Mr. Pham Tan Cong, Chairman of VCCI: Sustainable development leads businesses to adapt and recover from the crisis

VCN - Mr. Pham Tan Cong, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Chairman of the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), estimated that sustainable development creates more resilience for businesses, thereby playing an important role in leading businesses to adapt and recover from crises.
Mr. Pham Tan Cong, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chairman of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Vietnam.
Mr. Pham Tan Cong, Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Chairman of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Vietnam.

How do you evaluate Vietnam's efforts in implementing sustainable development goals?

During nearly six years of pursuing the implementation of sustainable development goals, Vietnam has achieved many remarkable results in the fields of economy, society and environment. On a global scale, Vietnam's ranking in the results of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) continuously increased in the 2016-2021 period, from 88 of 149 countries in 2016 to 51 of 165 countries in 2021. Vietnam is assessed to have been performing well on a number of indicators on poverty eradication; gaining improvements in aspects of women's empowerment and political participation opportunities, etc., with multiple goals of ensuring inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

However, some of Vietnam's goals are unlikely to be achieved by 2030 such as ensuring access to sustainable, reliable and affordable energy for all Vietnamese; especially sustainable urban and rural development. Moreover, out of the 17 sustainable development goals, Vietnam is only rated at "completed" for two of the 17 goals, namely Quality of Education and Responsible Consumption and Production.

How have Vietnam's efforts on sustainable development affected the business community, sir?

Sustainable development for businesses can be simply understood as a corporate governance strategy that adapts to all circumstances, on the basis of ensuring the harmony of economic benefits including profits and revenue with the benefit of employees and environmental protection. Therefore, many businesses gradually shift their business orientation and strategies from "business for profit" to responsible business.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainable development is not only a "guideline" in a stable state, but also plays an important role in leading businesses to adapt and recover from the crisis. In particular, businesses that implement sustainable development strategies in general and apply the Sustainable Business Index (CSI) developed by VCCI, have shown much better resilience than the common ground, and also more endurance, so the ability to recover is higher.

The Covid-19 pandemic can be an important "nudge" for businesses to change their perception of the crisis, thereby preparing and investing, and even focusing more resources on setting up a risk management framework and business continuity plan. When a crisis occurs, businesses can immediately start up defense and troubleshooting mechanisms, thereby upgrade recovery and development. Until the pandemic is controlled and the economy recovers, on the basis of the competitive advantages that enterprises have built up from human resources and employees' trust in enterprises, they will have a solid foundation to soon return to a growth trajectory.

What challenges will the Vietnamese economy and business community face in implementing the goals of sustainable development?

The biggest challenge currently facing the Vietnamese business community in implementing the sustainable development goals is the low awareness and capacity of the whole system, including human resources, infrastructure, finance and institutions, old and outdated habits in production life and management. Not only that, the awareness of the management agencies is also incomplete and inconsistent, so the socio-economic policies are still prone to rapid growth, not paying enough attention to the sustainability in exploiting and using natural resources.

In addition, financial resources for the implementation of sustainable development goals in Vietnam are still mainly public resources, while balancing the state budget and leaving room to expand the scale of mobilization of the state budget is facing many challenges. On the other hand, the mobilization of private resources in society are limited. As a matter of fact, while private enterprises are mainly small and micro, with low competitiveness and operational efficiency, foreign investment (FDI) has not yet created a spillover in productivity and high-level technology.

Besides, many Vietnamese enterprises are still using outdated technology and unable to catch up with the level of science and technology, research and technology transfer. Notably, the Covid-19 pandemic is having negative impacts on global socio-economic life, causing production supply chains to be halted, many service sectors having to close, seriously affecting business activities and the sustainable development of enterprises in Vietnam.

As a result, on October 1, 2021, the Prime Minister approved the National Strategy on Green Growth for the 2021-2030 period with a vision to 2050 with ambitious goals to help Vietnam catch up, move forward towards the aspirations of economic prosperity, environmental sustainability and social justice. Choosing green growth is considered a new approach in economic growth to ensure harmony between socio-economic development and restoration and conservation of natural ecosystems.

Therefore, VCCI has coordinated with VBCSD to promote the role of orientation and support for businesses in implementing sustainable development. VCCI and VBCSD also recommend and advise the Government in implementing solutions to solve challenges in public-private partnership (PPP) models in order to create a favorable investment environment and to attract the awareness of the business community in the implementation of Vietnam's sustainable development goals.

Thank you Sir!

By Hương DỊu/Minh Phương

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