Barry Stowe, Chief Executive of Prudential Corporation Asia, was in Hanoi at the start of 2011 to help Prudential announce the launch of the Prudence Foundation Vietnam and a financial contribution of $10 million to support corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities across the country.
The Prudence Foundation’s support comes at a time when CSR is attracting growing interest from companies and communities in Vietnam. VIR interviewed the chief executive during his visit.
Can you share details of the newly established Prudence Foundation Vietnam?
Prudence Foundation Vietnam is an important part of Prudential’s commitment to CSR and to the Vietnamese market. Prudential’s financial contribution of USD 10 million will help to ensure the Prudence Foundation has a solid base from which to support the long-term development of Vietnamese society as well as to support meaningful community development and charity projects nationwide over a long-term, five-year horizon.
Listening to our customers and understanding their needs is critical to our business, but listening to the needs of our communities is also an important way for Prudential to support the long-term development of Vietnam.
What are the operating principles of Prudence Foundation Vietnam?
Across the Prudential Group, we have extensive experience developing and implementing CSR programs which support our diverse communities worldwide. We will leverage this unique global expertise, combined with our strong understanding of the Vietnamese market, to ensure that the foundation achieves its mission. Initially, we have three important operating principles: maintain a focus on the real needs of our communities in Vietnam; provide opportunities for our Prudential employees and agents to contribute to our community work; and remain focused on education, youth and promoting a healthy lifestyle.
What are the areas of focus for Prudence Foundation Vietnam?
The Foundation will focus on several areas of importance to Vietnam and the country’s continued, sustainable development. These include promoting education, maintaining a healthy lifestyle and supporting youth. For example, some projects under the Prudence Foundation Vietnam might include English language training, financial literacy, scholarships opportunities, free medical check-ups, sports, environmental protection programs, as well as charitable donations.
How is the Foundation going to be managed?
The Foundation will be managed as a charitable arm of Prudential Vietnam. It will be governed by a Board of Directors and an Executive Committee to ensure that our executive team remains committed to the growth and development of the Prudence Foundation, and to guarantee an appropriate level of corporate governance and management.
Does Prudential have much experience running a CSR foundation in Vietnam?
CSR is an important part of Prudential’s operations in all of our countries where we do business. We are not only a committed corporate citizen, but also recognise that CSR is an important part of our business and our industry. Here in Vietnam, we have long been an active supporter of CSR initiatives. For example, we have funded financial literacy courses for women nationwide, arranged English language classes for mid-career professionals in government agencies, granted IT scholarships and developed young athletes. We also work with a number of prestigious government agencies and NGOs in Vietnam to facilitate CSR projects. Most recently, in celebration of our 10th anniversary in Vietnam in 2009, we facilitated nationwide CSR programs that included blood drives and education campaigns.
How important is the Vietnamese market to Prudential?
The Prudential Group’s strategy is to focus on Asia and the fast-growing markets across the Southeast Asia region – including here in Vietnam. We are very proud of our position as Vietnam’s leading life insurance company, and are deeply committed to delivering financial protection to millions of Vietnamese people via our network of 190 offices spanning all 63 provinces nationwide. With its large population of 86 million people and strong, fast-growing economy, we see tremendous long-term opportunities for the life insurance industry in Vietnam.
What are your expectations for the Prudence Foundation Vietnam?
This is a long-term commitment from Prudential. The Prudence Foundation Vietnam will enable us to contribute to the long-term development of individuals, families and communities across Vietnam. The Foundation will focus on education initiatives, as well on youth and healthy lifestyle. We are a committed corporate citizen, and that includes in business as well as in the community.