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Learn to become a more responsible & green-based enterprises

H.E Excellency Grete Lochen - Norwegian Ambassador to Vietnam - discusses about how enterprises should learn to become more socially responsible & green-based with Respect Vietnam

"It is necessary to change the approach to learning & education in general by prioritizing quality, not quantity, building a culture of quality within the organisation and actively seek new knowledge"


  1. The role of Learning Organisations

  2. Investing in Learning Quality other than Quantity

  3. Transparency to encourage actionable ESG efforts

  4. Grow women's power with Learning Organisations - FELLOWSHIP 100

1. The Role of Learning Organisation

Founder of RespectVN: Learning Organizations (LOs) are organizations that brand themselves as enabling environments where employees & employers are together learning new knowledge to survive & thrive during & post Covid19. Do you agree with this statement?

Ambassador: Absolutely. Knowledge has become a critical source for any organization within competitive context of business, therefore organizational learning has become a strategic priority for many organizations. The aim of learning is not only enhancing employee's knowledge and skills but also developing and growth of the organization and building a flexible dynamic learning organization.

A learning culture helps to create an environment for employees to continuously upskill, knowledge share and better themselves, promotes enhanced productivity and cross-department support, and thereby improves the organization overall.

Promoting a culture of learning also creates a holistic and positive workplace. It improves employee engagement and retention rates thanks to higher satisfaction rate of staff members with their skill advancement and recognition.

This culture is even more important when businesses today are expected to contribute to solving many of the biggest global challenges such as climate change, pollution, biodiversity, decent working conditions and now green energy transition and economic recovery after the pandemic. Against this backdrop, learning practices would allow for teams to share information, best practices and get updated knowledge more easily particularly when it comes to the new topics such as ESG, energy transition etc.

2. Investing in Organisational Learning - Quality more important than Quantity

Founder of RespectVN: In Vietnam, RespectVN's study in more than 100 for-profit & non-profit organizations tells that Orgs invest in Learning & Education more in quantity than in quality. This benefits neither employees nor employers. ESG, therefore, becomes excellent in texts & tables yet not great in reality. Do you agree?

Ambassador: In my opinion, it is necessary to change the approach to learning & education in general by prioritizing quality not quantity. This is more important in the digital era where new technologies and digital tools have empowered us as users and customers to seek out and compare an endless array of products and options from around the globe.

It is very important for an organization, be it small, medium or large-sized, to build a culture of quality among its management and staff member and actively seek new knowledge. What was acceptable yesterday is not acceptable today. Globalization and rapid changes at the global level, whether economically, geopolitically or climate related affects us all It is not any longer about the future of our children, but it is happening here and now, and we need to act accordingly.

When it comes to a new issue such as ESG, everyone has a responsibility to understand what it means, whether it is governments, the private sector or civil society.

ESG means sustainable, green investing, socially responsible investing, and corporate social responsibility. These principles apply to the private as well as the government sector. In addition, ESG also addresses many issues that are indeed most effectively handled in a public-private partnership. Ensuring sustainable use of energy resources, building up social protection schemes, decent working conditions as well as transparency and fighting corruption are the tasks where both public and private actors play essential roles.

Implementing ESG is not something that can take place overnight, but has definitely an urgency to it that cannot be ignored. ESG is very important for an open and export-oriented economy like Vietnam which has Europe and US as their most important export markets. High quality Foreign Direct Investment will look for developing and emerging economies that emphasize following up on the ESG-principles. Investors are increasingly considering ESG issues as part of their efforts to mitigate investment risks. Furthermore, in a modern globalized economy, consumer power is important, and consumers are increasingly asking for products made in countries that take ESG seriously.

3. Transparency for actionable ESG efforts

Founder of RespectVN: The complexity of ESG, CSR, inclusive economy or impact businesses (equivalent terms) makes it very hard for workers & employers to learn HOW to do the right things. They must learn them in a simple language in order to know HOW. We make the GUIDE Doing the right things RIGHT in graphics, infographics & comics to make them easy to understand and agree with each other. Do you think such work might create some impacts?

Ambassador: These are not as complicated as they look. They benefit all from the Government to businesses to the consumers, thus everyone has a role to play.

Let us take Norway as an example. Over the last couple of years, there has been an increasing focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) compliance among all stakeholders in the Norwegian market. The government expects all Norwegian companies, regardless of size, sector, operational context, ownership structure and continent, to exercise responsible business conduct at home and abroad.

The Government plays a key role in developing legislation, setting and implementing policies specifying ESG requirements in specific rules and regulations including ESG reporting requirements, due diligence requirements and exposure in case of non-compliance.

The Norwegian parliament has recently passed a new Transparency Act which is effective from 1 July 2022, which regulates enterprise transparency and work regarding basic human rights and decent working conditions. Although various international guidelines already impose requirements for due diligence and transparency, these are voluntary.

Under the new Transparency Act of Norway, certain of these requirements are now a legal obligation. While the Transparency Act is limited to fundamental human rights and decent working conditions, there exist also other guidelines including OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for responsible Business Conduct etc. which provide practical, useful and easy-to-understand advice regarding how to undertake each of the required steps. The EU will soon get their Due Diligence law, including on environmental issues.

There is not a one-size-fits-all approach to understand what ESG, means.

However, we all know that the role of the private sector will be more important than ever as we move towards a post-pandemic future. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) location decisions will be based more and more on green and sustainable factors and not just profit related.

For Vietnam to continue its economic development and reaching its ambition of becoming a high-income country by 2045, international and Vietnamese enterprises need a solid and predictable business environment, good governance, clean energy, decent work conditions and robust anti-corruption measures.

4. Grow women's power with Learning Organisations - FELLOWSHIP 100

Founder of RespectVN: The above-mentioned questions lead us to the Fellowship 100 for female leaders of Learning Organizations. Can you share any of your insights or advice in this humble effort?

Ambassador: Congratulations on this great idea.

More and more women are taking the top leadership positions in organizations. This is good. We need both men and women in top management positions. Women bring other perspectives and priorities than men in their leadership role. Surveys also show that businesses with a gender balanced management team are often more successful than just having men in top positions. Leaving one gender out is not smart economics!

Bringing accomplished women business leaders from across the country together to foster networks, share knowledge and lessons learned is an important support mechanism but also can collectively grow women’s power in the workplace. We still have quite a long way to go in most countries before we can honestly talk about a gender balanced working environment.

Thus, keep up the good work and good luck!

Read more ESG articles written by H.E Excellency Grete Lochen at Vietnam Investment Review at


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