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United front

Released at: 06:39, 05/12/2014

United front

A new project hopes to bring like-minded companies together at industrial zones to cut emissions and waste for the benefit of the environment.

by Nguyen Quynh

Sustainable development and environmental protection are the main aims of the “Implementation of the Eco-Industrial Parks Initiative for Sustainable Industrial Zone in Vietnam” project, whose total budget is around $53 million.

Reducing greenhouse gas emission by about 182,000 tons per year, cutting waste water by 6 million cu m per year and ensuring that the quality of waste water reaches international standards are targets within the project, as are promoting the transfer, application and dissemination of technologies and cleaner production methods to minimize hazardous waste, greenhouse gas emission and water pollutants, and to properly manage chemicals in industrial zones throughout the country. 

Over recent years economic zones have contributed positively to socio-economic development in Vietnam, but their rapid growth has created a number of challenges for the environment, requiring the establishment of a new development model that is more sustainable and friendly towards the environment and the surrounding community. The project was therefore approved in an effort to convert existing economic zones into eco-industrial zones as part of the National Strategy for Green Growth. The project will be implemented over a period of three years in the cities of Hanoi, Da Nang, Can Tho and Ninh Binh, with financing from the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Environment Fund (GEF), and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO). 

Eco-industrial parks are complexes of many companies close together, like an ecosystem. All will cooperate with each other and with the local community in an attempt to cut waste and pollution, efficiently share resources, such as information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure, and natural resources, and help achieve sustainable development, with the intention of increasing economic gains and improving environmental quality. An eco-industrial park may also be planned, designed, and built in such a way that makes it easier for businesses to cooperate and results in a more financially-sound, environmentally-friendly project for the developer. There many kinds of eco-industrial zones, for instance agricultural eco-industrial zones and renewable resource eco-industrial parks.

Although applied for a long time in countries such as Denmark, Thailand and Japan, eco-industrial parks are new to Vietnam. The country’s industrial zones have played an important role in its economic development and created more than 2 million jobs. However, they have developed too quickly to control the associated environmental issues, according to Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen The Phuong. “The implementation of the eco-industrial park project is therefore urgent, contributing to curbing environmental pollution at industrial parks and building sustainable industry,” he said. 

The project is expected to increase the technical competence of State management agencies in charge of economic zones and enterprises situated within them, by transferring technologies and applying clean and low-carbon technologies as well as safe and resource-efficient production methods, and raising community awareness about eco-industrial park development. According to Mr. Tran Huy Dong, Director General of the Bureau for Economic Zones Management under the Ministry of Planning and Investment, there are at least 45 potential enterprises in economic zones in Ninh Binh, Da Nang and Can Tho that would be capable of participating in applying clean and resource-efficient technologies. “After piloting some economic zones, the project will be expanded throughout the country,” Mr. Dong said.

Facts & Figures

$370 million will be invested by global snack leader Mondelz International to buy an 80 per cent stake in Kinh Do Corporation’s snack business, if Vietnam’s largest confectioner wins approval from its shareholders in December. 

$120 million was invested by Honda Vietnam to build its third motorcycle factory, in northern Ha Nam province. The factory is expected to become one of the most technologically-advanced in the field in the world, on over 270,000 square meters at the Dong Van II Industrial Park and comprising seven workshops capable of producing 500,000 units a year.

$95 million has been invested by Japan’s AEON to build a shopping mall at the Vietnam Singapore Industrial Park in southern Binh Duong province, which was officially opened on November 1. With hundreds of specialty stores, boutiques, entertainment sites, restaurants and retail outlets anchoring the complex, the mall is expected to attract 30,000 visitors daily and 70,000 on weekends.

$80 million was invested by the US-based investment group Global Emerging Markets (GEM) in stocks of the Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) Group. The two expect to complete the deal within three months. GEM plans to pour $200 million into Vietnam and the investment in HAGL is the largest part of this investment pledge.

$56.4 million has come from the Masan Consumption Joint Stock Company of the Masan Group to build the Northern Masan Food Industry Center in the north-central province of Nghe An. The center covers 6.33 hectares at the Nam Cam Industrial Zone in Nghi Xa commune, Nghi Loc district, and consists of factories specializing in producing instant food, spices, and beverages.
  
$50 million will be invested by the TAL Group to build a garment factory in the northern province of Vinh Phuc. To be built on 8 ha, the factory is expected to be open by September next year and will produce 12 million shirts for export annually.
 
$18.7 million has been invested by Panasonic Eco Solutions Vietnam Co. to build a new factory at the Vietnam - Singapore Industrial Park II in southern Binh Duong province, as part of their plans to expand production of wiring devices and circuit breakers.
 
$9 million will be invested by the Itochu Corporation, a multi-industry Japanese concern, to buy a 5 per cent stake in Vinatex, Vietnam’s largest textile company, the Japanese newspaper Nikkei has reported. Itochu is the first non-financial Japanese company to invest in a Vietnamese State-owned enterprise. 

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