The implementation of corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming an important requirement for increased global competitiveness and sustainable development of Vietnamese enterprises in the integration process. Report by Vietnam Economic News.

The comment was made at the seminar entitled "Promoting Corporate Social Responsibility and Occupational Health and Safety in Vietnam" recently organised by the Ministry of Labor, Invalids and Social Affairs in collaboration with the Danish Embassy in Hanoi.

CSR is keeping credibility with customers

In the context of increasingly intensive international integration process, the demands from international companies and Vietnamese importers and consumers worldwide for Vietnam enterprises in compliance with global standards of occupational safety and health, environmental protection are also increasing.

Many large enterprises in Vietnam found that CSR has become one of indispensable requirements for businesses.

According to Deputy Minister Nguyen Trong Dam, in recent years, CSR is understood more widely, not only from an ethical standpoint but also from a legal perspective. The consequences of corporate irresponsibility were condemned by the public and would be subject to strict sanctions.

“Businesses in pursuit of sustainable development must comply with the standards of environmental protection, gender equality, labour safety, labour rights, vocational training and community development. Implementation of social responsibility of enterprises not only helps them move towards sustainable development but also contributes to sustainable social development,” he said.

Recent surveys conducted by the ministry's Institute of Labor Science and Social Affairs on 24 enterprises in leather and textile industries also showed that through the implementation of CSR programmes, business revenues grew by 25 percent; labour productivity increased from 34.2 milliion VND to 35.8 million VND per employee per year; exports ratios also increased from 94 to 97 percent.

Apart from economic efficiency, these businesses also strengthened consumer confidence and attracted skilled workers.

Experience from Denmark

In fact, in recent years there are still many businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, failing to take CSR seriously because of the absence of capital and violating trade frauds and environmental pollution.

According to Danish CSR expert Birgitte Mogensen, the two most effective means to integrate social responsibility into the business are transparency and motivation.

In particular, the transparency factor has been mostly used by Denmark and many other countries through three main tools: reporting regulations; smiley system (i.e. the Danish Working Environment Authority labels smileys for businesses on its website for the public to know what degrees of health and safety these businesses have met); and commitment to fulfill international guidelines.

The motivation is understood as motivating business leaders to better business based on factors such as cost savings and higher sales. In Denmark, the government agencies and other organizations have developed a lot of tools to guide and inspire businesses to do CSR in association with sales and profits.

According to Danish Ambassador John Nielsen, the experience from his country showed that businesses that created good jobs and committed to worker’s good and stable lives were the most efficient operators and competitors. Danish enterprises entering into trade relations with Vietnamese partners should participate in CSR activities, and thereby, the two sides can share CSR experience and improve business efficiency.-VNA