IDH Vietnam celebrates 15 years: Actions & Impacts through Collaboration

IDH celebrated its 15th anniversary in Vietnam with the theme “Actions and Impacts through Collaboration”. As a global organisation with a mission to transform markets for the benefit of people and the planet, IDH has had an impressive journey with significant milestones over the past 15 years. Nearly 200 participants, including key partners, government agencies, provincial authorities, donors, international organisations, civil societies, industry associations, and international & domestic enterprises joined the event, which included discussions on IDH’s future priorities for 2030 in addressing sustainability challenges in Vietnam’s agriculture and textile and footwear sectors.

IDH was established in Europe in 2008 and officially registered to operate in Vietnam in 2016 with development support programs for the agriculture sector, including Coffee, Spice (Pepper and Cinnamon), Aquaculture (Shrimp and Pangasius), Tea, Cocoa, and a Sustainable Landscape program in the Central Highlands. IDH Vietnam focuses its support activities primarily on the Textile and Manufacturing industry for the industrial sector.

Over the years, we have witnessed how the IDH program has transformed lives and landscapes in Vietnam. It has empowered farmers, strengthened communities, and built a more sustainable future. This is a testament to what we can achieve when we work together towards a common goal. We will continue to support initiatives that promote sustainable trade and low-carbon agriculture and contribute to the economic growth of Vietnam.

Thomas Gass, Swiss Ambassador to Vietnam

During the 15-year celebrations, IDH organised many side events, including the first Industrial Park Forum “Promoting sustainable development of Textile, Garment and Footwear industrial zones – Challenges and Opportunities” and field visits to textile factories in the South of Vietnam and sustainable landscapes in the Central Highlands.

IDH Vietnam has received many certificates of merit from domestic and foreign organisations recognising its positive contributions to the agriculture and industry fields. During the 15-year celebrations, IDH received a Certificate of Merit from the Ministry of Agriculture. Representatives of IDH, Daan Wensing, IDH CEO, Ms. Tran Quynh Chi, Director of Asian Landscape, and Mr. Huynh Tien Dung, Country Director of IDH Vietnam, were honoured with commemorative medals from the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development. 

In recent years, IDH has played a pivotal role in shaping the landscape of sustainable trade in Vietnam. They are a key partner in enhancing the country’s sustainability. We compliment IDH Vietnam for their pioneering and active engagement with the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, relevant provinces, and companies to tackle the challenge of implementing the European Union Deforestation-free Regulation EUDR.

Kees van Baar, Dutch Ambassador to Vietnam

Since its establishment in Vietnam, IDH has cooperated closely with public-private partners to implement many initiatives supporting sustainable business models, efficient production and investment opportunities. It has also created potential trade opportunities for businesses, improved farmers’ livelihoods, and improved working conditions for workers, achieving several milestones in Vietnam’s agriculture and industry fields.

In agriculture:

  1. IDH established, co-chairs, and is an active member of public-private partnerships to support the development of sustainable coffee, pepper, aquaculture, tea, cinnamon, and cocoa sectors. At the same time, IDH participates in Production, Protection, and Inclusion (PPI) Compacts at all levels. Of which, the total investment from IDH and donors reached over 18 million USD, convening more than 40 million USD in co-investment from the private sector, more than 30 million USD from the public sector, and about 5 million USD from other development organisations.
  2. IDH has implemented solutions to support smallholders in applying responsible production practices, while improving smallholders’ livelihoods. For the first time, 4 National Guidances on Sustainable Production were developed for the pepper, coffee, tea, and cinnamon industries. Those are issued by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development as official agricultural training documents. 240,000 smallholders received direct technical support and about 40% of the households had an increase of 10-20% in income.
  3. IDH cooperates with more than 150 trading companies and buyers to jointly invest in programs and projects to support farmers and strengthen supply chain links. IDH has supported manufacturing industries to achieve international sustainability certification, especially supporting the aquaculture, cinnamon, and tea industries to achieve the first international certifications in Vietnam such as Rainforest Alliance, 4C, and ASC.
  4. IDH’s programs supporting sustainable agriculture and landscape development have brought impacts on protecting the environment and natural resources such as: Protect 300,000 ha forest; Promoting sustainable farming, conserving land and water resources on more than 350,000 hectares of agricultural and aquatic land, and reduce more than 15% of irrigation water in coffee and pepper; Reduce 99% of herbicide use in coffee production, reducing greenhouse gas emissions in coffee production by 60% and 10% in pepper production.
  5. For the first time in the agricultural industry, IDH coordinated with the Vietnam General Confederation of Labor the signing of two “collective labour agreements for groups of enterprises in the aquaculture processing industry” in Ca Mau and Kien Giang. The agreement improved working conditions for about 11,000 workers in the aquaculture industry, increasing income and social benefits by 10%.

In the industrial sector, IDH has focused on supporting the textile and manufacturing industries. In 2016, IDH launched the “Race to the Top” program to help textile and garment factories operate more efficiently. Through this program, for the first time, a public-private partnership agreement to promote sustainable development of the textile and manufacturing industry was signed between the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids and Social Affairs, Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association and brand representatives.

These are some of the main results in the framework of the 2016-2023 Public-Private Partnership agreement:

  1. IDH has cooperated with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to develop guidance for the management and non-discharge of toxic chemicals into the environment from textile factories, in cooperation with the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Winrock organisation to develop a Transparent Environmental Data Disclosure Platform (TEDP) for industrial parks and industrial production facilities with potential pollution.
  2. IDH has developed with the Ministry of Industry and Trade a tool to calculate carbon footprints on textile, garment, and footwear products and build a model to promote energy saving. Especially in the context of COVID-19, IDH has organised with the Ministry of Industry and Trade and associations training courses for businesses on EU and US requirements for medical products.
  3. Alongside the Ministry of Labor, War Invalids, and Social Affairs, IDH supported the revised Labor Code through consultation with companies. as well as communication and guidance on state support for businesses and workers during the COVID-19 epidemic.
  4. With the Ministry of Construction, IDH helped develop a set of National Standards on Fire Fighting and Prevention for industrial factories, including textile, garment and footwear factories.
  5. IDH has coordinated with the Vietnam Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Vietnam Leather, Footwear, and Handbag Association the development of a Sustainable Development Index to help businesses self-assess and improve production and business.
  6. Especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, IDH has promptly supported the Vietnam Textile, Garment, and Footwear Association and the Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association with technical guidance for member factories on COVID-19 prevention solutions for workers.

Since 2016, IDH’s Textile and Manufacturing program has supported more than 600 training classes for textile, garment, and footwear factories in areas such as chemical management, electricity and water saving, energy, simplification and improvement of production efficiency, employee engagement, construction safety, electrical safety, and fire and explosion safety for nearly 300 textile factories and 8 textile industrial parks. More than 550,000 textile workers have improved working conditions since the program’s establishment. Since 2021, IDH and partners have implemented the IN Sustainable Textile and Apparel Parks (INSTEP) to support Industrial Parks in increasing productivity and efficiency, applying sustainable business practices and attracting investment.

Watch the highlights of IDH Vietnam