Director of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s Branch in Ho Chi Minh City Vo Tan Thanh (Photo: VNA)

HCM City (VNA)
– Ensuring corporate social responsibility (CSR) and responsible business conduct (RBC) are important factors in promoting the sustainable development of businesses in the light of global economic integration, heard a seminar in Ho Chi Minh City on January 15.

The event, entitled “Responsible Supply Chain in Asia – Engagement of Strategic States”, was jointly held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI)’s chapter in HCM City and the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

Director of VCCI-HCM Vo Tan Thanh said the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) took effect in Vietnam on January 14, while the Vietnam-EU free trade agreement (EVFTA) is in the process of approval. This has opened up numerous opportunities for the Southeast Asian country to make inroads into major markets.

However, to enjoy the preferences of these new-generation FTAs, participating countries, including Vietnam, must comply with non-commercial commitments such as labour, environment, and corporate social responsibility, as well as factors to ensure sustainable development, he noted.

Over the past time, the VCCI has organised a number of activities to improve the business investment environment in Vietnam, and increase the competitiveness of businesses in the international arena, he said.

From now until 2020, the VCCI and ILO will implement a responsible supply chain project in Asia with a focus on supporting businesses operating in the two key export sectors of Vietnam: seafood processing and timber processing, which are expected to obtain a lot of opportunities in expanding markets as Vietnam joins the CPTPP and EVFTA.

Bui Thi Ninh, head of the VCCI-HCM’s bureau for employers’ activities, said CSR and RBC are key to improving relations between employers and employees. They not only have great impact on the sustainable development of businesses, but also their prestige and branding, she said.

Good practice of CSR and RBC will help businesses reduce production costs, improve the efficiency of using resources, and increase revenue and profit, she added.

Chang-Hee Lee, Director of ILO Vietnam, said Vietnam has joined many supply chains of goods and services for large and developed markets.

The practice of CSR and RBC will help promote smart, sustainable, and inclusive growth for the business community, which in turn will improve their ability to access markets and optimise tariff preferences from FTAs, he said.

At the seminar, experts suggested businesses thoroughly study the relevant provisions of FTAs that are about to take effect, and make active contributions to the building and amendment of legal regulations on businesses and employment.–VNA