Vietnam promotes circular economy

International Business News  –  Vietnam reportedly pledged to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. In order to achieve the above goals, in addition to political determination, Vietnam must develop a policy framework and take practical actions to attract and call for the participation of all economic sectors, ministries, industries, and localities.

At COP26, countries made strong commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, with the goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050 and keeping Earth’s temperature rise below 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Among them, the conversion of fossil energy into clean, renewable energy is a key measure. However, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation (a UK-registered charity promoting the circular economy), the energy transition and saving, efficient use of energy only contributes 55% to the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions, with the remaining 45% in the circular economy solution.

In addition, applying principles such as waste and pollution removal, product and material recycling, natural regeneration, etc, in a circular economy model will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions in industry, agriculture. Specifically, reducing and removing waste and pollution will reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the value chain; by recycling and capturing energy contained in products and materials; and natural regeneration will help sequester and capture carbon.

The Ellen MacArthur Foundation also calculates and gives an illustrative example that by 2050, the world can reduce waste by eliminating waste from buildings and construction, sharing more of the purpose of buildings, reusing and recycling building materials, etc. Emissions from building materials are reduced by 38%. Similarly, food system emissions could be halved by 2050 through agricultural recycling measures.

The Minister of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam said that compared with the traditional linear economic model, promoting actions under the circular economy model will help achieve the promise of net zero emissions and will bring many benefits to the country and businesses. The development of a circular economy underscores the country’s responsibility to address the global challenges posed by environmental pollution and climate change; while enhancing economic capacity and competitiveness.

In Vietnam, building a green, circular and environment-friendly economy has been incorporated into the party’s proposition, line, and national policies and laws. However, the transition from a linear economic model to a circular economy will initially face certain difficulties, as mechanisms and policies to promote resources are still lacking in Vietnam, and recycling and reuse technologies are still limited.

In order to sustainably develop a circular economy, first of all, Vietnam needs to refine the provisions of the 2020 Environmental Protection Law, especially with regard to producers and distributors based on the number of products sold in the market, project management based on the life cycle, establishing relationships with the region development and application of comparable environmental standards (emissions and technologies) in advanced countries and the provision of roadmaps for responsibilities for recycling, sorting, recycling or paying for waste disposal.

Continue to introduce preferential mechanisms and policies to encourage and support the promotion of environmental protection industries including recycling industries; Incorporate circular economy into development strategies, plans and programs for urban areas, industrial parks, export processing zones, thermoelectric centers, etc, based on models such as circular, non-emission of waste, gas and water waste.

Environmental experts believe that in the process of developing a circular economy, it is necessary to formulate a roadmap for replacing fuels, products using hazardous materials, and disposable products by using environmentally friendly fuels and materials, products that are used multiple times, and extending the service life of products; According to the circular, no-waste, gas and water waste models incorporate circular economy into development strategies, plans for urban areas, industrial parks, export processing zones, thermal power centers, etc.

For the corporate world, innovative thinking, designing production models in the direction of enhancing the use of fully recyclable products; strengthening resource recovery from second-hand products, and extending product life through recycling, reuse, upgrading, updating and redesign; promoting R & D cooperation, through the common consumption situation to achieve consumer docking, improve product use efficiency. Publicity to raise awareness of the business community and the people’s responsibility towards circular economy, as well as the responsibility to separate and recycle waste at source; change consumers’ behavior towards environmentally friendly products.

The Vice Chairman of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) suggested that Vietnam should develop mechanisms and policies to encourage the transition to a circular economy model, which requires government support in finance, infrastructure, human resources, information, etc. Transition to efficient circular economy for enterprises, industries and fields; a standard system must be established to evaluate and affirm the efforts of enterprises in the application of circular economy in accordance with international practices and the actual situation in Vietnam; at the same time, timely and effective encouragement, praise, recognition and promotion of good models.