Corporate Social Responsibility

New project promotes socially responsible labour practices in Viet Nam

The project funded by the European Union will focus on seafood and furniture industries, two key export sectors of the country.

News | 29 January 2019
HCM CITY (ILO News) – A new project has been launched to promote socially responsible practices and sustainable global supply chains in Viet Nam as the country is deepening its integration through free trade deals with labour requirements.

On 15 January, ILO and the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) kicked off the 3-year Responsible Supply Chains in Asia project (RSCA) funded by the European Union (EU) under the Partnership Instrument. Jointly implemented by the ILO and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the project is present in six Asian countries – China, Japan, Myanmar, Philippines, Thailand, and Viet Nam.

This is the first time that the EU, the ILO and the OECD have joined forces to promote socially responsible practices and sustainable global supply chains on a large scale.

The project will focus on increasing awareness and strengthening the capacity of businesses and the Government on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and responsible business conduct (RBC). In Viet Nam, it focuses on the seafood and furniture industries, encouraging businesses to implement policies and practices to improve working conditions and promote decent work at international and domestic enterprises in the country.

The project takes policy guidance from the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises (MNE) and Social Policy, the 1998 ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, as well as from the OECD MNE Guidelines.

This project comes timely, said ILO Viet Nam Director Chang-Hee Lee, as labour standards have been an integral part of the new generation of free trade agreements, including the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership (CPTPP) and the EU-Viet Nam FTA (EVFTA).

Seafood processing and furniture industry are two key export sectors of Viet Nam. “These industries are expected to hugely benefit from market expanding when Viet Nam joins CPTPP and EVFTA,” said VCCI Vice President and Director of VCCI HCM City, Vo Tan Thanh.

According to the Ministry of Planning and Investment, CPTPP will increase Viet Nam’s GDP by US$1.7 billion, or 1.32 per cent, and up export value by 4.04 per cent by 2035. But to be able to enjoy the preferences, Thanh said, the country needs to comply with non-trade commitments, including labour requirements.

The head of VCCI HCM City’s Employer Activities Bureau, Bui Thi Ninh, emphasized that “doing good is good for businesses” and that CSR practices benefit both companies and the society in general.

As part of the new project, on 17 January, the ILO together with the EUROCHARM hosted the event “CSR – Joint Effort, Joint Development”, a fact-finding workshop on socially responsible business practices.

At the event, participants discussed good practices in labour standards, how enterprises could work jointly with Government institutions to provide inputs for policymaking, and innovation in the implementation of socially responsible business practices.

The interactions of the participants confirmed the interest and the need to ensure responsible management of supply chains from the perspective of decent work, and therefore the necessity of more spaces to trigger the dialogue between government, businesses, associations, trade unions, civil society and the international community.

This event is expected to be the first of a series in which the ILO will work closely with the VCCI, EUROCHAM and other key actors in promoting socially responsible business practices in Viet Nam.