Ha Noi, 28 September 2021 – Fifteen business associations have signed the Viet Nam Business Integrity Pledge to express commitment on corporate compliance and business integrity and transparency.
This was told at an online Business Forum in Ha Noi today by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the UN Development Programme (UNDP), and the British Embassy in Ha Noi.
The Forum – “Culture of Business Integrity: Pathway to Sustainability and Success” – brought together nearly 130 representatives from businesses, government agencies, international organizations, experts, academia and press agencies.
Women play an increasingly important role in business, with female-owned enterprises occupying nearly 30% of the total enterprises and 32% managers of enterprises being women. The 15th member of the Business Integrity Pledge is the Viet Nam Association for Women Entrepreneurs.
“I believe an effective business environment, rooted in transparent corporate governance, is a crucial factor to foster bilateral investments and long-term trade partnership between the UK and Viet Nam. The UK sets a high value in merging the ethics and integrity principles into corporate governance since it has long been more than a matter of business’s branding. It forms a wider and more sustainable value not only in financial return but also in minimising negative impacts on the society.” Mr. Marcus Winsley, Deputy Head of Mission, British Embassy in Viet Nam said in his opening speech.
On this occasion, the Advisory Group of Viet Nam Business Integrity Network – VBIN – made it first apperance. The VBIN is the first collective action initiative led by business to promote a culture of business integrity and anti-corruption compliance. The mission of the VBIN is to mobilize collective efforts of the business community to comply with rules and regulations related to business integrity and to adopt good business integrity practices, thereby improve corporate governance, ensuring competitiveness and sustainability of Vietnamese businesses. Fifteen Government agencies and businesses, and 5 experts have joined the VBIN Advisory Group.
“Though significant improvements recorded, nearly half of businesses surveyed in the Viet Nam Provincial Competitiveness Index 2020 reported paying informal charges,” UNDP Deputy Resident Representative in Viet Nam Patrick Haverman noted. “Further progress in embedding transparency, integrity, accountability, and anti-corruption into Vietnamese companies’ operations will be critical in the socio-economic covid recovery”.
Mr. Haverman highlighted important aspects for successful economic rebound, namely Business integrity being a key enabler in doing business in Viet Nam; Companies committed to integrity, transparency, and investing in responsible and sustainable practices being more resilient to crises such as the Covid-19 pandemic and poised to long-term success; and Collective action required to help build a busines integrity culture.
The achievements and good practices shared at the Forum are the results of three years’ partnership between VCCI, UNDP and the UK Government under the UNDP’s Regional Project “Promoting A Fair Business Environment in ASEAN” – Fair Biz – funded by the UK Government under ASEAN Economic Reform Programme. More than 800 firms and business associations have improved their knowledge and skills to apply internal control and codes of conduct in their businesses. Four companies have received in-house technical assistance for devleloping and strenthening code of conduct or internal controls.
“COVID-19 is a test for business integrity.,” Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, VCCI Secretary General, emphasized. “There is something companies can do to protect themselves by putting an integrity agenda at the heart of their response to the challenges. Businesses are also recommended to actively join a business led initiative like Vietnam Business Integrity Network which will allow companies to help each other and collectively work together to enhance good corporate governance towards long term sustainibility” .
The Forum is one of the key activities of the Government and Business Integrity Initiative (GBII) implemented by VCCI and UNDP in Viet Nam under Fair Biz. This project aims to support enhancing business integrity and transparency, strengthening laws and policy in anti-corruption, and effective dispute resolution mechanism in Viet Nam.