A local green economy should be based around the manufacturing and sustainable agriculture sectors, environmental experts suggested at the “Green Economy and Sustainable Development” workshop held in northeastern Quang Ninh Province yesterday.
To ensure successful transition towards such an economy, defined by the United Nations Environmental Programme as low carbon, resource efficient and socially inclusive, Vietnam should invest in green technology to produce eco-friendly products and promote sustainable consumption, said Pham Van Loi, director of the Institute of Environmental Management.
He said the country should use a sectoral approach to ensure the green model is rolled out evenly amongst different areas of the economy, unlike the present haphazard situation, which has allowed for serious environmental pollution.
Professor Nguyen Dinh Tuan, from the HCM City Natural Resources and Environment University, in agreement, said integrating environmental factors into development planning was a vital step to achieve sustainable development and green growth.
He said the government has paid increasing attention to embrace environmentally inclusive principles. “For example, it is now mandatory to have environmental impact assessments in socio-economic development planning or construction planning, even though implementation at local level remains limited,” he added.
More than 2,500 people including officials from the southern province of Binh Duong, businesspeople and residents attended a ceremony on Sunday observing the World Environment Day with an event called “The Green Economy: Does it include you?”
This is the 5th consecutive year that the event is being organised by SetiaBecamex Co under the direction of the province’s People’s Committee, Department of Natural Resources and Environment and other relevant agencies.
At the ceremony, local businesses were honoured and recorded in the Green Book of 2012 for making significant contributions to environmental protection.
Tuan said it was the reason why the government should work on improving the integration process of environment factors in planning.
According to the National Environment Report, Vietnam has low-quality growth in terms of labour and natural resources while the contribution of science and technology remains limited.
He said to prepare for the new growth model, there was a need to invest heavily into science and technology to increase resource efficiency and productivity.
Tuan said if consumers went for green products, the market would consequently follow with producers providing eco-friendly goods.
Nguyen Danh Son, from the Vietnam Association for Conservation of Nature and Environment, said that to convince every actor in the economy to pursue the green growth model, there should be quantitative measures to reflect the benefits of going green.
“Many enterprises feel reluctant to pay environmental-related costs because they only see them as something that would reduce profit margins,” he said.
“They need scientists and policy-makers to tell a different story so they will be more willing to act.”
The workshop is part of activities celebrating World Environment Day today.