Circular Economy - Sustainable Approach for Vietnamese Businesses

10:07:04 AM | 3/11/2020

The circular economy is an inevitable choice for Vietnam to overcome limitations of the traditional growth model. Circular economy development helps Vietnam avoid dependence on outside economies, especially on raw materials and fuels for production.

According to the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the circular economy is a closed cycle of production where waste is recycled to become an input for new production, thus reducing all negative impacts on the environment and protecting the ecosystem and human health. The circular economy brings four basic benefits by making the most of resources: Economizing resources, protecting the environment, promoting economic development, and generating social benefits. The circular economy development is gradually becoming a trend for all nations, especially developed countries where resources are limited, and as the world's resources are increasingly depleted.

Speaking at the Workshop on “Circular economy: Sustainable approach for Vietnamese businesses”, Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Tran Quoc Phuong affirmed that Vietnam is one of the countries making a lot of effort for sustainable development, and has achieved many important results. However, Vietnam is also facing an increasing amount of generated waste while the source of materials and fossil fuels is increasingly exhausted. Adopting the circular economy model will help Vietnamese businesses achieve their sustainable production and consumption goals. The transition to a circular economy is a great opportunity for Vietnam to develop rapidly and sustainably, not only achieving its economic, social, environmental and climate goals, but also helping realize the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Sharing the same point of view, Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said, the circular economy is also a solution to improve the competitiveness and resilience of each economic platform. The transformation also helps protect supply security, respond to climate change and foster innovation.

He added that although the public awareness of the circular economy and its benefits is clear and improved, most waste is still dumped into nature, environmental problems have not been resolved, and resources are exhausted. This reality requires a transition to a more rational economy. The circular economy is the future of business, the future of manufacturing and business activity.

“Every business needs to gradually adopt the circular economy by themselves and this is a practical action to achieve green growth and mitigate environmental pollution and climate change,” Mr. Vinh emphasized.

Mr. Tran Quoc Trung, Deputy Director of Economic Zones Management Department under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, affirmed that circular economy is the future of business. Vietnam has been mobilizing domestic and international resources to scale up the green-field industrial zone model across the country, build new green-field industrial zones and convert conventional industrial zones into green-field industrial zones. Priority is given to completing the regulatory system and guidance for implementation of green-field industrial zones (circulars and handbooks), and building a database to support green-field industrial zone development.

Regarding opportunities and challenges of the circular economy, Dr. Nguyen The Chinh, former Director of the Institute of Natural Resources and Environment Policy under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, said Vietnam has many opportunities to develop the circular economy. For example, the world is pursuing the circular economy trend; Vietnam is completing the socialist-oriented market economy institution; encouraging and creating a mechanism for the development of the private economy; Vietnam has been moving towards the Industry 4.0; facing pressures of resource shortage, environmental pollution and waste increase; and the circular economy development is socially consented and supported.

He also pointed out development challenges of the circular economy: Right understanding of the nature of the circular economy; circular economy aligned with technological innovation and designing; the absence of a legal corridor and a set of criteria to identify circular economy; coordinated sharing and cooperation of stakeholders in circular economy development; the shortage of qualified experts; and waste sorting and cleansing before being reused or recycled.

Therefore, in order to develop the circular economy in Vietnam, there is a need for having a clear legal corridor, conducting extensive research and developing the circular economy. Besides, it is necessary to create a mechanism to form market momentum; increase exchanges and knowledge from international experiences combined with high technology and Industrial Revolution 4.0; develop the circular economy with a roadmap and priority. Vietnam needs to sort waste at source.

Ms. Le Thi Ngoc My, Head of Sustainability at Heineken Vietnam Company

Circular economy practices have brought benefits to both business and society, especially local people affected by the circular economy. To cope with climate change, the company actively carries out the circular economy, takes part in environmental protection and pursues sustainable development. Heineken has almost no waste needed to be landfilled because 99% of the waste is reused and recycled during the production cycle.

Currently, five out of six Heineken factories are using renewable energy. In 2019, the company purchased 40,000 tons of rice husks, agricultural products and by-products for production for VND52.6 billion from local people.

Source: Vietnam Business Forum