Consumer awareness is, among other factors, putting a pressure on businesses in Vietnam and elsewhere to strengthen their efforts to comply with international corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards to stay attractive from a consumer’s point of view, said Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Camilla Mellander.
“We should ensure that trade does not happen at the cost of the environment or of people’s rights. Businesses in Vietnam should be aware of the importance of CSR compliance, as committed by the Vietnamese government in the EVFTA
. Money isn’t blind anymore,” the ambassador said at a workshop on the EU
-Vietnam FTA (EVFTA) in Ho Chi Minh City
today [April 12].
She tipped said that Sweden is willing to work together with Vietnam to share its innovative experiences and best practices in the industrial relations field and in the light of the EVFTA.
CSR is still a relatively new concept and Vietnamese businesses are facing increasing challenges in executing CSR programs, the Swedish embassy said in a press release.
Besides opportunities to expand markets, new-generation FTAs such as EVFTA and TPP require Vietnamese businesses to comply with non-trade provisions on labor, environment, and CSR, said Vo Tan Thanh, vice chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).
When the EVFTA comes into force, expected in 2018, Vietnam’s GDP will likely grow by an additional 15% and its exports to the EU could increase by almost 35%.
Currently, Vietnam’s key export items to the EU include telephone sets, electronic products, footwear, textiles and clothing, coffee, rice, seafood, and furniture.
EU exports to Vietnam, meanwhile, are dominated by high-tech products including electrical machinery and equipment, aircraft, vehicles, and pharmaceutical products. Since 2013, Vietnam has been the EU’s fourth most important trading partner among the ten ASEAN member states.