Dec 11, 2021 / 06:13

Corporate responsibility in the time of climate change and sustainability development in Vietnam

Organizations will be willing to invest much more than today in addressing climate change over the next three to five years.

A webinar with the theme “Vietnam climate action: Our roles in building a sustainable business” was held this week to debrief Vietnam regulators and business communities on the key results of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26) and discuss practical solutions on climate actions and sustainability development in Vietnam.

Vietnam is one of the countries most affected by climate change and has a large annual total of GHG emissions (ranked 21st in the world and 2nd in ASEAN). At the webinar, the delegates discussed key commitments and actions stated in the COP26 with recommendations for Vietnam.

They also debated practical solutions from the perspectives of investment fund managers, businesses and professional accountants.

Namely, Dragon Capital Group updated the trends of international investors and regulators where they require investment fund managers to disclose climate-related risks and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission information of their portfolio as well as its implication to companies in Vietnam.

Meanwhile Century Synthetic Fiber Corporation brought to participants’ meaningful stories of how they are doing Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) practices and its connection to customer attraction and retention, and ultimately business growth with lessons learnt to other businesses.

A recent global research by the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) among 3,000 accountants and finance professionals reveal that just 15% say their organizations have set targets to be net zero compliant by 2050, and only 38% say their organizations will be willing to invest much more than today in addressing climate change over the next 3 to 5 years.

 Participants attend the webinar. Photo: The Hanoi Times

The key findings from ACCA’s report “Climate action and the accountancy profession: building a sustainable future” have shown the gap between the good intentions of organizations, and the urgent and speedy need for climate action.

The climate agenda will redefine the world of business over the coming decades and meeting the climate action is a long-term process. There is a critical need for leaders, whether in governments, the private or public sectors, to grasp the scale of this challenge and to respond to it.

The accountancy profession has a critical role to play in this by bringing an integrated approach that places sustainability at the heart of organizational decision making, rather than it being an additional consideration.

This approach links strategy and governance to data-driven decision making and rigorous measurement of performance using science-based targets, coherent reporting and trustworthy assurance of information used by stakeholders.

“I am pleased that more and more international companies are prioritizing the green agenda in their business models, through high ESG standards, as well as robust and transparent climate reporting. Whilst much progress has been made on climate action, there is of course more to be done and together. We as the UK continue to stand ready to offer our support to Vietnam, through policy dialogue, expertise, and finance”, stated Her Majesty Ambassador (HMA) Mr Gareth Ward, British Ambassador in Vietnam.

Le Cong Dien, Director of Public Companies Supervision Department, State Securities Commission, highly appreciated the effort of the webinar co-organizers and supporting partners.

“Such an event would bring many benefits for businesses in Vietnam where they could find practical ideas and meaningful lessons for their next plan of sustainable development. More importantly, it makes contribution to supporting businesses in the market to heighten the standards of sustainability to solve climate issues faster,” Dien said.

“It is great to see how active and creative businesses are in designing and accelerating solutions that balance business performance and sustainable goals. Vietnam Chamber if Commerce and Industry (VCCI) are supporting the climate efforts by connecting our members with businesses and organizations which share the same vision to devise effective strategies for their sustainable development,” shared Pham Hoang Hai, partnership development head of Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development under the VCCI.

As the leading international professional body, ACCA has launched an online Sustainability Hub in 2021 that provides finance professionals around the world with access to highly relevant resources and knowledge, which enables them to rise to this global challenge.

“We are also glad that the Sustainability Reporting Awards (SRA) led by ACCA for the last nine years as part of the annual Vietnam Listed Company Reporting Awards has brought about positive changes in how listed companies build and implement sustainability strategy. This helps businesses to improve their accountancy capabilities both to lead long-term value creation within sustainable economies, and to champion responsible practices in the public interest,” added Ren Varma, portfolio head of ACCA Mainland Southeast Asia. 

ACCA also revealed that with the sponsor from Dragon Capital Group, they would provide 20 scholarships of ACCA Certificate of Sustainability to key staff of State Securities Commission, Stock Exchange of Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HOSE), Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX), selected listed companies, research institutes and media outlets.

“We are committed to Vietnam for the long-term; therefore, the long-term interests of the country are the same as ours. We believe that climate change, GHG emission and biodiversity loss are interrelated and inseparable threats to businesses and communities. We are therefore evolving our capabilities to ensure that we meet our obligations of addressing this global challenge through our role as an active long-term investor”, emphasized Dominic Scriven, Chairman of Dragon Capital Group.