Formulating Policies for Circular Economy Development

10:32:55 AM | 4/22/2019

A car with frames and many other parts made from cloth and a pair of jeans made from waste fabric and plastic are just two of many ways businesses around the world are embracing opportunities from the circular economy. Vietnamese companies can capture this trend if they receive regulatory support.

In recent years, world economies have witnessed a shift from a traditional linear economy to a circular economy where waste - instead of being disposed, wasted and polluting the environment - will be “revived” in the form of different resources and return production and consumption processes. Research data showed that the circular economy will help ease the risk of future resource scarcity, solve environmental problems and open up the opportunity for adding US$4.5 trillion to the global GDP by 2030.

Besides, the circular economy brings a new perspective of market, customer and resource relationship, thus helping foster new innovative business models and disruptive technologies to enable businesses to achieve higher growth by cutting costs, reducing energy consumption and CO2 emissions, strengthening supply chains and conserving resources.

Many big global brands have pioneered in shifting into the circular economy in Vietnam. For example, pledging to collect, recycle and reuse 100% of plastic packaging waste from Unilever products by 2025, Unilever Vietnam has taken the lead in building and deploying source plastic waste sorting, collecting and recycling points in Ho Chi Minh City in 2018 and then scaling up this model nationwide.

Believing that each product package has its own value and its life cycle is not limited to the original purpose, Coca-Cola aims to support the collection and recycling of all of its plastic bottles sold by 2030. Coca-Cola Vietnam also chose the same way as Unilever, that is to say, building pilot systems for collecting and sorting plastic bottles in major cities to help raise public awareness about plastic waste management.

The circular economy is no longer a new concept but it has been transformed into business operations. This is a good signal. However, for most Vietnamese businesses, it is not easy to catch up with the transitioning train called the circular economy. To support the business community, VCCI-VBCSD has developed a business support program for deployment of the circular economy, aimed to provide policy recommendations for formation of the secondary material marketplace, introduce good business practices around the world to the domestic business community, and support the implementation of initiatives based on the public-private partnership (PPP) model. All in combination will further foster the involvement of businesses in building a carbon-zero economy, create more jobs for the labor market, improve the competitiveness of the private sector, capture business opportunities worth trillions of U.S. dollars generated by the circular economy, and soon realize the green growth strategy of the country.

We also kicked off communication plans and launched more projects such as Zero Waste to Nature Initiative and Vietnam Material Marketplace Project to generate persuasive foundations in practice.

Nonetheless, in order to realize these initiatives and make the circular economy an indispensable choice of enterprises, the government plays a crucial role. We will resolve sustainability challenges when thermal power plants, garment and textile, footwear or paper production factories have the vision and determination for change and innovation to catch up with the circular economy.

Nguyen Quang Vinh, Secretary General of VCCI and Vice Chair and Secretary General of VBCSD