Better Work is a global partnership of the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Labour Organization (ILO), which unites the expertise of the ILO in labor standards with that of IFC in private sector development. It aims to improve the working conditions and promote competitiveness in global garment supply chains by assessing current conditions and offering customized advisory and training services to factories.
ASSIST implemented the project in Vietnam for 30 factories in four phases to collect information that will help Better Work assess whether/how to integrate environmental compliance into its labor compliance program.
Phase 1 is for the development and testing of a country guide and self-assessment tool that helps textile factories comply with country regulations and the conduct of a gap analysis between different standards including the Higg Index and IFC Performance Standards. Phase 2 covers the development and delivery of the training session for 30 Better Work participating factories. Phase 3 is for the provision of on-site advisory services while Phase 4 is for the delivery of all the tools developed and integration into Better Work’s well-established labor compliance program.
Industries in Vietnam have the potential to significantly reduce the material, energy and pollution intensity per unit of industrial output, bringing about a reduction of the overall ecological footprint, while improving productivity and competitiveness. Thus ASSIST, together with PUMA and DEG, implemented a Public-Private Partnership project to support Vietnamese factories from the textile, garment and leather sector in their efforts to achieve the three dimensions of sustainability: production efficiency, environmental management, and human development.
CONSERV aimed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, secure availabilities of natural resources, and minimize risks from waste and pollution, ultimately contributing to the realization of a green industry and a green economy. To achieve these objectives, the key interventions include (1) rollout of a strong awareness-raising campaign among decision makers through knowledge sharing forums, brochures and more; (2) capacity building workshops for practitioners and technicians; (3) developing a resource efficiency toolkit and body of knowledge for the sector; and (4) implementing energy audits and advisory for select companies.
The project ultimately resulted in the increased awareness among the factories on the need and importance of resource efficiency and waste management, enhanced local capacity on these topics, and sustainability of the project through effective communication. CONSERV capacitated over 500 professionals and technicians from various factories and extended its impact to over 200 textile, garment and leather factories.
While it seems that the ASEAN region is advancing due to the thriving economies of several member countries, the living conditions of a significant part of the population prove that some developing nations within the region, have yet to experience the benefits of economic growth and technological advancements of its neighboring countries. This project aimed to provide opportunities to disadvantaged ASEAN communities in Indonesia, Myanmar and Vietnam, allowing them to gain access to appropriate knowledge and affordable technologies which have helped other ASEAN countries achieve economic development and transformation.
ASSIST in partnership with Bayer Thai, implemented an Integrated Social Economic Model (SEM) that facilitated economic transformation through food security, mitigating post-harvest losses and improving the quality and preservation of agri / aqua-cultural products coming from the bottom of the pyramid communities. The farmers were also introduced to financial linkages that connected the farmers directly to markets.
The project implemented the WeCARE Sustainability Scorecard approach that had the three dimensions of – Society (enhancing livelihood, community cooperation and social harmony), Economy (reducing post-harvest losses and improving earning capability), and Environment (energy efficient technologies and eco-friendly materials).
Organized by the World Economic Forum’s Grow Asia Partnership, The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Australia’s Food Systems Innovation (FSI) Initiative, the Seas of Change Initiative and the Global Donor Platform for Rural Development, this event outlined how to transform good intentions in the agribusiness sector into practice.
This event brought together the numerous people to share key approaches and explore practical and innovative solutions to the growing, inclusive agribusinesses in SE Asia. It continued efforts to build an active, regional network of strategic stakeholders for continued exchange and innovation. It also identified opportunities for investment in agricultural development, critical areas for future research and the policy requirements to drive greater business-led inclusive growth.
Vietnam’s fast-growing food processing and food export enterprises have been grossly challenged by the low level of awareness on multilateral regulations covering the food industry. The non-availability of appropriate laws and the lower levels of enforcement by the government have further aggravated the situation.
ASSIST together with TÜV Rheinland Vietnam Co. Ltd and DEG, launched a project that targeted the agro and dairy food exporting and food processing industry of Vietnam located in the Central area (Da Nang City), Ho Chi Minh City and Can Tho Province in the Mekong Delta.
In order to achieve set project objectives, the project created a mass-based awareness on the governing international food standards (HACCP/ISO 22000) and international food safety regulations. Technical seminars in multiple provinces have also qualified 75 local trainers. e-learning modules on food safety, self-implementation guidelines and self-audit guides were also compressed into kits which were distributed for knowledge propagation.
Vietnam is the world’s leading exporter of pepper. While this industry exports to 97 countries, it also serves as an important contributor to the country’s economic growth, while bringing good revenue for farmers. However, this fast growth entailed challenges in enforcing appropriate food safety practices. Adverse weather conditions, pests, and diseases pushed farmers to use pesticides with poor awareness of their impact. With this, risks to Vietnam’s pepper acceptance in global markets have been identified.
ASSIST, together with Eurofins Sac Ky Hai Dang Company Ltd and DEG, launched Safe Pepper – a project that aims to increase Vietnam’s pepper export quality and improve international competitiveness. In cooperation with the Department of Agriculture and Natural Resources, beneficiary cooperatives were identified, followed by a comprehensive status quo analysis of pepper cultivation, particularly with regard to the use of pesticides and production and export patterns in Vietnam.
As a result, the project was able to engage farmers, processors, and local experts through awareness campaigns, workshops, events, and training of trainers (ToTs). Knowledge sharing on regulations and quality standards were expounded through fertilizer and land treatment courses as well as pesticide treatment courses. Moving forward, the project aims to sustain impact through developing case studies on the improvement of farmers’ income, agricultural practices and quality standards for know-how transfer.
The development of a Situation Analysis (SitAn) of Children’s Well Being is a key part of UNICEF’s international mandate for strengthening evidence-based policy planning and decision-making to promote human development and the fulfillment of children’s rights. In the specific context of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, the SitAn would be of great importance for identifying the gaps in child rights implementation and priorities for children to inform evidence-based planning and budgeting for children through the city’s socio-economic development plan (SEDP).
To develop the SitAn, ASSIST collected primary and secondary information from provinces in Ho Chi Minh City, and data mining from existing data/information sources, including stakeholder consultations. Consultations were undertaken with key stakeholders, including children, in Ho Chi Minh City before a final SitAn report was submitted to UNICEF.
The collected lessons learned and good practices of Ho Chi Minh City on child care and social protection will be used for possible replication in other provinces in Vietnam. Likewise, the SitAn will lay the groundwork for HCMC’s application of the Child-Friendly City approach in the coming years.
As part of the initiative to develop H&M’s “Green Industry” strategy for the garment supply chains of Cambodia & Myanmar, ASSIST conducted a mapping of the existing stakeholders on renewable energy.
ASSIST conducted mapping studies and generated reports on solid waste, renewable energy, and water saving technologies. The reports provided a description of the subject’s current conditions in the country, the existing stakeholders and key players and the national solutions/technologies available. The reports also offer a more detailed analysis of the subject specifically in the context of the country’s garment industry and recommend relevant actions for the sector. Following those 6 reports (3 in Cambodia, 3 in Myanmar), H&M requested ASSIST replicate the studies in Vietnam.
Global Initiatives organizes annual forums on responsible business and in 2015 held the Responsible Business Forum on Food and Agriculture in Hanoi, Vietnam. Under the theme ‘ASEAN Beyond 2015: Collaboration for Equitable Growth’, the forum convened more than 350 leaders from business, government, scientific research institutes and NGO communities, to discuss the future sustainability of aquaculture, coffee, dairy, maize, rice and tea value chains. ASSIST ran a workshop for Global Initiatives, facilitating the formulation of action points and next steps for these agriculture products.
ASSIST’s working group at this forum produced actionable recommendations for successful public-private partnerships, increasing productivity, improving rural livelihoods, reducing poverty, and reducing environmental impacts. A key highlight of the form is a dialogue with ASEAN government Ministers on sustainable agriculture and boosting productivity in Southeast Asia.