The Belgian-Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (BeLuxCham), the Embassy of Belgium in Vietnam, and DEEP C Industrial Zones are co-organising the ESG: Evolving to the Next Level conference on November 30 and December 1 in Ho Chi Minh City.
This two-day conference will focus on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) best practices, particularly as they relate to the implementation of the EU-VN Free Trade Agreement and Vietnam’s commitment to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
The conference will also celebrate 50 years of diplomatic relations between Vietnam, Belgium, and Luxembourg, as well as the 20th anniversary of BeLuxCham in Vietnam.
According to Karl Van den Bossche, Ambassador of Belgium to Vietnam, Belgium has always been at the heart of the European Union, and continues to help shape its future.
“The focus on ESG principles is fundamental to our own society, as well as our commitment to global goals. The conference will be a unique opportunity to highlight these dimensions in our trade with Vietnam and also to celebrate the past 50 years of bilateral relations. It will set the blueprint for the next 50 years and beyond,” Bossche said at a press conference before the event on November 12.
“We work continuously with our customers and partners in Belgium, Vietnam, and around the world to lead the development of sustainable IZs and ESG best practices while helping Vietnam grow its critical role in the global supply chain,” said Soenens.
ESG practices have recently gained prominence in Vietnam, largely driven by the government’s efforts to promote sustainable investment and development while addressing the country’s numerous social and environmental challenges and opportunities.
Recent research by PwC showed that up to last year, 61 per cent of the companies in Vietnam were yet to commit to ESG, and according to Vietnamese regulations, only public and listed companies are required to disclose an annual ESG report.
Applying ESG standards to production can help companies to increase their competitive advantage, reduce costs, entice lenders and investors, create supply chain opportunities, and attract and retain talent.
TDL Solutions is working together with coffee bean farmers to apply these ESG principles into its production.
It focuses on recycling water and maximising the use of rainwater, guiding farmers to reduce their consumption by 60 per cent. Efforts also gear towards rebuilding biodiversity and converting farms into forest areas, as well as seasonally appropriate fermentation processes to create the best flavour in the coffee beans.
The complete process of sowing, planting, and harvesting is controlled and chemical-free, making the product more valuable as it is eligible for export to European countries.
Thai Dung Linh, CEO and co-founder of TDL Solutions, said that the company is aiming for a sustainable agricultural development model with three green pillars, namely green farming, green production, and green tourism.
“Applying ESG principles can help improve financial performance, reduce risk, and positively impact both society and the environment. It is a comprehensive approach that benefits both businesses and the broader community,” Linh said.
Another example, ITL Logistics Group, a member of BeLuxCham, is focusing on green transportation programmes. It has organised many training schemes to raise awareness about fuel economy, environmental protection, and safety. Green logistics is a trend that many businesses are aiming for today to protect the environment, as well as meet government regulations.
Koen Soenens, general sales and marketing director of Belgium’s DEEP C Industrial Zones and BeLuxCham board member, commented that as one of the leading industrial zone developers in Vietnam, DEEP C Industrial Zones is proud to be the Platinum Partner of the ESG: Evolving to the Next Level conference.
Additionally, many development finance institutions, such as the International Finance Corporation and the Asian Development Bank, now strongly encourage investee companies to prioritise ESG.
The ESG: Evolving to the Next Level conference will consist of one plenary session, 12 breakout sessions, and a closing gala dinner.
It will also feature the launch of two new social wellness initiatives. The first is from Tam Nhung Social Enterprise and its partner ASSIST Vietnam that focuses on raising awareness of the mental health and wellbeing of women.
All proceeds from the conference’s closing gala dinner on December 1 will go towards supporting this drive, which will run until October 2024 to coincide with the official state visit of Their Majesties the King and the Queen of Belgium to Vietnam.
Secondly, UNICEF Vietnam will join the conference to encourage companies to provide their employees with a programme designed to instil parents with the confidence and skills to support their children’s self-esteem, learning, and creative development.
Source: CCIPV / BeluxCham / Vietnam Investment Review (VIR)