Illegal wildlife trade is a major conservation problem in Vietnam. As a mitigating strategy, PanNature organized 19 field media investigation trips across 23 provinces in the country, as well as one trip across the Vietnam-Laos border, accompanied by more than 60 journalists. Journalists were able to observe tragedies with wildlife species firsthand. This effort generated more than 110 newspaper articles and stories, raising awareness of the issue among the public.
The programme will focus on achieving FSC certificates and other sustainable forest management certificates in the shortest time, regeneration and planting of about 20,000ha of forests and building a due diligence system for legal sources of rubberwood.
It also seeks to enhance corporate social responsibility (such as complying with regulations on community consultation for investment projects and strengthening relations with local communities) and strengthen responsibility for environmental protection and improve economic efficiency (through applying sustainable rubber production techniques, improving the efficiency of land use and economic efficiency of rubber trees via intercropping, integrated farming, and others).
Huynh Van Bao, general director of VRG, said: “Sustainable development is an indispensable choice that any business must undertake if it wants to survive and develop during the international integration period.
“Many Vietnamese enterprises have seen the meaning of sustainable development, and have been building business strategies towards this direction, including the VRG.”
The group’s consistent policy is to harmonise economic development with social security, building welfare works for employees to provide them with a better the living and working environment, he said.
“All the rubber cultivation areas of the group in Laos and Cambodia get legal certification according to the regulations of the host country.
“The group is committed to not trading forest products and violating national laws and international conventions in its operating areas.”
To ensure the Sustainable Development Programme and Operational Plan are implemented widely and effectively, VRG on Wednesday signed agreements with many organisations, including one for sustainable forest management and certification with the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry and others with Oxfam and PanNature.
Besides, consultancy contracts for forest certifications were also signed between the group’s member companies and the Silvicultural Research Institute and the Institute of Tropical Forestry Research and Development.
Tran Ngoc Thuan, VRG chairman, said: “As a large corporation and increasingly integrating deeply into the international economy, we are well aware of the importance and significance of sustainable development in improving our business standards, which will help us better integrate and penetrate the international market and win customers.
“I believe that the agreements signed today will contribute significantly to our stable and sustainable development in future.”
Speaking at the ceremony, Permanent Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Ha Cong Tuan, praised the group’s sustainable development programme with a focus on balancing its commercial and environmental tasks.
“We will direct the agencies and units under the ministry to co-operate and support the Viet Nam Rubber Group to effectively implement the sustainable development programme.”
VRG manages more than 413,000ha of rubber in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.