These are the statements of experts from non-governmental organizations (NGOs), international organizations, and the United Nations when discussing current practices of Corporate Social-Environmental Responsibility (CSER) in Vietnam. This topic has received huge attention from enterprises and society when CSER is always the leading factor in evaluating a sustainable development organization.
Building strong relationships between the stakeholders
A great advantage of current environmental protection campaigns in Vietnam is community activities – especially, the community activities at the grassroots level are very strong and effective. The combination of units, NGOs, and local social and political organizations has profoundly created significant changes. Accompanying the community is the strong participation of businesses in implementing CSER, especially in environmental protection.
However, environmental protection campaigns in Vietnam currently face a big problem as most of the campaigns lack specific concrete cohesion. In addition, for the results of these campaigns to truly come to life with lasting impact, it is important to ensure that there are strong laws, policies, and enforcement mechanisms to support them at the local level. This is the government's "problem" when working with CSOs and businesses. Tripartite relationship that include the government, NGOs, and enterprises needs to be assessed with higher priority to create the power for projects to be spread widely.
Talking about this relationship, Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Deputy Director of the Green Development Assistance Center (Greenhub), said: “The close cooperation between businesses and NGOs is extremely important, because many enterprises have resources and a desire to bring green value to the communities where they have business activities. Development organizations or NGOs can help businesses achieve that desire with their expertise on the environment, waste management, and innovative and sustainable ways of solving environmental problems. The strong cohesion between the stakeholders with a common mission of solving social and environmental issues presents a strong cooperation towards the goal of sustainable development.”
Nguyen Thi Thu Trang, Deputy Director of Green Development Support Center (Greenhub), shared that Greenhub always values the tripartite relationship for CSER initiatives.
The approach to businesses’ CSER and promoting cooperation with NGOs will help strengthen the whole community, contributing to the voice of the community to government organizations, and working with the government to achieve the goals. This is a good practice and will bring about practical results.
A solid foundation for environmental initiatives
Building a solid foundation, from which CSER projects have also completed the "responsibility" to help the community better understand the meaning of environmental protection.
The "World Without Waste" project, which is carried out by the British Council in collaboration with Coca-Cola Vietnam for the past several years, is a widespread case. With the capacity of education, the British Council has cooperated with local authorities and businesses to aim to equip teachers with coordination skills, knowledge of waste management, and a positive citizenship spirit of creating positive changes in the environment through an innovative training method conducted by the British Council's coordinating team. The project was piloted at three high schools in Thua Thien Hue province in 2018. This was replicated in 2019 in Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City with 9 high schools.
“I look forward to more and more active participation of businesses in the mission of environmental protection, to collaborate with development organizations, school,s and communities to create many positive social impacts to our environment,” said Tran Thi Hong Gam, Deputy Director of Education and Social Programs, British Council in Vietnam.
Students create useful items by recycling plastic bottles through British Council's innovative projects
Another case is the UNESCO "Fostering creativity for recycling awareness" initiative implemented in Vietnam's heritage areas (the Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An biosphere reserve). As an organization of world-famous heritage and landmarks, UNESCO also wants to raise its voice in calling for environmental protection by working with local businesses to realize the initiative. The project has selected creative designs using plastic and aluminum waste materials of artists and installed at Hoi An World Cultural Heritage Site and Cu Lao Cham-Hoi An World Biosphere Reserve. “In the coming time, UNESCO will continue to coordinate with Coca-Cola Vietnam to carry out environmental programs, initiatives, projects in natural heritage areas, cultural heritages and other biosphere reserves recognized by UNESCO”, said the representative of UNESCO Vietnam.
UNESCO always want to accompany enterprises to develop and implement environmental projects at the world heritage sites. In the photo: a UNESCO representative (left) signed a cooperation with Coca-Cola Vietnam
The success of a CSER campaign is assessed on many factors, but in all, the way that environmental initiatives are spread and widely implemented in the community is thanks to the contribution of many stakeholders, in order for the initiatives to truly exist and bring about sustainable values, creating green values for the community.