Responsible Business Practice is Key for Economic Recovery in Lao PDR

September 15, 2022

Ministries, businesses, trade unions, civil society, academia, and development partners came together as part of the Dialogue on Responsible Business Practice in Lao PDR.

Sinsavanh Sonepaseuth, UNDP Lao PDR

Vientiane, 15 September 2022 – The Ministry of Industry and Commerce (MoIC), Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI), the Embassy of Japan, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) co-hosted a Dialogue on Responsible Business Practice in Lao PDR to launch the new project on “Improving Performance, Accountability, Conduct, and Transparency of Businesses in Lao PDR", also known as IMPACT Biz project. 

Over the past decade, Lao PDR has been one of the fastest-growing economies in ASEAN. While business activity has underpinned much of this progress, it has often been at the expense of environmental resources and has led to challenges in upholding labour standards. Increasing water and air pollution, biodiversity destruction, and violation of workers’ rights by irresponsible businesses have had a negative impact on society and the environment, greatly affecting many people’s everyday lives. 

To ensure business activity continues to drive Lao PDR’s economic growth without compromising the environment and people’s well-being, it is critical that Lao PDR embraces the responsible business agenda.  

By actively assessing their impacts and taking measures to prevent negative impacts, responsible businesses can improve access to essential goods and services, generate jobs for disadvantaged groups, and build a sustainable tax base to invest in social initiatives. Responsible businesses also enjoy improved working partnerships with the communities where they operate and report higher profit margins over time.  

“Supporting Lao businesses to adopt responsible business practices is an important step in ensuring that Lao companies remain competitive. The global evidence shows that businesses already implementing responsible practice have enjoyed advantages in attracting diverse talent and retaining staff, reducing reputational and legal risks, accessing new markets, and building a positive brand image,”  Mr. Xaybandith Rasphone, LNCCI Vice President, shared. 

“Globally, investors are increasingly looking towards having a positive impact on the environment and ensuring that each investment is socially-responsible. With the available capital growing year on year, it is important that Lao PDR is well positioned to attract high-quality and long-term investment to maintain access to larger economies. It is for this reason that the Government and private sector should be keen to embrace responsible business to drive economic recovery,” H.E. Dr. Manothong Vongsay, Deputy Minister of Industry and Commerce, emphasized.  

The UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) on Responsible Business Practice are the global framework to guide Lao PDR’s progress in embracing responsible business. 

“The UNGPs call on all countries to develop National Action Plans on Responsible Business Practice. 30 economies have already adopted such national plans, and Lao PDR should not be left behind in this global trend,” Ms. Catherine Phuong, Officer-in-Charge, UNDP, stated. “UNDP has recently supported the National Action Plan development in Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, and Viet Nam, and we look forward to supporting the Government of Lao PDR in its journey.” 

The new IMPACT Biz project is part of a global project supported by the Government of Japan across 17 countries and seeks to advance responsible business practice in Lao PDR by helping the Government develop more robust laws and policies to manage business operations, guiding businesses to carry out social and environmental impact assessments, and assisting civil society in monitoring irresponsible business practice across industries and provinces. 


For more information, please contact:  

Ms. Aksonethip Somvorachit 

UNDP Communications Analyst  


Ms. Sinsavanh Sonepaseuth 

UNDP Communications and Outreach Officer for Governance