An increasing number of businesses worldwide – also in Southeast-Asia – are committing to zero-deforestation policies, promising that their activities shall not lead to the destruction of natural forests. Among the Vietnamese population, there is also a growing interest in companies and products that contribute towards protecting forests and other natural habits.
The forum Meet to Meet the SDGs “Why business should love the forest” has been organized by UNIDO, VCCI and Global Compact Network and the UN-REDD Programme, with support from Norway, on Wednesday, 29th March 2017 in Hanoi and on Thursday, 30th March in Ho Chi Minh City.
Meet to meet the SDGs has the potential to become the platform for UN engagement with the Vietnamese business community on various key concerns/opportunities and the UN-REDD Programme in Viet Nam is one of the first UN Partners to support the concept with focus and content, specifically related to SDGs and REDD+.
Attending the forum in Hanoi, the Norwegian Embassy noted, “when it comes to forests, CSR is more than traditional tree planting campaigns. It means looking carefully at your different business activities and trying to change practices that possibly can harm the natural environment, said Norway Ambassador Siren Gjerme Eriksen.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Nguyen Van Ha, Deputy General Director of the Viet Nam Administration of Forestry (VNFOREST) said, sustainable forest management is also an overall objective of the forest sector; in order to achieve this objective, the engagement and participation of the private sector is crucial to share responsibilities and collaborate for forest protection and livelihood development.
More expert quotes:
Ms. Nguyen Thi Thu Thuy, Head of Viet Nam REDD+ Office - Deputy Programme Director of the UN-REDD Programme: Our Programme does not only aim to protect forests and reduce emissions. We also want to improve the life of local communities, including children, women and men. Without businesses, improvement might be much slower – meanwhile, people and our environment would suffer. So the private sector with its network, influence and knowledge is significant to move forward with our efforts to manage our forests more sustainably.
Mr. Florian Beranek, UNIDO Lead Expert Societal Responsibility: The term "sustainability" which we use so often nowadays has its origin in forestry. In the 16th century after most European forests were cut down for shipbuilding and charcoal production the hard hitting effects nearly brought down a continent. The insight "don't cut more trees than trees are growing" got the name "sustainable forestry". So even today's SDGs have somehow their origin in the thinking of that critical time in history. So honoring and preserving the forest is the number 1 priority if we can really want to act responsibly for the generations to come.
Mr. Tim Christophersen, Chief of United Nations Environment Programme's (UN Environment) Terrestrial Ecosystems Unit: Saving forests in a world with a massively growing demand for food may sound like mission impossible. But actually it isn’t, the solution is clear. And it provides a multibillion-dollar business opportunity: we can produce sustainably by increasing productivity, eliminating food waste, and by restoring at least 350 million hectares of degraded land globally.
For more information on this event, please contact Theresa Schwarz, UN-REDD Viet Nam Communications Specialist at .