In the context of the current outbreak the world has entered a climate which is uncertain for enterprises, with many firms putting every effort into maintaining their business activities whilst also standing side by side with communities in response to the COVID-19 epidemic as part of their social responsibilities.
As a result, several major firms have donated tens of billions of VND, while smaller ones have also chipped in where they can to provide the best possible support for people in need as a way of ensuring stability in the life of ordinary citizens.
Joining forces against the epidemic
The recent COVID-19 epidemic has caused many of Vietnamese businesses to be put into a challenging situation.
As a means of joining forces with the government and members of society in an effort to fight the epidemic, the Vietnam Young Entrepreneurs Association has called on entrepreneurs to donate money in order to produce 10,000 sets of virus detection kits which can be used by members of the public.
Other notable contributions include a dairy group donating 1 million glasses of fresh milk in support of patients who have been placed into intensive isolation, medical workers, doctors, and other members of staff.
In addition, a media corporation has offered free advertisement slots for epidemic-hit companies via their LED and LCD display systems which have been installed in elevators of commercial centres, apartments, and supermarkets nationwide.
Moreover, many businesses are ready to ensure the supply of products to the domestic market remains intact to help cope with the impact of the disease.
According to novel corona, President of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), a sustainable development enterprise is based on three key pillars: their economic efficiency, their social harmony, and their positive impact on the environment. In the current climate the supporting activities of businesses within the community are more vital than ever as a means of helping people to quickly overcome epidemic "storms" and quickly have the ability to stabilise their lives.
To Hoai Nam, Vice President and General Secretary of the Vietnam Association of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), said the first social responsibility of enterprises is to ensure workers continue to receive a salary and are kept in employment, thereby ensuring social welfare remains stable. This is particularly true with regards to the current situation surrounding the COVID-19, meaning that firms’ responsibility for workers is of the utmost importance, Nam stressed.
Along with corporations and major businesses, all SMEs also have an interest in this issue due to SMEs regarding workers as intangible assets rather than simply being just employees, he added.
However despite the willingness of many firms to be socially responsible, businesses also need support policies implemented by the state and other competent agencies in order for them to overcome difficulties and carry out their plans. For example, new policies should focus on extending and reducing taxes that enterprises must pay, lowering interest rates, freezing debts, aiding firms in accessing capital at a better limit, whilst also increasing public spending as a means of stimulating demand.
These are some of the measures that enterprises require as these steps will be able to help them maintain production whilst allowing their various business activities to contribute to ensuring their social responsibility.
Crunch time for business leaders to show management skills
Prof.Dr. Tran Tho Dat, former rector of the National Economics University, is another expert who shares the view that the business community must take on extra responsibilities as part of the fight against the COVID-19, underlining the need for firms to urge staff members to follow prevention and isolation procedures which have been implemented by the National Steering Committee on COVID-19 Prevention and Control.
“Ensuring safety for businesses and their employees is to carry out responsibilities for the community. There are a number of solutions, for example it is imperative to ensure workplace hygiene, being active in detecting new infections, undergoing quarantine, minimising crowded gatherings, holding online meetings, and working from home. That is the way some Chinese businesses and other groups globally are coping amid the epidemic,” he said.
It is worth noting that many major firms and individuals are also making great contributions to the Anti-COVID-19 Fund. At present, the nation has the epidemic under control, but moving forward actions must remain cautious as repeatedly urged by the Prime Minister.
In some countries, the epidemic has been spreading exponentially, therefore plans need to be put in place in case of the worst-case scenario. For example, if the epidemic creates a strain that is beyond the capacity of the health system, the country would be in dire need of new resources. This would involve setting up field hospitals and issuing a large number of test kits in order to provide early results, Dat noted.
According to Prof. Dat, protecting life whilst simultaneously giving priority to the health of both citizens and employees should be considered the nation’s primary task. Businesses must maintain their production activities at the highest possible level in order to ensure the interest of their employees. The current climate is therefore the most difficult time to demonstrate the management capacity of business leaders, he added.