With the theme “Positioning Vietnam’s Green National Brand“, the forum was a chance for policymakers and industry experts to share ideas to make Viet Nam a green, sustainable and more developed country.
Keynote speaker Dr Nancy Snow – Professor Emeritus of California State University, Fullerton and a global messaging advisor for the Government of Japan – said that a country’s brand provides a framework for its long-term economic growth, increases the value of its assets, and gives it a competitive advantage, thereby attracting more investments, tourists, and other benefits.
“With mounting concerns about environmental issues and sustainable development, a country’s ‘green’ brand is becoming increasingly influential, particularly as many countries work towards achieving the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals,” she emphasised.
“Viet Nam has a unique opportunity to position itself on the global stage as a ‘green nation’ with strong national green brands that represent the country in the global marketplace.”
Elements of a nation’s green brand
So far, neither academia nor practice has provided a complete definition or model of a nation’s green brand. The typical approach is to integrate environmental issues and sustainable development into the general country brand model.
According to an RMIT research team led by Dr Erhan Atay and Dr Dang Thao Quyen, a nation’s green brand can be defined as “a country’s brand that emphasises and excels at sustainable development while protecting the environment”.
Accordingly, the elements constituting a nation’s green brand include people’s perceptions of:
- The government policies which aim at sustainable development while protecting the environment
- The nation’s human capital endowment – the skills and capacities that reside in its people, aligning with sustainable development objectives
- The country’s exports which refer to the reputation of the country’s products and services that are of good quality and environmentally friendly
- The country’s tourism industry’s attractiveness and whether it is attached to proper environmental practices;
- The country’s culture and heritage that are attached to environmental values;
The country’s ability to attract individuals and companies to live, work, study or do businesses thanks to its reputation in positive environmental practices.
Dr Erhan Atay summarised: “This is a brand that may help countries to position themselves as a leader in sustainability, and their products or services are recognised for their respect for the environment and sustainable development.”
Building a green nation’s brand for Viet Nam
Experts agreed that Viet Nam has made some progress in building a nation’s green brand, but much remains to be done.
Viet Nam’s remarkable journey from a low- to middle-income country lifted 40 million people out of poverty between 1993 and 2014. Despite this impressive record, the country is struggling with environmental problems such as air and water pollution, deforestation and loss of biodiversity.
In 2022, Vietnam ranked 56th out of 76 countries in MIT’s Green Future Index (GFI) and 178th out of 180 countries in Yale University’s Environmental Performance Index (EPI).
The country has set industry targets under environmental goals. However, it faces challenges in achieving these goals due to its reliance on traditional energy sources such as coal.
To address these issues, the Vietnamese government has made progress toward sustainable finance by developing a robust green finance framework for viable projects. The framework aims to promote investment in environmentally friendly projects and encourage the adoption of sustainable practices in various sectors.
However, more needs to be done to promote sustainability and environmental awareness at the national level.
Dr Dang Thao Quyen said: “Viet Nam must adopt sustainable policies and practices, promote environmentally friendly products and services, and engage citizens and businesses in efforts to improve the environment.
“A further way is to attach compulsory criteria related to green and sustainable practices as requirements of being recognised as a National Brand of Vietnam.”
Professor Robert McClelland, Dean of The Business School at RMIT Vietnam, added: “By promoting environmentally friendly activities and products, Viet Nam can become a responsible and sustainable country, attracting more environmentally conscious tourists, consumers and global investors, leading to economic growth and development.”