Vietnamese firms put sustainability at center of growth strategies

By Thanh May   November 26, 2019 | 07:00 pm PT
More Vietnamese companies are altering their mindset and steering their growth model towards sustainable development.

Specializing in cassava starch products, the Hung Duy Company was faced with a post-production waste problem. "Large production volumes lead to massive wastewater and solid waste, which, traditionally, was discharged directly into the environment," said Le Huu Hung, the company’s chairman.

For many years, this problem had cost his business a large amount of money on environmental treatment and transportation of chemicals. In 2018, Hung Duy's board of management decided to invest in a technological line for waste treatment, costing VND400 billion ($17.3 million) for each factory.

This accounted for up to 10 percent of the firm's revenue, but Hung said "it would have long-term benefits for the environment and the surrounding communities."

Vo Tan Thanh, vice president of the VCCI.

Vo Tan Thanh, vice president of the VCCI.

Meanwhile, at Tomeco Corporation, the sustainability strategy has emphazised the human factor. "Tomeco considers human resources the central element for development. We want to grow our internal strengths and quality goals first," said Vu Thuy Quynh, the company's Deputy General Director.

For many years now, Tomeco has followed the Japanese corporate model of making continual improvements to product quality and focusing on sustainable development. This has meant both upgrading human resources and applying new technologies to create competitive, energy-efficient and high-performance products like turbocharger exhaust fans for high-rise buildings.

Hung Duy and Tomeco were among 106 enterprises honored at the Sustainable Enterprises awards ceremony held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) last Tuesday in Hanoi.

Vietnamese enterprises received sustainable development awards in Hanoi on November 26.

Vietnamese enterprises received sustainable development awards in Hanoi on November 26.

Vo Tan Thanh, vice president of the VCCI, said businesses were increasingly taking new directions and moving out of their traditional, old-fashioned business mindsets. "They are paying more attention to environment protection and the community, besides profits," he said.

"Sustainable development also enhances the mindset of businesses for the better, creating competitive advantages in the international arena in the context of the many trade barriers that Vietnam faces today," he added.

Loc also referred to new business models under which paperwork and procedures were reduced, creating openness and professionalism in business.

Since 2015, VCCI has supported enterprises by collaborating with the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to draft a Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) criteria for sustainable business development. This is both management tool applied to all types of businesses and a measure of evaluation.

The VCCI also established the Business Council in 2010 with the aim of encouraging and facilitating sustainable development in the country.

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