The People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature) on August 24 organized…
Vietnam has gradually become an influential investor in the Mekong sub-region in which Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar are among countries receiving the most investment. Agriculture – forestry – fishery is the strength of Vietnam and also one of the spearhead sectors of Vietnam investment wave abroad due to the geographical proximity, climate and labor qualification similarities with mentioned countries.
Despite some similarities, companies have to face many challenges from cultural, linguistic and legal differences, which leads to legal risks and conflicts with local communities. Meanwhile, human rights and environmental movements worldwide have been putting more pressure on investors, requiring them to do businesses in a more responsible and sustainable manner. For the first time, Vietnamese investors had to face international grievance mechanisms related to environmental – social issues, which became a precedent in Vietnam.
The situation has urged the task team of People and Nature Reconciliation (PanNature), Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), AND Oxfam VietNam to start an initiative on developing voluntary guidelines on environmental and social risks for Vietnamese investors. The Guideline was piloted in several companies and has created some initial achievements.
To publish and widely circulate these Guidelines among business sector, on Jan 10th, 2019, PanNture, VCCI and Oxfam Vietnam jointly organized a seminar on Vietnam Cross-border Investment: Risks and Challenges on Legal Compliance.
The seminar was attended by Laos and Cambodia Embassies to Vietnam’s diplomatic representatives, delegates from state agencies, businesses sector including Vietnam Rubber Group (VRG), Dak Lak Rubber Investment Joint Stock Company (DRI) and their subsidiaries, international and national organizations working on environmental protection, agriculture and human rights, as well as press agency members.
Also within the framework of this project, PanNature produced the short film “Business Sector & Civil Society Organizations – Cooperation for Sustainable Development”. The film recorded research and survey process within the past 3 years since 2015 in VRG, DRI and their subsidiaries which are investing in Laos and Cambodia. It also informs the project’s next steps.
The team hope to convey investors’ new perspective: “Sustainable development and responsible investment is inevitable for successful business”.
Film and documents are as follow:
Ms. Nguyen Hoang Phuong, Research and Policy Department, PanNature
Mr. Diep Xuan Truong,
Deputy Head of Industry Department – Secretary of Steering Committee for Sustainable Development, VRG
Mrs. Nguyen Thi Hai, DRI’s Deputy General Director