CSR is not just small social responsibility activities, it should be associated with business activities as well as brand philosophy. A proper CSR strategy has contributed significantly to the process of sustainable development (Sustainable Growth) of businesses as well as the community and society.
“Re-think CSR” is a forum co-organized by Brands Vietnam and Rice & Partners, interviewing experts from various industries and business sizes, sharing views, strategies and practices. and actual results from CSR activities of the participating businesses. Since then, providing diverse ideas and approaches to a seemingly familiar problem has not yet been deeply analyzed in the Vietnamese market.
In the first issue, Brands Vietnam had a meeting with Mr. Khuat Quang Hung, currently the Director of Foreign Affairs and Communications at Nestlé Vietnam, with nearly 20 years of experience in the field of communication and external relations, including many years working at large institutions.
* First, can you share your experiences and opinions about CSR activities in Vietnam?
Thanks to Brands Vietnam and Rice & Partners for allowing me to share an interesting topic like CSR. In fact, the concept of CSR has been around for a long time, but it was not until the 1960s that this topic began to be more and more interested by the public and stakeholders. There are many definitions of CSR, however, the definitions gradually change over time and context, especially in the process of globalization, leading to many different interpretations and approaches. with respect to CSR activities.
In my opinion, CSR is an important factor in the sustainable development of the business and affects business results. Therefore, CSR activities should be closely linked with growth strategies, branding strategies and business activities every day. Depending on the size and context of the context, each business, company, group has a different approach.
Enterprises should consider CSR as a long-term investment for sustainable development and future success, not the cost that we have to spend.
For large businesses and corporations around the world, they see CSR as part of the sustainable development process, putting CSR in the vision, mission, growth strategy, as well as the commitments attached to it. business activities, production, marketing … However, small, medium or even micro companies have not paid much attention to this topic or have encountered difficulties and limitations when implementing these activities. CSR action. Small-scale companies’ approach to CSR will be charitable activities, such as donations, sponsorship to people in difficult circumstances, disaster-hit areas, and activities. charity. This approach is also part of CSR activities but not comprehensive.
One thing I want to emphasize when talking about CSR is that businesses should see this as a long-term investment for sustainable development and future success, not the cost we have to spend. . The thought that “businesses must be profitable to start contributing to society” is an old way of thinking, because right from the time of business, they can set their own mission to develop in parallel with the benefits. benefits of consumers, society and the community.
* So can you share Nestlé Vietnam’s vision of CSR activities as well as CSR strategy of the Group?
Before sharing Nestlé Vietnam’s views on CSR, I would like to share a little about the group’s mission and vision. From there, readers will easily understand and visualize the views and CSR model that Nestlé Vietnam is implementing. Nestlé’s mission is to improve the quality of life and contribute to a better future. This will be the basis for all CSR related activities.
What I like most about Nestlé when it comes to CSR is that we have a different perspective and approach on this issue, namely the “Creating Shared Values (CSV)” program (creating shared values). For ease of visualization, CSV is the highest level in Nestlé’s CSR strategy. Our CSR strategy consists of 3 levels. The first floor is Compliance – compliance. Obviously, every business will conduct business activities under the conditions of compliance with laws and regulations related to business and business ethics such as the environment, ensuring human life. The second floor is activities for sustainable development – Sustainability. At this level we focus on preserving the environment for future generations. And the last layer is CSV, focusing on activities that create value and common benefits for the community and the corporation for both of them to develop.
To be more specific, CSV is Nestlé’s long-term development program to realize its mission, vision and commitment. In particular, we focus our impact on three main subjects: (1) individuals – households, (2) communities and (3) planets. Nestlé has been and will be carrying out activities related to nutrition, rural life development, and environmental protection targeting the above three subjects.
The CSV program as well as other CSR activities of the group are built on the view that in order to be successful in the long term, businesses do not just focus on the immediate values or conduct business activities. but also create values, common interests for the community, society and the environment.
* From this point of view, what activities does Nestlé have to implement its vision and mission?
In 2017, we announced a “Commitment to 2020”, setting specific goals for the three main groups of people in the CSV program.
For individuals and households, Nestlé’s goal is to help 50 million children have a healthier life by 2030. To accomplish this goal, we have organized activities focusing on three key areas: bringing healthier, healthier choices for individuals and families; encourage people to lead healthier lives and build, share and apply nutrition knowledge.
With a community-based group, we aim to help improve the lives of 30 million people in communities directly connected to Nestlé’s business activities by 2030. To realize its goals, Nestlé offers programs focusing on the following three areas: improving rural life, respecting and promoting human rights, promoting decent and diverse employment.
With the last group of objects – the planet, we ambition to strive to minimize the impact on the environment by 2030. The main areas that need to be done to accomplish the goal include: attention to water resources, action for climate change, environmental protection.
So far, the program that Nestlé feels most interested in is the Nescafé Plan. The reason why Nescafe Plan became a highlight is because this program impacts on two objects: community and planet. In addition to providing knowledge to farmers, developing livelihoods, helping Vietnam’s coffee beans have a foothold and becoming a reference point for Robusta in the world, we also have activities to save water and fertilizer. fertilizing and combating climate change.
This is a global program and is implemented in 11 countries including Vietnam. This project aims to build linkages between farmers and markets. Thereby helping them increase productivity, improve quality and value for coffee beans. Specific activities included in the program include: Training in knowledge of effective coffee cultivation, helping to increase productivity and value of coffee beans; activities that contribute to environmental protection in the coffee production and planting process; activities to increase feminism for all women farmers.
* So far, what specific outcomes have Nescafé Plan brought to the people involved in the program, the community and the environment?
In about 9 years of implementation, we have received some very positive results.
The first is to provide training courses to help farmers achieve 4C certification, also known as sustainable coffee farming certification. More than 20,000 farmers have received certificates of sustainable coffee cultivation.
As a result, more than 200,000 farmers have participated in all training courses to improve their knowledge on how to grow coffee sustainably and directly benefit from the project.
In addition to the Nescafé plan, we have provided 28 million high-quality coffee seedlings so far not only to help farmers enjoy bumper harvests and increase yields, but also to improve the quality of coffee. At that time, it was also an activity that helped the Vietnamese government, namely the Ministry of Agriculture, to replant sustainable coffee trees.
Next is the issue of increasing feminism. Within the Nescafé Plan, we have assisted female farmers to participate more actively in all training courses. To date, more than 30% of the farmers participating in the Nescafé Plan are women and they hold a very important position, such as a farmer leader or a leader in many field activities. .
In addition, we are also delighted that the project has a positive impact on the environment. The cultivation habit of most Vietnamese coffee farmers is to use a lot of water. Now, with the knowledge and skills provided through the training courses, the farmers have saved up to 40% of the irrigation water for coffee. Besides, they also reduced the amount of fertilizer and pesticide used for coffee by 20%.
With the knowledge and skills equipped, farmers save up to 40% of the irrigation water for coffee, reducing 20% of fertilizer and pesticides.
Another important issue is the livelihood, sustainable coffee farming activities not only help farmers to produce better coffee beans, yield more, and help stabilize their income by 30%. It also contributes to increase the income of the corporation.
Another thing that makes Nestlé proud of this program is that with the success of Nescafé, we have shared best practices with government agencies and research institutes and other countries. that we have similar activities. We have a team of 9 experts working in 5 provinces in the Central Highlands to help people. We are proud that it is Nestlé Vietnam’s agricultural staff who have been sent to train Nestlé’s agricultural experts in other markets.
Besides, these results are not only recognized by the state management agencies, the results are also shared at major forums such as the World Economic Forum in Davos – a forum specializing in coffee and Agriculture . It is one of the activities in the Nescafé Plan project.
* With a meaningful program and bringing positive effects like Nescafé Plan, how does Nestlé have media activities so that consumers and stakeholders can get accurate information about the program?
That is the motto based on the respect of values: respect for coffee growers, respect for the community, respect for the environment, bringing positive effects to society.
We always want to bring that result to more people, more involved. Since 2018, Nestlé Group has also launched the campaign “Grown Respectfully”, in Vietnamese called “Connecting with farmers”. The purpose of the “Grown Respectfully” campaign is to convey messages related to the positive effects of the Nescafé Plan to everyone, including consumers, partners and investors. We believe that investors as well as stakeholders, especially consumers, after understanding the story behind Nestlé’s Nescafé coffee beans, will love and not only engage with trade. brand of products but also more associated with the brand of the whole group.
Information of the program is transmitted through many channels, such as product packaging, websites, social networks, through digital channels to give people a better understanding of how Nescafé is operating. That is the motto based on the respect of values: respect for coffee growers, respect for the community, respect for the environment, bringing positive effects to society. With all that in mind, we hope that consumers better understand what Nestlé is doing, and through that, inspire all consumers the story of coffee beans created as how.
* Thank you Sir.
Source: Brands Vietnam