Shifting to green growth would help businesses increase their competitiveness and catch up with trends in the domestic and foreign markets, delegates told a seminar in HCM City on Wednesday.
As one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate change, Viet Nam has made multi-dimensional efforts to drive the whole nation towards its collective goal of reaching net zero greenhouse gasses emissions targets, achieving sustainable development, and contributing to tackle the global climate change crisis, they said.
Speaking at the 'Good for Business, Good for Planet' seminar held by Nhip Cau Dau Tu magazine, Tim Evans, CEO of HSBC Vietnam, said, "The green journey that Viet Nam has embarked on is bringing both opportunities and challenges. Those businesses who get onboard early can capture major opportunities and build a competitive advantage, for instance, they are able to access green finance and enjoy relevant incentives thanks to regulatory support for green finance to facilitate a green economy.
"On top of that, aligning a business to a net zero future also helps build a stronger brand, increase brand value, and improve employer branding to meet the expectations among employees and consumers."
He encouraged businesses to start working out their transition plan, beginning with setting a clear strategy and targets.
They should refer to the guidelines of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures to set short- and long-term targets and adjust their business strategy to align with climate risks, he said.
"They should consider rolling out emission reduction initiatives like reducing waste, increasing circularity and implementing energy-efficiency measures, redesigning products for lower-carbon materials and switching facilities to renewable power, and so on. In the long run, new, low-carbon business models should be developed with technologies, goods, and services of a sustainable tomorrow at its core.
"In this net zero pathway, cooperation will be the key in driving businesses, especially those who are linked together in the same ecosystem/supply chain, to join hands in looking for win-win solutions that benefit not only themselves but the society as a whole," he added.
Many businesses have already had a green agenda in place and great progress has been made, such as Nestle with regenerative agriculture through the NESCAFE Plan project.
Khuat Quang Hung, head of Corporate Affairs and Sustainability at Nestle Vietnam, said currently nearly two-thirds of Nestle's emissions come from the production of agricultural ingredients it uses. Therefore, the shift toward regenerative agriculture will help the group to greatly slash greenhouse gas emissions in the near future.
However, delegates at the seminar agreed that the transition to green growth is a challenging process, and much more needs to be done to achieve the net zero targets and a sustainable future for future generations.
HSBC’s Evans said, "in order to accelerate the transition of Viet Nam, there is a clear need for the Government to have a thorough framework coupled with detailed policies in place after its green growth strategy as a springboard. The green economy transition requires comprehensive reforms in which the finance sector should be at its heart. Only with strong green finance should other sectors be able to step up.
"At present, international funds for green growth, particularly in renewable energy, are still nascent due to the hesitation of investors caused by insecure electricity commercial contracts posing risk to project-based funding as well as the restrictions in regulatory and legal frameworks for refinancing existing projects. Much more needs to be done to create a hassle-free space to leverage international capital for national green growth."
In adition, delegates suggested the Government should have incentive policies to encourage enterprises to transform towards sustainable development.
Top 50 corporate sustainability awards
The seminar was followed by the Top 50 corporate sustainability awards ceremony that honoured 50 foreign invested, listed and non-listed enterprises that have contributed to sustainable development, environmental friendliness and social justice.
The awards also aim to contribute to promoting the trend of sustainable development spreading among the business community and Vietnamese society, raise awareness, and demonstrate how sustainable business benefits companies, the environment, and society.
Akzo Nobel Vietnam, Cargill Vietnam, GE Vietnam, Manulife Vietnam, Nestle Vietnam, Unilever Vietnam, Masan, Nam Long, Novaland, PNJ, Sacombank, the Pan Group, Vinamilk and Hung Thinh Land were among the winners.
The awards were assessed based on criteria such as stable growth (company size, average growth and its position in the market), sustainable corporate culture, corporate governance, environmental protection and the social responsibility of companies.
The programme received data and advisory from the appraisal panel including representatives of HSBC Vietnam, Deloitte Vietnam, FTI Consulting, Talentnet, the Institute of Circular Economy Development and experts from Harvard Business School. — VNS
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