Sustainable development reports for listed firms

Wednesday, Jun 20, 2018 08:17

The HCM and Ha Noi stock exchanges and the Global Report Initiative (GRI) on Monday organised a joint seminar to discuss the compilation of sustainable development reports for Vietnamese listed companies.— VNA/VNS Photo Van Giap

 The HCM and Ha Noi stock exchanges and the Global Report Initiative (GRI) on Monday organised a joint seminar to discuss the compilation of sustainable development reports for Vietnamese listed companies.

According to the Global Report Initiative (GRI), sustainable development reports have become familiar to listed companies since the Circular 155/TT-BTC regulating listed firm’s information disclosure took effect on May 1, 2016.

However, few listed companies have delivered high-quality sustainable development reports and used the worldwide GRI standards to develop their reports, thus, the overall quality of reports among Vietnamese listed firms is fairly low at the moment, GRI reported.

Vietnamese companies are compiling their sustainable development reports in a way that is not regulated and they do not follow any standards, so their reports have failed to meet investors’ demand, GRI said.

If listed companies perform better in developing their sustainable development reports, they will obtain more information about economic-environmental-social impacts of their business and make right business decisions, GRI said.

Specialist Nguyen Cong Minh Bao from GRI Viet Nam said: “We are inviting listed companies to take part in the Competitive Trade Programme funded by the Swiss government to help them compile sustainable development reports and assure their business operation is not interrupted.”

Listed firms will be free to participate in training and get access GRI’s online report system so that they are able to understand how reports are conducted, he said.

The Vietnamese Government has recently issued the National Action Plan to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals regulated by the United Nations.

“Investors, especially international institutions, are looking for more non-financial information from businesses as evidence for sustainable and efficiency performance of the targeted companies,” said Pham Nguyen Vinh, corporate development director at Dragon Capital Group Limited.

According to Le Cong Dien, Director of the State Securities Commission (SSC)’s Public Enterprises Supervisory Department, Viet Nam has been encountering challenges and trade-offs between economic growth and environmental impacts such as climate changes, work safety and environmental pollution.

In that context, the Prime Minister in 2012 issued Decision 1393/QD-TTg regulating the national green growth strategy for the country’s sustainable economic development. For the financial sector, the Minister of Finance in 2015 issued Decision 2183/QD-BTC regulating the sector’s action plan on the national green growth to 2020.

Companies traded on the stock market have integrated environmental, social and corporate governance issues into their reports and strategies, which have helped them to identify the risks and develop corresponding provisional plans for those risks.

As the main market regulator, the State Securities Commission has continuously adjusted and improved the market’s legal framework so that the market operation is transparent, public and efficient to become a sustainable-developed market.

SSC has recently developed and issued Circular 155/TT-BTC instructing listed companies on information disclosure, in which listed firms have to include their environmental-social impacts and corporate governance. This has remained one of the most important legal documents to push local enterprises raise their awareness and practice of sustainable development.

Dien said that SSC in 2018 will ask its units to study and launch a set of standards on publication of sustainable development reports, including figures and data on social-environmental impacts and corporate governance.

SSC will also issue the Code of Corporate Governance to improve the legal framework on corporate management and help the Vietnamese equity market meet international standards, and help listed companies, stock exchanges and financial institutions carry out improve their corporate governance efforts, he said. — VNS

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