Local firms urged to engage more in CSR activities

14-Dec-2019 Intellasia | The SaigonTimes | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Local firms should have a better understanding of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and should become more involved in it, as doing social events not only supports local communities, but also helps them grow more sustainable, according to panelists at the merit ceremony of the Saigon Times CSR 2019 programme.

The editorial board of the Saigon Times Group held a CSR seminar as part of the “Saigon Times CSR 2019″ Merit Ceremony at the Caravelle Hotel in District 1, HCM City, today, December 12.

Cao Thi Ngoc Dung, chairwoman of Phu Nhuan Jewellery (PNJ), noted at the seminar, entitled “Spreading the spirit of CSR among businesses,” that her firm has long been practicing CSR.

“This comes from our business philosophy that makes the interests of our customers part of our business’ interests, so social responsibility is integrated in our business operations,” remarked Dung.

She added that the firm primarily supports women and children, as they are often vulnerable.

Lam Ngoc Thao, executive director of the HCM City-based LIN centre for Community Development, pointed out that CSR consists of four elements.

The first is about business responsibility, which means creating revenue and profit, while legal compliance is next.

Ethical responsibility involves not doing harm to the community, and social responsibility refers to creating benefits to the community, according to Thao.

Nestle, which is among the world’s largest food and beverage companies, is supporting farmers in their farming activities, as part of the company’s community activities.

“At Nestle, our concept is a bit different. We do not refer to them as “CSR activities,” but call them CSV, or creating shared value,” according to Khuat Quang Hung, associate director of corporate and external affairs at Nestle Vietnam.

Hung explained that to be successful, a firm not only does business but also creates value for other stakeholders. “For the sake of benefits for a certain stakeholder, the firm should not cause negative impacts on any other parties,” he stressed.

Vietnam is the world’s second largest coffee exporter, especially of Robusta beans, only behind Brazil, he said.

He cited data as saying that as of late November this year, the country earned some $3 billion in coffee export revenues. However, local farmers are still suffering from numerous challenges, such as from old coffee trees and climate change.

“Human resources in the coffee industry are also a major problem, as farmers are mostly elderly people, while younger people, after leaving school, are likely to stay in big cities instead of going back to their farms,” Hung said.

Therefore, for ten years Nestle Vietnam has been conducting a programme which connects with farmers in five central Highlands provinces, called the “Nestle plan.”

He said the programme aims to improve the quality of coffee, raise productivity for farmers, and expand their knowledge about sustainable farming, while reducing impacts on the environment. As a result, more than 22,000 local farming households have benefited from the programme.

Meanwhile, Kevin Green, chief risk officer at HSBC Bank (Vietnam) Ltd, said that apart from supporting United Nations sustainable development goals, HSBC values support the community in which the bank operates. Therefore, HSBC has been involved in community projects in Vietnam since 1995.

Green said the bank participates in projects involving sustainable finance, future skills and community projects.

In terms of future skills, “We help some underprivileged students to learn basic finance and business skills. We also support universities and businesses in projects,” he said.

He stressed that CSR projects should be sustainable, over the long-term. “We don’t want to just give one-off financial donations… We are looking at projects and activities where local communities can become involved, and we can give them tools to continue and receive benefits for a longer term,” he explained.

He stressed that local firms should pay more attention to CSR, because investors, lenders, employees and customers are looking at them more carefully.

“It becomes much easier for companies to attract investment flows, find employees and new business, if they do valuable projects that are sustainable,” he said.

Speaking on the sidelines of the merit ceremony, Nguyen Ngoc Anh, deputy director general for external affairs at Kim Oanh Group, a property developer based in the southern province of Binh Duong, told the Saigon Times that the firm always puts the interests of its clients first, following its business philosophy of making good products that create value.

The firm has even supported children of Vietnamese origin living on the Tonle Sap Lake in neighbouring Cambodia, by giving gifts to them, she said.

Pham Khac Khoan, deputy general director of HCM City-based real estate developer Hung Thinh Corporation, said that the firm has participated in multiple CSR programmes in Vietnam and even Southeast Asia, regarding these activities as a mission, in alignment with its sustainable development strategy.

Despite having become involved in various activities, Hung Thinh has paid much attention to those to assist military officers and soldiers on duty on Truong Sa (Spratly) Archipelago and offshore scientific-technological economic service stations, also known as DK1 rigs, as developments in the East Sea have been complicated and military officers and soldiers have worked hard to protect the country’s security and national defense.

The corporation is also grateful to the Saigon Times Group and the community for recognising the firm’s contributions to society, and is willing to take part in the CSR programme in the years ahead.

Tran Minh Duc, sustainable development manager at Fico Tay Ninh Cement JSC, shared a similar view, saying that it would continue accompanying the Saigon Times CSR programme in the years to come.

Fico believes that sustainable growth is a long-term investment in business, environment and society. Enterprises must have strong business performances to be able to contribute to the community.

Practicing CSR is both mission and long-term investment of Fico, Duc remarked, adding that the company will continue doing CSR in the future, focusing on localities where the company has built plants, including Tay Ninh, Binh Phuoc and Binh Duong provinces, and the outlying district of Nha Be in HCM City.



Category: Business, Vietnam

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