"Advantages" for businesses in promoting sustainable development in international trade

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In a recent sharing, Dr Samuel Buertey, Accounting Lecturer at the RMIT University Vietnam's School of Business, stated that he had met with a procurement expert to connect international companies with manufacturers in Vietnam. Apart from the requirements for providing samples, the international partner demand evidence of responsible business practices, particularly in how companies treat their employees and arrange working conditions for labourers.

"Vietnam is gradually positioning itself as a manufacturing and business outsourcing destination for many global brands. Factors such as cost, skilled labour, and a stable economy are key attractions. However, recently, more and more global companies only accept working with suppliers who commit to social and environmental standards," emphasized Dr Samuel Buertey.

There is a need to encourage the Vietnamese business community to keep up with the trend of sustainable development linked to a diverse, equal, and inclusive culture. Photo: H.Diu
There is a need to encourage the Vietnamese business community to keep up with the trend of sustainable development linked to a diverse, equal, and inclusive culture. Photo: H.Diu

To meet these requirements, speaking at the VBCWE 2023 Business Forum: Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion - Key Elements in ESG Sustainable Development, organized by the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women's Empowerment (VBCWE) in collaboration with the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD) on the afternoon of June 14th in Hanoi, Ha Thu Thanh, Chairwoman of the VBCWE, emphasized that after the Covid-19 pandemic, businesses focusing on human factors, build a diverse, equal, and inclusive culture would have the ability to cope with and overcome the pandemic and achieve better breakthroughs.

On the same issue, Nguyen Quang Vinh, Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Chairman of the VBCSD, stated that businesses would benefit greatly when they embrace diversity, equality, and inclusion in their sustainable development strategies. Economically, businesses will enhance their ability to access new markets, promote exports, create advantages in attracting investment capital, support improving business management capacity, and attract and retain talented individuals.

According to experts and businesses, diversity, equality, and inclusion are essential trends and goals many businesses pursue on their sustainable development journey. With this trend, businesses must create an equal environment for workers, especially female workers.

Sharing on this issue, Cao Ngoc Dung, Chairwoman of the Board of Directors of Phu Nhuan Jewelry JSC, Vice Chairwoman of the VBCWE and the VBCSD, said that meeting sustainable development standards, including gender equality, will give businesses an added advantage when collaborating and doing business with foreign partners. Especially starting in 2024, partners from the EU (EU) will impose mandatory requirements for sustainable development in various cooperative and trade activities.

She recommended that diversity, equality, and inclusion issues should be reflected in the strategies, vision, and operational plans of each organization and business. Integrating diversity and inclusion goals into business strategies is necessary to achieve economic efficiency. Businesses must establish programs and policies to support and empower disadvantaged groups and create a safe working environment for employees.

Parallel to implementation, according to experts, Vietnamese businesses need to pay more attention to building and disclosing sustainability reports. According to the State Securities Commission, in 2022, only 19 public companies issued their sustainability reports. However, to attract partners and experts, RMIT University Vietnam emphasized the importance of these reports. Publishing sustainable reports demonstrates the goals related to the environment, society, and governance, as well as the progress in achieving these goals, which is not a difficult task for any business prioritizing sustainability.

It is known that with the support of the Australian Government through the "Investing in Women" project, over the past five years, the VBCWE has made pioneering efforts in promoting gender equality in the workplace, focusing on the private sector. This forum is an opportunity for the VBCWE to announce the direction of Phase 2 of the project with activities aimed at supporting and promoting the improvement of job quality for women.

Within the forum framework, three businesses continue to be honoured for promoting gender equality in the workplace and receive the Gender Equality in the Workplace GEARS (Gender Equality Advantage for Results and Success) certification. The awarded businesses include Ca Mau Fertilizer Petroleum JSC (PVCFC), Phuc Khang Investment and Construction JSC, and Bao Minh Confectionery JSC.

By Huong Diu/ Ha Thanh

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