Forum highlights private sector-driven sustainable growth in Vietnam

The forum showed the strategic cooperation between Vietnam and the United States to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in Vietnam, towards the 10th anniversary of the two countries' comprehensive partnership in 2023.


To enhance Vietnamese enterprises’ competitiveness, in line with the trend of green, sustainable development, the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) cooperated with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) to co-organise the forum “Promoting private sector-driven sustainable growth” on November 22. It saw the presence of representatives from enterprises, investors, and experts in many industries.

Speaking to open the forum, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong said the impact of climate change, the requirements of partners, the trend of sustainable production and consumption, Vietnam's strong commitments at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), priorities in the international cooperation within ASEAN, APEC on sustainable business, green production, the carbon tax, and so on are exerted many challenges for Vietnamese businesses.

So, businesses must innovate, aiming to catch up with new trends, he added. Otherwise, they will lose their competitiveness, and lose the opportunities to penetrate global value chains.

"The organisation of the forum is appropriate and meaningful in the trend of green growth and sustainable development. The forum helps raise Vietnamese enterprises’ awareness of sustainable development and access to technical support sources, thereby strengthening the capacity to meet the standards and frameworks for sustainable business model evaluation. Additionally, the forum contributes to actively implementing solutions and policies of the Vietnamese government to achieve the goals of sustainable development”, said Phuong.

Mark Birnbaum, project director of USAID Improving Private Sector Competitiveness (IPSC), cited a survey about ESG awareness among small and growing businesses by USAID IPSC in 2022. Accordingly, many key factors motivating ESG commitments are improving corporate branding and credibility, wanting to do the right thing, complying with legal regulations, attracting and creating talent, and responding required by investors and shareholders. Major barriers preventing ESG commitments are lack of knowledge, small company size, and a lack of financial resources.

He said the MPI and USAID would collaborate to implement the initiative to support developing a legal framework and instruments for promoting ESG adoption in the private sector, engaging the business community to adhere to sustainable investment, business, and ESG.

The initiative also helps strengthen businesses’ capacity to adopt good ESG practices. Businesses could strengthen the network and partnership through the initiative to advocate and reinforce sustainable business development.

In particular, by 2025, the initiative is expected to raise awareness for 100,000 small and growing businesses about ESG, implementing ESG support packages for 300 small and growing businesses to meet the sustainability requirements of export markets and develop inclusive and green business models.

The initiative will also sponsor up to $260,000 worth of technical assistance for ten innovative ESG initiatives to pilot, implement, or scale up sustainable business models.

In the context of increasingly deep international economic integration, Vietnamese enterprises face not only opportunities to participate in the international playground, but also many challenges in meeting the requirements of green, sustainable development in production and penetrating the international market.

Overall, Vietnamese SMEs account for over 90 per cent of the private sector's businesses and attract over 50 per cent of the economy's labour force, contributing over 40 per cent of the national GDP. So, they play an important role in sustainable socioeconomic development in Vietnam.

At the discussion session topic "ESG Journey: Opportunities and Challenges," the speakers focused on exchanging and discussing opportunities and challenges in implementing the ESG assessment framework towards sustainable growth.

Dinh Hoang Giang, director at Secoin building material corporation, said the company had been making great efforts to manufacture environmentally friendly, non-polluting products, but the company did not understand and fully apply ESG criteria.

“Through this forum, I hope Vietnamese enterprises, including Secoin, will have the opportunity to properly absorb the knowledge to effectively implement ESG criteria which are considered an inevitable trend. Thereby, businesses could develop sustainably and promote their products to the international market,” he said.

Ngo Thi Tinh, director of Bao Minh confectionery company, spoke at the discussion session that the company is promoting sustainable development and wishes to export more traditional Vietnamese products worldwide.

“The company is ready to implement the ESG criteria and wants support to help it be more effective. We have taken steps to implement it but still facing many difficulties,” Tinh.

The forum showed the strategic cooperation between Vietnam and the US to promote sustainable and inclusive growth in Vietnam, towards the 10th anniversary of the two countries' comprehensive partnership in 2023.


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