Practicing Corporate Social Responsibility: Brand develops, profit rises

On October 26th, 2017, the workshop: “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) and Building Vietnam fisheries Brand” was organized by Oxfam and ICAFIS in the framework of the Aquaculture Vietnam Expo 2017 in Cần Thơ. A number of opinions were expressed to grasp the importance of practicing corporates’ social responsibility. In fact, understanding this will help corperates build their brands and increase profit.

Challenging when practicing CSR

In fact, in many cases, the trust of consumers and community can be built through CSR and in business history, many corporates have avoided the risk of bankruptcy thanks to the sharing of the consumer’s community. Reality has shown that fulfilling social responsibilities will not disadvantage corporates but rather bring them considerable benefits such as reducing expenses, increasing income, raising brand value, decreasing staff turnover, boosting productivity and developing more approaches to new markets. It has also been shown by reality that social responsibility has become one of the requirements for Vietnamese corporates in the process of global economic integration. If any corporates should not assume the social responsibility, it will be hard for them to approach the international market.

Speaking at the Workshop, Vương Ngọc Lý, representative of Vietnam Fish-One Co., Ltd., said: Vietnam Fish-One has assumed their social responsibility for 10 years and seen some substantial benefits. In term of market, since the company has fulfilled their social responsibility, many customers have reached out to them to visit their facility and place orders. The prices of seafood have also gone up. The company’s brand and prestige have enjoyed an enhancement.

In order to achieve high efficiency in practicing social responsibility, Fresh Studio’s expert, Alban Caratis advised: “It’s necessary to always exchange and share information, apply international standards in labor safety and hygiene and have communication strategies, build information sites for the corporates; being expresses in English is an advantage to introduce corporates’ information to foreign markets.”

According to Alban Caratis: “Vietnamese corporates will face challenges when adopting towards CSR certification systems as there are way too many sets of standards set out for different markets. In this context, we have to be transparent in business production and build an information portal so that buyers can learn about our corporates. Social responsibility should be taken proactively with a strong sense of responsibility towards the community rather than just to meet the standards.

Master degree, Phạm Minh Luân, chairman of KNA Certification Co., Ltd., said: “If the corporates are viewed as fresh and the chain linkage solution is difficult to implement, we should go step by step, in the linkage chain, everyone can find solutions for credits, technique, input and output, etc”.

Typical corporate

Let’s have a look at the role of the leading corporates. A typical example is Minh Phu Corporate, one of the world’s 50 biggest seafood processers and also the biggest shrimp exporter in international market.

The results of Minh Phu’s sustainable mangrove-based shrimp farming program have illustrated their well-conducted and responsible practice. Minh Phu have taken part in a project aimed to Preserve mangrove forest through sustainable shrimp farming and emission reducing, operating on an area of 12,500 ha of Nhung Mien protective forest management board, Cà Mau. It is the living and farming area of approximately 2,600 shrimp farmers. So far, the 80 ha mangrove forest, which was destroyed for shrimp farming in the past decades, has been replanted. Minh Phu has over 900 ha of their own shrimp farms, over 12,000 ha of contracted organic shrimp farms and over 100,000 ha of contracted local farming households in the shrimp supply chain, ensuring an adequate and high quality supply of raw shrimp material for its factories.

This fact proves that appropriate economic development encouraging policies can turn shrimp farming activities from posing the risk of deforestation and forest degradation to generating the motivation in forest restoration and protection.

As the world leading shrimp exporter, Minh Phu determines that focusing on ecological shrimp products will bring considerable advantage to the Corporate in particular and Vietnam shrimp industry in general. Products of ecological origin meet a high standard in quality and food safety and hygiene. In order to produce ecological shrimps, Minh Phu has closely cooperated with farmers and introduced specific support policies, which helps encourage farmers to keep culturing shrimp and protecting forest.

Moreover, Minh Phu also aims to “Establish Social Corporates” with the social and environmental objectives that will create an unique value for Ca Mau’s ecological shrimp products, help connect farmers to processers to form a sustainable value chain, help the Corporate build a high yield ecological shrimp farming model to meet the customers’ requirement and, at the same time, help Vietnam ecological shrimp farming industry formulate a sustainable development strategy.

As the biggest shrimp exporter, Minh Phu has always “taken the lead” in pricing shrimps, helping Vietnam shrimp hold its price. When the shrimp supply is abundant and the shrimp export market shows signs of slowing down, Minh Phu will proactively put itself in the unfavorable position, buying shrimp at good prices, which helps balance the supply and demand and avoids causing great economic damage to farmers.

One notable aspect is the individual role of corporates’ leaders in fulfilling social responsibility. These leaders must be provident and foresighted to pursuit comprehensive operation not just surpluses and plain economic profit. These entrepreneurs need to find solutions to change the society for the better and in return, their corporates will get the conditions to develop more sustainably. Being the leader of Minh Phu, Lê Văn Quang – Chairman of the Board and General Director, meets all of the above criteria. Quang used to be a seafood purchaser for a State-owned enterprise. During a quarter of the century, it was the knowledge of the industry and the desire to make an innovative development that have helped him build up the Minh Phu empire today. He also introduced the 2 models: “Social enterprises for the responsible forest shrimp value chain” and “Social enterprises for the responsible rice shrimp value chain”. Thanks to his vision, Minh Phu Seafood Corporation is gradually realizing its desire to create a complete ecosystem for Vietnam shrimp industry.

It can be said that leading corperates such Minh Phu are serving a crucial role and contributing to generating the growth motivation for the fishery industry. If you look at the way this corporate, crowned as the “King of shrimp”, is fulfilling its CSR, we will partly see why Minh Phu’s brand has been enhancing and its profit is developing sustainably.

>>“We should note that the world does not put much trust in the practicing social responsibility by Vietnam corporates. However, after having surveyed 16 Vietnam corporates we were amazed and delighted to learn they had fulfilled their social responsibility beyond expectation. And thus, we can fully trust the capability of fulfilling social responsibility by Vietnam corporates.” Alban Caratis, Fresh Studio’s expert


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