Ho Chi Minh City, October 25, 2023 – National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (NATEC) collaborated with the Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) – United Way Vietnam, the TECHFEST 2023 Open Social Innovation Village, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the Open Innovation and Technopreneurs Institute (OITI) to organize the workshop “Innovation Aligned with ESG: Sustainable Business Practices”. The seminar received financial support from Shinhan Square Bridge Vietnam and is part of the Open Innovation Day 2023. The event promotes global and Vietnam-wide ESG exchange, sharing best practices of businesses within the open innovation ecosystem towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, creating social impact for the community.
ESG, or Environmental, Social, and Governance, is becoming an indispensable factor in the business models of companies. This not only affects how businesses are managed but also how they interact with society and the environment. Based on ESG principles, businesses need to ensure that their operations are carried out sustainably, treating employees and communities fairly, while also protecting the environment. ESG is not just about business ethics but is related to long-term survival and growth. Investors, both individuals and organizations, are increasingly focusing on ESG when assessing investment opportunities and risk management.
Therefore, the workshop “Innovation Aligned with ESG: Sustainable Business Practices,” which opens the Open Innovation Day 2023, is organized to discuss and promote collaboration among stakeholders on testing, orientation, and solutions to build an integrated management model with ESG factors. Additionally, the workshop aims to provide guidance and address questions regarding the opportunities and challenges of implementing ESG for businesses. Through ESG discussions, many practical and specific activities are expected to encourage the development of sustainable business trends.
The seminar was attended by Mr. Pham Hong Quat – General Director of NATEC, Ministry of Science and Technology; Mr. Sun Sukkun – Project Owner, Shinhan Square Bridge, Shinhan Financial Group Hope Foundation; Mr. Sung Sup Ra – Deputy Director General and Deputy Group Chief, ADB Office of the Director General and Group Chief, Sectors Group; Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh – Executive Director of MSD United Way Vietnam, Head of Social Open Innovation Village; Ms. Nguyen Cam Phuong – CEO of Saigon Telecommunication Technology Corporation; Mr. Nguyen Hoang Nam – Environmental, Social & Governance (ESG) Leader and Partner, Assurance Services, PwC Vietnam; and more than 300 delegates, including ESG experts and representatives of various enterprises.
In his opening speech, Mr. Pham Hong Quat – Director of NATEC, outlined the promotion of open innovation and sustainable business in Vietnam. He shared the government’s orientation for developing a sustainable business model and emphasized the role of startups and young people in Vietnam’s economy within the strategic direction of developing a national innovation entrepreneurship ecosystem. Particularly, to leverage the economic potential and contribute to sustainable development, technology in food, smart agriculture, environmental protection, AI applications, and more plays a vital role. He stressed that this event provides an opportunity to discuss and share insights on the opportunities and challenges in green and digital transformations for all stakeholders, especially young entrepreneurs. Mr. Pham Hong Quat urged: “I hope that local leaders, incubators, and training institutions will connect and make the most of the wealth of expertise that carries valuable knowledge and advice for Vietnam.”
Mr. Pham Hong Quat, General Director of the National Agency for Technology Entrepreneurship and Commercialization Development (NATEC), Ministry of Science and Technology, delivered the opening speech
In the global conversation, ESG principles are gaining prominence, emphasizing the importance of practicing responsible and sustainable business in the long term. The Vietnamese market is witnessing increased awareness of ESG and the potential to drive positive and sustainable changes in various fields. In his welcoming overview speech, Mr. Sung Sup Ra, Deputy Director General and Deputy Group Chief, Sectors Group, Asian Development Bank (ADB), shared his insights on the challenges facing the innovation ecosystem in Vietnam and proposed key approaches to successfully promote innovation. These approaches include comprehensive cooperation between the government, businesses, social organizations, research institutes, and educational institutions.
In Vietnam, Shinhan Square Bridge Vietnam is one of the pioneering experimental models that leverage innovative technology solutions provided by cross-border startup companies to help citizens connect with existing resources and new opportunities for future success. At the same time, the project also supports startups to scale and achieve sustainable development. Mr. Sun Sukkun, Project Owner of Shinhan Square Bridge, Shinhan Financial Group, shared the efforts of the Shinhan Financial Group in addressing social issues and supporting startups to participate in the open innovation model. RE:harvest is a prime example of a successful business within the Living Lab framework of the Shinhan Square Bridge project in Vietnam.
Ms. Nguyen Phuong Linh, the Executive Director of Management and Sustainable Development Institute (MSD) – United Way Vietnam and the Head of the Social Open Innovation Village at Techfest, shared that ESG has now become a trend and a long-term solution for sustainable business development. She emphasized that ESG involves at least two aspects: Social and Environmental, which are broad concepts beyond a company’s control and efforts. Therefore, establishing diverse partnerships to collaboratively address and promote ESG is crucial. In addition to traditional relationships, Ms. Linh suggested that businesses should cooperate with various partners, including NGOs, educational institutions, and community groups, to ensure that ESG is implemented substantially and effectively. The open innovation approach is a solution that opens doors for businesses, allowing them not only to solve their issues but also to harness innovation, ideas, and limitless resources from stakeholders, investors, startups, educational institutions, social organizations, international organizations, alongside government policy support. Ms. Linh emphasized, “Don’t think of ESG as just a beautiful term or a slogan, or as an effort to make your reports look good to investors and customers. If taken seriously, ESG is a solution that integrates into a company’s sustainable business strategy. Don’t wait to become a large corporation to invest in ESG; invest in ESG to become significant.”
The event consists of two panel discussions focusing on the direction of open innovation between government agencies and businesses, and multilateral cooperation in implementing ESG within the Open Innovation ecosystem, featuring leading speakers from both national and international backgrounds.
The seminar concludes with the message that unity and multidisciplinary cooperation, along with the spirit of open social innovation following ESG principles, are fundamental prerequisites for sustainable business and addressing social challenges for sustainable development. Let’s continue to accompany the Open Innovation Day 2023 on October 25-26, 2023, to explore specific aspects within the Open Innovation ecosystem and understand the mutual contributions and impacts of all stakeholders, aiming for a sustainable and developing economy in Vietnam.