Experts at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13 urged the business community to increase awareness about how to manage natural disaster's risks and in return support for society.

Most Vietnamese businesses have ignored the necessary preparations to avoid and reduce losses during natural disasters, they said.

Nguyen Thai Thuy Hoa, training manager of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Support Centre was speaking at a seminar held in Ho Chi Minh City on November 13 that discussed businesses adaptation to climate change.

Vietnam is one of five countries considered to be the most vulnerable to climate change, with 70 percent of the population affected by natural disasters. The country loses 1.5 percent of GDP each year because of the impact of climate change.

A survey, carried out in 2011 by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and the Asia Foundation, found that 85 percent of businesses were affected by storms, 45 percent by floods and 12 percent by whirlwinds.

"Most businesses haven't paid attention to drawing up plans to manage the risks of natural disaster. They should also be ready to support and assist the local community as well," she added.

Around 57 percent of Vietnamese businesses have not bought insurance for natural disaster, 47 percent have no plans to protect database and equipment, and 55 percent have not thought about how to recover after a natural disaster.

Hoa suggested that business leaders take the initiative and change awareness about natural disaster's risk reduction by incorporating this in their yearly business plans and corporate social responsibility strategy.

Next week, a seminar on how to deal with natural disaster's risks will be held and early next year, two training courses for enterprises will be organised, along with consultancy support for businesses who want to make a plan.

"In future, we will expand training programmes to all of Vietnam; increase information technology allowing enterprises to get more information; and promote public-private partnerships and activities for natural disaster risk-management, along with increasing social responsibility," Hoa added.

The Ho Chi Minh City Natural Resources and Environment Department has set up the Enterprises Club Adapting to Climate Change in order to enhance the role of enterprises in this endeavour. The club will exchange knowledge, skills and solutions to help each other cope with climate change.-VNA