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Connecting People to Nature – Vietnam’s drive for Responsible Business Practices

More than ever before consumers are looking for brands which are committed to ethical and responsible practices. Consumers are willing to pay more for brands that not only support local communities but are also environmentally conscious.

Over the last 27 years Vietnam has enjoyed strong economic growth despite uncertainties in the global environment. The favourable conditions have put Vietnam and its businesses in an auspicious position in the global market place. This provides businesses with millions of potential new consumers and increase in revenue, but at the same time they are required to meet the challenges associated with global competition and international compliance standards.

Corporate Social Responsibility, also known as CSR, is a business management concept whereby companies integrate social and environmental concerns into their business operations. It is a key tool used by businesses to win new customers and increase customer retention, improve company image and reputation, and comply with national and international polices while managing risk. It gives businesses the current and relevant means to gain the support of the local community to drive their business.

Southeast Asia continues to be a hotspot for one of the major global environmental concerns, illegal wildlife trade. Vietnam – a source, transit and consumer country for illicit wildlife products – has suffered the drastic consequences of wildlife crime. Nationwide, more than 700 species are threatened with extinction and some of the nation’s most iconic animals – including the Javan rhino, which used to roam freely in Cat Tien National Park – have already been lost to poaching. Adding to this, Vietnam’s demand for illicit wildlife products such as rhino horn, tiger skins and the meat and scales of pangolins continues to be three of the main drivers of today’s global poaching crisis.

Vietnamese businesses and businessmen are in a unique position to act as leaders of change and influence Vietnamese communities to take a stance against illegal wildlife trafficking by incorporating wildlife protection, through a new or revised CSR strategy, into their business practices. 

To help businesses achieve their social responsibility, TRAFFIC has collaborated with multiple civil society organisations including the Vietnam Chamber for Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam E-commerce Association (VECOM) and the Vietnam Automobile Transportation Association (VATA) to implement a joint initiative aimed at supporting businesses by developing a CSR guide focused on wildlife protection. The innovative CSR guideline is a crucial tool used to promote behaviour change and leverage off the private sector’s leadership in the community to pledge for zero-tolerance for wildlife consumption and associated criminal activity.

As part of this initiative, TRAFFIC and its partners (e.g. VCCI, VECOM, VATA,) have reached out to thousands of Vietnamese politicians, members of the public, businesses and entrepreneurs. For example VCCI has coordinated over 250 training courses in 45 provinces and cities to share knowledge on how to include CSR in business practices. As a result, 11,000 Vietnamese businesses have now been equipped with the skills to utilise their social responsibility to fight and reduce the demand for the illegal consumption of wildlife products such as rhino horn in Vietnam. VATA is also working with logistics companies on avoiding the reputational risk of being involved in wildlife crime through transporting illicit wildlife products. This shuts down a channel for wildlife criminals to engage in their illegal activities. Similarly, through VECOM efforts, the ecommerce sector in Vietnam has also become more aware of their responsibility and of opportunities to shut down online channels for illegal traders to sell wildlife parts.

If you would like to learn what you and your business can do this World Environment Day to make a difference, contact Ms. Thu Dinh at TRAFFIC:


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