietnam’s responsibility with the international community to deal with one of enormous challenges that threatens the survival of humanity.

Minister Ha has particularly welcomed VBCSD’s initiatives and programmes to engage the business community to use energy economically and efficiently, reduce emissions and effectively respond to climate changes, citing the Energy Efficiency for Building Initiative, the Renewable Energy Initiative, the Sustainable Cities Network Initiative, and the Training Programme on Cleaner Production and Circular Economy.

He has also hoped that through the forums hosted by VBCSD, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the business community will go along with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, relevant agencies and localities to successfully implement the Paris Agreement in Vietnam

Coming from the United Kingdom, Peter Holbrook, Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK, has shared initiatives of Social Enterprise UK to engage big enterprises and multinationals to work with social enterprises to deal with social and environmental issues in the UK. His story on how social enterprises have contributed to the British Government’s obligations to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals or how the Social Enterprise UK has cooperated with business partners to connect and bring business opportunities to over 1,000 member social enterprises has given interesting lessons to Vietnam. The UK is the birthplace of social enterprise movements and a pioneering nation with social initiatives.

With five years’ experience in carrying out the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP) aimed to create a sustainable life for people around the world and develop business whilst enhancing positive social impacts and reducing environmental impacts, Unilever Vietnam has expressed its hope to share sustainable development models to support the business community in Vietnam to act together for global sustainable development goals.

The forum consists of a plenary session and many concurrent breakout sessions.

The plenary session, themed “Sustainable Development Goals and Business Actions” is chaired by Mr. Florian Beranek, Lead Expert on Societal Responsibility of the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO). Participants include (1) Mr. Sasama Tomoyuki - Country Manager of Dow in Vietnam; (2) Mr. Matthew Wilson - Corporate Relations Director of Heineken Vietnam Brewery Limited Company; (3) Mr. Tran Hung Viet - General Director of Saigontourist Holding Company; (4) Mr. Nguyen Duc Thuan - President of TBS Group; (5) Mr. Tran Vu Hoai - Vice President of Unilever Vietnam; (6) Mr. Andrew Chan - Regional Manager of PwC in Southeast Asia; and (7) Peter Holbrook - Chief Executive of Social Enterprise UK.

Breakout sessions are designed for specific topics, including Social Enterprise towards Sustainable Development, Transparency and Integrity in Business, Sustainable Agriculture and Sustainability Reporting, and Corporate Sustainability Index.

The highlight of this year's VCSF is awards presented by Dr. Vu Tien Loc, VCCI President, to outstanding VBCSD members in recognition and honour of their engagements and contributions to programmes and activities that support and promote the sustainable business community.

VCCI President Vu Tien Loc stressed that “Business is the core force and entrepreneurs are “warriors in peacetime” who decide the success or failure of these development orientations in the future.” Sustainable development is not a choice but the only way for enterprises to go forward, he affirmed.


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