Promoting private enterprise towards sustainable growth

VCN - For the first time, an initiative to promote socially responsible business practices known as the Standards: Environment, Society and Governance (ESG) for Small and Growing Businesses (SGBs) has been launched in Vietnam.
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With the strong reforms and innovations in institutions and policies of the Party and State in the past 3 decades, especially in the past 10 years, the private economic sector in Vietnam has experienced significant growth in quantity and quality and has become one of the most important driving forces of the socialist-oriented market economy.

Notably, this economic sector continuously maintained a good growth rate, accounting for about 40% of GDP; attracting about 85% of the economy's labor force, making an important contribution to mobilizing social resources for investment, production and business development, economic growth, economic restructuring to increase income of state budget, create jobs, improve people's lives and ensure social security.

However, according to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong, domestic private enterprises are still weak and lacking in both quantity and quality; capacity of development and contribution with no comparison with the potential of this area.

In the future, Vietnamese enterprises will face many new challenges, increasingly fierce competition, pressure on labor productivity and digital transformation in the new context.

The production and business situation of enterprises is expected to continue to face many difficulties and challenges from objective factors such as the risk of a resurgence of the Covid-19 pandemic; climate change issues, droughts and floods are happening; the Russian-Ukrainian military conflict could be protracted; high inflation is likely to become a persistent problem in the medium term; the prices of gasoline, fuel, and raw materials are still high, which affects the resilience of businesses and the economy.

According to Deputy Minister Tran Quoc Phuong, at present, climate change has had an increasingly large impact on the life, economy and society of every country in the world and Vietnam is no exception.

Facing that impact, the requirements of partners and the market towards sustainable production and consumption are taking place strongly; Vietnam's commitments when joining the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP26), priorities in the international cooperation frameworks ASEAN, APEC on sustainable business, green production, carbon tax, a carbon verification tool that is being applied more and more in countries around the world is posing challenges that need to be innovated for Vietnamese enterprises to catch up with new trends, otherwise, their competitiveness will be reduced and they will lose the opportunity to participate and move into the global value chain.

USAID will support Vietnamese SGBs so they can compete in the world and have more sustainable development. Photo: Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation - One Member Limited Liability Company (SAMCO)
USAID will support Vietnamese SGBs so they can compete in the world and have more sustainable development. Photo: Saigon Transportation Mechanical Corporation - One Member Limited Liability Company (SAMCO)

Assessing the challenges of the private sector in the future, Michael Schiffer, Asia Regional Director of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), said that despite being a source of job creation, Vietnam's SGBs are facing many challenges in sustainable development. Accordingly, USAID is expanding its partnership with the Ministry of Planning and Investment to help these enterprises overcome difficulties and seize opportunities to enhance their competitiveness. Specifically, USAID and the Ministry of Planning and Investment signed a cooperation agreement to further strengthen the capacity of the SME sector.

“We will support Vietnamese SGBs so they can compete in the world and have more sustainable development,” said Michael Schiffer.

USAID support to help raise awareness for 100,000 SGBs on Environment, Society and Governance (ESG); deploying ESG technical support package for 300 SGBs in order to meet the requirements of sustainable development of key export markets, develop an inclusive business model, green production; sponsoring piloting, implementing or scaling up 10 excellent ESG initiatives to spread sustainable business models with a total value of technical assistance of up to VND 6 billion.

At the same time, USAID will support through technology to develop renewable energy, green energy; and strengthen solutions for the business sector (including Vietnamese small and medium enterprises) to develop sustainably and shape market solutions.

This is the first ESG initiative in Vietnam for SGBs. These enterprises currently account for 97% of private sector enterprises and play an important role in the economic, social and environmental sustainability of Vietnam.

By Xuan Thao/Bui Diep

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