Vietnam-Singapore Board Forum (VSBF) 2023, with the theme driving sustainability and inclusive growth in the digital era, took place on May 12 and proposed sustainable strategies and new ways to achieve growth and prosperity.

VSBF 2023 – Driving sustainability and inclusive growth in the digital era was organised by Vietstar and the Singapore Management University

Tran Van Tung, Deputy Minister of Science and Technology, said that to pursue the goal of sustainable development, Vietnam has committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and made two other commitments related to agriculture. Thereby, the nation has gradually reduced its use of energy from fossil fuels and accelerated the use of renewable energy sources.

“To implement these commitments, the role of technology is critical because new technologies can reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, Vietnam needs technology transfer from other countries and the resources to absorb the transferred technologies,” said Tung.

The Ministry of Science and Technology has been carrying out practical activities to support the business community, including the digital transformation of the transportation sector and the development of new sources of energy.

Confirming that choosing a sustainable development orientation is an inevitable trend, Ho Sy Hung, Deputy Chairman of the Commission for the Management of State Capital at Enterprises, said that this is a global strategy, based on a close, reasonable, and harmonious combination of the three aspects of economic development, including the economy, society, and environmental protection. This pushes the overarching goal that the government of Vietnam is pursuing.

To achieve this target, Hung said that the government should raise awareness of sustainable development, while clearly issuing requirements, standards, and regulations.

“It is necessary to focus on development policies that green existing industries. We need to transform to a more advanced industrial structure, boost investment in the research and development of green technologies, develop new and high-value-added sectors, establish a carbon emissions market, build a green financial mechanism, and provide tax incentives for environmentally friendly activities,” suggested Hung.

According to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s AR6 Synthesis Report on Climate Change in 2023 that was released in March in advance of COP 28 in Dubai, it is more likely than not that global warming will exceed 1.5 degrees Celsius this century, with the best estimate being that this will occur before 2040.

Lim Boon Heng, chairman of Temasek Holdings said, “Businesses and governments will face increased scrutiny and be expected to increase the pace and scale of their actions. Most with net-zero targets have set a deadline of 2050, so there needs to be a significant acceleration of ambition.”

“The net-zero transition will bring both opportunities and challenges. Business leaders need to follow climate policy developments and global trends closely to best prepare,” emphasised Heng.

2023 marks the significant milestone of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th year of the strategic partnership between Singapore and Vietnam.

“The imperative to work together has never been stronger,” said Singaporean Ambassador Jaya Ratnam.

Economic cooperation has been the cornerstone of the bilateral relationship, and Singapore has long recognised Vietnam’s economic strengths and potential. Singapore has been Vietnam’s top source of foreign investment for the last three years, with the Vietnam-Singapore Industrial Parks (VSIP) across northern, central and southern Vietnam being emblematic symbols of the economic cooperation.

“VSIP just represents the tip, with many other Singaporean companies including CapitaLand, Keppel, Mapletree, YCH Group, PSA, Charles & Keith, and Breadtalk active in Vietnam’s infrastructure, transport, logistics, food, and retail sectors,” added the ambassador.

YCH, in a joint venture with T&T Group, has broken ground on a multi-modal logistic hub, dubbed the Vinh Phuc Superport, which will be the largest logistics infrastructure project spearheaded by a Singaporean company in Vietnam. Scheduled to go live in 2024, it will be a first of its kind hub with an integrated dry port and advanced supply chain nerve centre – modelled on Supply Chain City in Singapore.

“Overall, investor interest from Singapore remains strong and there is a firm conviction in Vietnam’s future,” emphasised Ambassador Ratnam.