New Approach for Businesses

9:52:24 AM | 21/11/2019

In the traditional linear economic model, goods are manufactured and then discarded as waste leading to deterioration of the environment. Conversely, a circular economy, restores any damage done during resource acquisition while ensuring not much waste is generated during the product life cycle.

However, this concept is still quite new in Vietnam and initially only a few businesses and scientists, researchers have embarked on it. Accordingly, all initiatives aim at "zero waste to be buried", nearly 99% of waste and by-products are reused or recycled.

The typical example of deploying this model is Heineken Vietnam. Currently, four out of six Heineken Vietnam's factories are using thermal energy from renewable energy and biomass fuel which do not emit carbon, reducing by 2,500 tons the CO2 emissions in transporting stage alone in 2018. On the other hand, Heineken Vietnam's initiative to collect and recycle caps of Tiger beer into iron materials to build bridges for communities has contributed to the completion of three goals including: promoting recycling and reducing waste; improving essential infrastructure for the community; and enhancing the image of the brand. This is a program that started in 2018 and so far has built two bridges in An Giang and Tien Giang provinces.

Most recently, the topic: "Research and application of biotechnology to process and improve the economic efficiency of maranta arundinacea products from trade villages" of the Institute of Biotechnology and Food Technology, Hanoi University of Science and Technology has been deployed. Accordingly, in the past, with about 35,000 hectares of maranta arundinacea, only 20% of starch was obtained, the remaining 80% was residue, sludge and water that could not be reused but was discharged directly into the environment, causing severe pollution in trade villages and surrounding areas. Now, with this research topic, Dr. Tran Lien Ha, head of the research team, said “Developing suitable treatment technology, separating the residues and sludge, making use of the waste source as the substrate for growing mushroom  and organic fertilizers will contribute to increasing the value of products from the surcharges, and at the same time reduce the costs for environmental treatment, thereby encouraging villagers to participate more actively in waste treatment and environmental protection."

The success of both projects is a clear testament to the benefits of the circular economy. Not only taking advantage of raw materials and reducing costs, but also protecting the environment, the circular economy has become a new direction for Vietnamese businesses, contributing to enhancing socio-economic development and improvement of the national competitiveness index.

According to Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) and Vice Chair of Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development (VBCSD), if adopting circular approach in designing, manufacturing and recycling goods, a circular economy will open up market opportunities worth at least US$4.5 trillion for businesses, and create hundreds of millions of new jobs. Therefore, Vietnamese enterprises cannot stand outside the circular economy.

In order to effectively implement the circular economy, in addition to close cooperation among ministries and industries in closely directing activities and completing the system of benchmarks and standards as bases, it is necessary to strengthen the linkage between institutes, schools, scientists and enterprises to soon focus on completing the appropriate waste recycling technology under the conditions of Vietnam.

Strategic consultant Do Thanh Nam:

The circular economy is a preeminent model, which not only generates profits but also solves environmental problems. The application of this model will help reduce waste, promote resource efficiency, contribute to solving the problem of resource scarcity, and improve the competitiveness of the economy.

In order to implement the circular economy effectively, enterprises need to be supported to deploy this economic model and they must have an ecosystem of a circular economy. At present, we do not have any specific and specialized laws on the circular economy, so promoting this model will require the participation and stronger support of State agencies.

Giang Tu