Circular economy boosts efficient use of natural resources: experts

26-Jul-2019 Intellasia | The Saigon Times | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Local producers should apply the circular economy model to reduce waste, make full use of natural resources, and help improve the competitiveness of the nation’s economy, according to experts at a workshop in HCM City today, July 24.

Held by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development and the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD), the workshop provided insights into the essential role of the circular economy to ensure sustainable development.

Though the concept of a circular economy has become increasingly popular in Vietnam, practical applications are still modest, especially in small- and medium-sized enterprises, according to Nguyen Quang Vinh, general Secretary of VCCI.

In the traditional linear economy, producers primarily exploit natural resources to create their products and services. Then, waste from production and consumption are buried or discharged into the environment, said Vinh.

Meanwhile, the circular economy is a sustainable alternative to the linear economy, in which producers use resources for as long as possible, extract the maximum value from them while in use, then recover and regenerate products and materials at the end of each service life.

The shift from a linear economy into a circular economy is also becoming a global trend, thanks to its economic benefits, said Nguyen Hoang Nam of the Institute of Strategy and Policy on Natural Resources and Environment under the MARD.

For example, according to Nam, eco-industrial parks in the northern province of Ninh Binh, the central coastal city of Danang and the Mekong Delta city of Can Tho, could save some $6.5 million annually by enacting a circular business model.

Nam said the government has adopted some relevant policies, such as laws on minerals, natural resources and the environment, along with the Vietnam Sustainable Development Strategy for the 2011-2020 period. However, a regulatory framework for the circular economy is still needed.

He added that his institute plans to formulate policies to carry out the circular economy in all activities, in an effort to boost green public spending and the use of environmentally friendly products.

Le Thi Ngoc My, head of sustainability at Heineken Vietnam, said many local firms are embarking on technical programmes, such as reuse, recycling and biodegradability.

Heineken Vietnam, a corporate leader in sustainability, has created initiatives to reduce the amount of waste and create value from waste. As a result, as high as 99 percent of waste and byproducts have been reused and recycled.

For instance, after the processing of wastewater, brewer’s grains, yeast and sediment are reused as feed and fertiliser. Other materials, such as glass bottles, paperboard, aluminum, plastics and paper, are also reused and recycled.

Currently, four out of the brewer’s six plants are using thermal energy from renewable energy and biomass fuels, leading to some 2,500 tonnes of carbon dioxide emission reductions in logistics just last year, by optimising transport operations.

According to experts, sustainable development is a key focus for Vietnam to ensure long-term socio-economic growth and improve the nation’s competitiveness.

The government has shown a strong commitment to sustainable development through specific actions, whose aims are to meet the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.


Category: Economy, Vietnam

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