Sustainable development in Vietnam

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Achievement of sustainable development in Vietnam

The sustainable development objectives including economic, social development and environment protection have been integrated into national priority development together with economic growth objective.

With a stable GDP and economic growth, improvement of education, Vietnamese citizens have gained more knowledge about gender quality, environmental and other social issues, thus, creating campaigns to support collective action. For example, the campaign collecting garbage along beaches in Vietnam attracted more than 1000 students to participate in which indicated collective action to mitigate effect of disaster and climate change.

Vietnamese government has significantly improved the rate of hunger eradication, poverty reduction, population, job creation, education and healthcare. Particularly, in 2014, total state budget for hunger eradication and poverty reduction were more than 34 billion VND. Thus, the poverty rate took a nosedive from 14.2% in 2010 to 1.8-2% in 2014, proving average reduction of 2% per year national wide.

The state fund for environmental protection has been increased, thus the policies for environmental protection has put into regular operation. By executing tax exemption for environmental friendly enterprises, businesses in Vietnam have been more aware of coordinating environmental protection policies into long term vision and mission.

Vietnam takes part in international agreement to show commitment to sustainable development such as: WTO, United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, United Nation Convention to combat desertification, the convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora…

Challenges of sustainable development in Vietnam

There have been some challenges in Vietnam when implementing sustainable development policies. An increase in natural disaster, degenerated natural resource (water and biodiversity resources), wasteful and ineffective production and consumption are causing huge destruction to various local communities.

Even though there have been some supporting policies for enterprises in Vietnam to implement sustainable development policies, they have not obtained full awareness of the link between good environmental, social, and governance performance and the ability of companies to be profitable and survive in turbulent times. Therefore, most of the firms succeeded in promoting sustainable development practices are international businesses.

Sustainable development in business

Since Vietnam takes part in international trade agreements, there will be more international and institutional investors need the information of material environmental, social and governance information about company performance to decide whether to make investment decision.

Sustainable development of the business should be proven by social factors (employee compensation, benefits, staff turnover, safety practices, diversity and local community) and environmental factors (energy efficiency, GHS emissions, biodiversity conservation, water usage, natural resource use, waste to energy and recycling practices). These factors are crucial for investors as they indicates how the company takes into account risks, opportunities, management approach, stakeholder value and long term development.

Sustainability report has been strongly recommended by Vietnamese government. Vietnam Brewery Ltd is one of a few leading companies taking this report seriously. Their report in 2014 stated that the company switched from diesel to biomass as boiler fuel, reducing direct CO2 emissions as a result. In addition to reducing our carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of global warming, the local community has also benefited from the programme with an additional income from the sale of rice husks. The company also highlighted the code of conduct which allowed the employees to voice their opinions. There have been also other big cooperation taking part in the trend for example Bao Viet Corporation, Vinamilk, Hau Giang Pharmacy…

In conclusion, in order for enterprises in Vietnam to actively engage in sustainable development and voluntarily adopt sustainability as common practice, Vietnamese government should take more urgent actions.

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