Navigating Sustainability: Vietnam’s Environmental Leadership and Collaborative Initiatives


Driving Sustainability: Environmental Initiatives

At the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26), Vietnam underscored its dedication to addressing critical environmental concerns, unveiling substantial objectives. These encompass achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, ending deforestation by 2030, and phasing out coal-fired power by 2040. This vision is seamlessly intertwined with National Green Growth Strategy 2021-2030 and complemented by Prime Minister’s Decision 167, which encourages sustainable practices and the adoption of eco-technologies.

Collaboration & Momentum: Sustainable Development

Investor networks are increasingly focusing on environmental issues such as climate change, plastic waste, and governance, integrating these concerns into high-level structures. In Vietnam, business-led coalitions promote sustainable development, strong governance, and eco-friendly solutions. This commitment is mirrored by organizations like the Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD). Supported by the International Finance Corporation and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, VIOD strives to improve corporate governance in Vietnam. Their efforts enhance board professionalism, ethics, transparency, and stakeholder engagement, boosting investor confidence. Similarly, the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam, formed by notable local and foreign companies, emphasizes reducing plastic waste through a domestic circular packaging economy, despite market challenges.

Furthermore, Vietnam actively collaborates with international organizations to advance sustainable development. A prime example is the One Strategic Framework for Sustainable Development Cooperation, a partnership with the United Nations for the period 2022-2026. Some of the targets intertwined with Vietnam’s Green Growth Strategy 2021-2030, outlining shared efforts to promote sustainable development in Vietnam.

Regional Synergy: Vietnam’s Budding Leadership

In the realms of climate change performance, environmental health, and ecosystem vitality, Vietnam’s performance has been less than stellar, as it held the 178th position in the 2022 Environmental Performance Index (EPI), reflecting a concerning 0.6 index score decline over the past decade. Critically, despite the challenges posed by previous setback in environmental achievements, Vietnam’s commitment to change is evident through its latest initiatives. Endeavors such as National Green Growth Strategy 2021-2030 signal a growing momentum towards positive transformation. Vietnam is poised to turn the tide, demonstrating its determination to enhance its environmental performance and create ample opportunities to achieve a brighter, more sustainable future for both its citizens and the global community.

Source: Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy

Vietnam’s commitment to sustainable development is underscored by its consistent progress in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) index over the last five years, demonstrating a noteworthy two-point increase. Globally, Vietnam now stands at the 55th position, with particularly progress in the SDG related to quality education. While it may not claim the top spot on a global scale, Vietnam has secured its position as a distinguished leader within the region, boasting an impressive 2022 score of 73.3, well above the regional average of 67.2.

Source: Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Ultimately, Vietnam’s dedication to driving sustainability and environmental initiatives, as exemplified by its ambitious goals and collaborative efforts, signifies a commitment to addressing pressing environmental concerns. Despite challenges past and present, Vietnam’s recent initiatives are indicative of a promising transformation towards a more sustainable and eco-conscious future, made possible by and facilitating a wealth of opportunities for public-private sector collaboration.

Authored by

Nhi Nguyen is a Research Analyst based in Vietnam.

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