Circular Economy - Key to Comprehensive Sustainable Development

9:25:14 AM | 12/6/2021

In the context that the Fourth Industrial Revolution is taking place strongly, affecting all areas of social life, research to promote technological innovation and promote the circular economy model is an appropriate direction aimed to realize the goals of sustainable development.

Vital development trend

The circular economy has now become a vital development trend, not only for environmental goals, but also for economic goals.

Emphasizing the importance of the circular economy, President of the Vietnam Union of Science and Technology Associations Phan Xuan Dung said that the circular economy model will promote manufacturers and industries in industrial concentration areas, effectively use resources, minimize waste and emissions, and move towards a cleaner, greener economy; promote the greening of the distribution system and develop the national supply chain of environmentally friendly products and services; promote the development of environmental industry, waste recycling industry.

Facing the development trend of eco-friendly economic models in the world in the past few decades, Vietnam has a circular economy development roadmap. Currently, the National Action Program on Sustainable Production and Consumption for the period to 2020, with a vision to 2030, is the legal framework for a comprehensive approach to the contents and tasks of production and sustainable consumption.

Mr. Nguyen Quang Vinh, General Secretary of Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Executive Vice Chairman of Vietnam Board Director of the Office for Business Sustainable Development, said that, with the efforts of the Government and relevant agencies, the concept of circular economy has become close to the business community. However, the application of the circular economy model in Vietnam is still very difficult.

Explaining this problem, economic expert Do Thanh Nam said that as a developing economy, Vietnam has faced many challenges in transitioning to a circular economy. The current policy framework on developing Vietnam's circular economy model has not been completed. In addition, awareness of the circular economy and the need to switch to the development of a circular economy model is still limited. In addition, the resources for implementing the transition to circular economy development are still weak. Developing a circular economy requires a team of good experts. Moreover, Vietnam still lacks enterprises with technological capacity for recycling and reusing used products. It is difficult to immediately change the current society's habit of producing and consuming many products harmful for the environment.

For sustainable development, Vietnam needs to overcome its shortcomings and have an effective strategy to deploy the circular economic growth model.

Promoting circular economy for sustainable development goals

Recognizing the importance of circular economy development as well as Vietnam's commitment to sustainable economic development to the world, the country has interpreted seventeen global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) into 115 SDG targets in the “National Action Plan for Implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”. Accordingly, the business community is oriented toward sustainable development, in order to ensure long-term growth and enhance brand reputation.

According to experts, in order to exercise the circular economy model, it is first necessary to further raise awareness of manufacturers and the public about their responsibility for products throughout their life cycle.

In addition, enterprises also need to not only invest in the research and development of new environmentally friendly products, but also prioritize financial resources to transform production methods and access advanced technologies.

“In the context of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, research into technological innovation and promotion of the circular economy will bring higher growth efficiency. To develop a circular economy, it is necessary to build a team of good experts to effectively handle all stages in the production operation process, " Mr. Do Thanh Nam emphasized.

In Vietnam, a number of businesses have recently committed to following this trend. La Vie Company Limited and Nestlé Vietnam are committed to implementing plans to reduce the amount of virgin plastic in product packaging, reduce plastic footprint at the source and contribute to initiatives to collect the same amount of packaging on the market by 2025. Almost all La Vie products are now 100% recyclable. Earlier this year, La Vie became the first mineral water brand in Vietnam to use bottles made from recycled plastic (rPET) that met food packaging standards, encouraging domestic enterprises to invest in the production of recycled plastics to further accelerate the circular economy model, creating opportunities for recycling of bottles.

INSEE Vietnam also said it has invested more than US$30 million in pre-treatment and co-treatment of waste, thereby helping to reduce annual CO2 emissions into the environment by 25,000 tons. The company is also rated as the cement producer with the lowest clinker coefficient in the industry.

But first, according to economic expert Pham Chi Lan, in order to both revive businesses and achieve sustainable development goals, businesses must focus on fulfilling responsibilities in supply chains and deploying more effectively.

"Enterprises need to rely on technology, analytical capabilities and globalization to be flexible in business. Along with that is participating actively in combating the harmful effects of climate change and sustainable development," Ms. Pham Chi Lan emphasized.

In the current epidemic context, the Government's leading role is very important, and good disease control guidelines and policies from the Government will help businesses feel secure in their operations, thereby reinvesting for sustainable development.

By Giang Tu, Vietnam Business Forum