Corporate social responsibility (CSR) is being recognized more and more by companies in Vietnam. This is more than just organizing infrequent charity trips, but rather, an important part in the company’s strategy.
What are the things a company needs to keep in mind when building a CSR strategy?
CSR strategy has to be built based on the core value of the company: At first sight, many companies assume that CSR is ostentatious and costly, but it really is to attract attention and call for the community to join hands in social activities. Therefore, CSR should be adopted and spread out. Doing CSR doesn’t necessarily involve a hefty budget; a minimal resource could also be converted into lasting benefit for the company. For instance, Heineken’s campaign in 2018-2019 emphasized the message “No drunk driving” as Vietnam still suffering from many accidents due to driving under influence, especially during lunar new year holidays.
Specify the area of CSR that the company wants to involve in: To many Vietnamese companies, CSR means doing charity to the poverty-stricken community as a chance to demonstrate company’s ethics. Theoretically, this view is not wrong, but charity is just a small part of the plan. CSR is a proactive strategy, with multiple targets and different topics. Vietnam Beer Company is famous for its chain of activities related to water security, including “A minute of saving, a million happiness” and “Provide clean water for the rural area”. With this campaign, the company sponsored 22 water sources to provide clean water for people living in rural area, where clean water is a scarce resource.
Encourage employees to join in the company’s CSR projects: CSR is not meant for big corporations only. Smaller firms can help by encouraging their employees save water and electricity. This is also a way to show the responsibility toward the surrounding environment. Plants building their wastewater treatment systems correctly is also an act of CSR. CSR should be a crucial part in the sustainable business plan, starting from the action of each individual, aiming for the greater good of the company, the community and the society.
With average 30 billions VND spent each year on CSR activities, alongside natural disaster relief and poverty alleviation activities, FPT also spent a large amount of budget into educational CSR activities. Take an example of ViOlympic, an online math contest, which have been co-hosted by The Ministry of Education and Training, FPT Cooperation and FPT University since 2008. From 2010, FPT chose the 13th of March annually to be “FPT’s Day for the Community”, encouraging every employee to participate in charity activities for the society.
Connect the local community with the CSR campaigns is one way to amplify the company values: The role of media is important in doing CSR. CSR activities need to be connected to the community through newspaper, radio broadcast or social media. Vietnam Dairy Product JSC (Vinamilk) has been executing a series of CSR activity, such as the milk funding “Vietnam Rises High”, giving out nearly 35,000,000 glasses of milk for more than 440,000 children living in poverty.
Include the customer into CSR campaign: In many countries, people may more attention to companies’ responsibility, duty and transparency. Studies showed that before buying a product or using a service, customers usually consider a company’s reputation, business activities and commitment toward the community. CSR is acknowledged as a part of business development in many companies. Recently, Grab and The National Fund for Vietnamese Children has called out for their customers to join hands in the project “The bridge to school,” in order to build more sturdy bridges, paving the path to school for students in Vietnam remote areas.
Vi Mai is currently PR Manager at EloQ Communications. Vi has more than 10 years of experience in the journalism industry and social media marketing. She is the strategic planner for many of EloQ’s projects