VNCPC – A key factor in promoting application of resource efficient and cleaner production across Vietnam

In order to contribute to sustainable industrial development in the period of industrialization of Vietnam, 1998, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam signed a MOU to implement projects “Vietnam Clean Production Centre” – VNCPC and “Promoting new services on cleaner production in Vietnam through VNCPC” with the financial support of State Secretariat for Economic Affairs.

The mission of VNCPC is to disseminate and promote the application of “Cleaner Production” (CP) concept into practical industries of Vietnam. In the projects, Ministry of Education and Training of Vietnam assigned Hanoi University of Science and Technology (HUST) to be leading partner and School of Environmental Science and Technology (INEST) to be implementing partner.

Throughout 20 years of operation, VNCPC has trained and nudged a network of CP experts, offered capacity building and technical support to more than 1000 factories. In addition, VNCPC in close collaboration with authorities under Ministry of Resources and Environment of Vietnam and Ministry of Industry and Trade of Vietnam has raised awareness on CP in industry, maintained National Roundtable on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) and provided support to enterprises to achieve their objectives that were designed in the framework of projects in which they participated, especially the objectives relating to Cleaner Production Strategy in industry towards 2020.

In 2015, UNIDO and Ministry of Planning and Investment of Vietnam placed confidence in VNCPC to be consulting firm in Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) within the project “Implementation of Eco-Industrial Park Initiative for Sustainable industrial zones in Vietnam” funded by Global Environment Fund and State Secretariat for Economic Affairs from 2015 to 2017. The role of VNCPC is to provide capacity building on RECP and RECP assessment instruction to enterprises in three industrial zones: Khanh Phu (Ninh Binh), Hoa Khanh (Da Nang) and Tra Noc 1&2 (Can Tho).

To carry out the mission, VNCPC has examined every enterprise’s condition then applied CP and RECP that have been summarized from practical demonstrations as well as the integration of CP and Energy Efficiency, Corporate Social Responsibility, Sustainable Consumption and Production, Sustainable Product Innovation lessons learnt from Vietnam and RECPnet by UNIDO-UNEP.

RECP programs that have been deployed in 23 enterprises from January to August 2016 have resulted in initial significant achievements in improving energy, water and material efficiency, which has contributed to bring about economic benefits and environmental impacts minimization.


 VNCPC expert was conducting RECP assessment at company

Table on compact results of RECP program at enterprises in 3 target industrial zones of the project



Activities Solution


Khanh Phu Industrial Park,

Ninh Binh


Hoa Khanh Industrial Park,

Da Nang


Tra Noc I & II Industrial Park,

Can Tho


1 Number of company




2 Number of trained staff




3 Number of RECP options




4 Number of investment project




5 Number of in progress project




6 Economic Benefits

(Exchange rate 1USD = 22,300 VND)

Save 76.816 USD per year because of reduce coal, gas, water, electric energy consumption rate, 72,45% saving from electric energy. Save 279.597 USD per year because of reduce coal, fire wood, materials, electric energy consumption rate,63% saving  from electric energy. Save 376.326 USD per year because of reduce water and electric energy consumption rate, 84% saving from electrical energy.
7 Environmental Benefits Reduce COemission: 726 ton per year Reduce COemission:    1.625 ton per year Reduce COemission:    2.458 ton per years

According to VNCPC experts, loss of energy in productions at the enterprises is quite big. To address this, the enterprises should set high priority to implement solutions in regards of management and technology and machines innovation investment. These solutions are able to contribute to not only cut down production costs but also reduce environmental burdens and improve labors’ working conditions.

On the other hand, a good sign is that some of the enterprises have showed their commitments through actively investing in technology innovation towards cleaner production, which is a key to the success of the project.

By the practice of RECP assessment at the industrial zones, the enterprises are not only able to recognize their potentials to enhance production performance and environment protection but also provide base information of waste and exchange opportunities, circulating, recycling and reusing of waste. This is a good foundation for the development of eco-industrial zone models that are compatible with local natural and economic conditions and technical levels.

Industrial zones are considered as areas with variety of advantages for RECP replication into industry, helping disseminate about benefits of this approach and gradually enhance competitiveness of enterprises specifically and industrial zones generally. The approach, also, offers an opportunity to make a transition from conventional model of industrial zones to the eco-industrial zone model, which ensures sustainable economic growth of Vietnam industrial zones without compromising the quality of environment and society.

On the occasion of 50 years’ anniversary of UNIDO, VNCPC would like to express our gratitude to UNIDO for its remarkable cooperation with INEST, HUST throughout the mentioned projects and empowering VNCPC on our achievements today.

Ass.Prof Tran Van Nhan – Director of VNCPC Co.Ltd


Theo Admin

UNIDO celebrates its 50th anniversary

Did you know that in Viet Nam, the net flow of foreign direct investment increased from USD1billion in 2003 to USD10 billion in 2008, and that by 2015 reached USD23 billion?  Or that the total value of exports rose from USD2 billion in 1990 to USD72 billion in 2010, to reach USD162 billion in 2015? These impressive figures highlight the country’s robust economic success, providing a boost to the economy and employment.

These accomplishments are largely due to the reforms undertaken by Viet Nam since Doi Moi in 1986 which liberalized the economy, attracted foreign investment, fostered exports and reduced poverty. To prepare for reform, Viet Nam received extensive technical assistance from the international community, including from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), well before 1986 and, more precisely, since 1978.

For more than 35 years, UNIDO has been sharing international best practices to help Viet Nam develop inclusive and sustainable industry. With more than USD100 million in expenditure, UNIDO’s technical cooperation activities have been carried out across a broad range of fields, including support to the private sector and technical and industrial research organizations, facilitation of technology transfer, trade capacity-building, human resource development, environmental protection, energy efficiency, investment promotion and responsible business practices.

The aim of UNIDO’s programme is to assist the Government in achieving sustainable and equitable social and economic development. Multi-dimensional partnerships have been developed with Viet Nam’s ministries in charge of industry, trade, planning, investment, agriculture, science and technology, and the environment, and with the Chambers of Commerce and Industry, business associations, universities and UNIDO’s centres.

UNIDO has focused its assistance on the preparation and implementation of industrial and trade development strategies and policies, for example industrial sector surveys, industrial sub-sector policies, foreign and domestic investment policies and legislation. UNIDO has also improved the capacity of the General Statistical Office. Another aim has been to foster the development of local suppliers of professional services for industrial development, and strengthen the capacity of every kind of business association.

The mechanisms for technology transfer differ considerably between centrally-planned economies and market economies. In Viet Nam, UNIDO has acted as a catalyst, facilitator and initiator of the technology transfer process. Furthermore, UNIDO has facilitated contact between Vietnamese and foreign enterprises through technical exhibitions, seminars, investment promotion, and information networks.

On environmental issues, one priority area for UNIDO has been cleaner production and energy efficiency. UNIDO has supported country endeavours through policy advice, information on the availability and choice of clean technology, and promotional programmes, as well as environment and energy audits.

Human capital investments are prominent in virtually all the success stories of East Asia. Educational expenditure is fundamental but the private sector’s participation is also important. UNIDO-supported services can be classified in three categories: (i) assistance in preparing strategies, policies and plans for industrial human resource development; (ii) strengthening of institutional capacity for industrial human resource development (training of trainers); and (iii) training geared directly to groups of enterprises or industrial sub-sectors.

UNIDO has achieved outstanding project results in Viet Nam, and I would like to highlight just a few of them:

  • The UNIDO Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre, which started its activities at the end of 1998, has served as a major driver of Viet Nam’s sustainable industrial production pathway.
  • UNIDO has supported Viet Nam’s pre-ratification assessment of the Minamata Convention to control mercury in products and avoid unnecessary health hazards to people and the environment.
  • To help the country address the challenge of reducing energy intensity, UNIDO has developed the first-ever comprehensive plan to institute measures for improving industrial energy-efficiency and conservation.
  • Viet Nam became the WTO’s 150th member in 2007, and since then UNIDO has helped Viet Nam to conform to international standards and win access to markets. Product quality and standard issues are one of the biggest challenges for Viet Nam’s international economic i
  • For over 15 years, UNIDO has been privileged to partner with the Government in the field of business registration reform. UNIDO’s assistance has addressed obstacles faced by entrepreneurs in completing start-up registration procedures. In particular, it helped with the implementation of the Enterprise Laws of 2005 and 2014 and the simplification of registration procedures. In 2010, the Agency for Business Registration was established and, in the same year, the National Business Registration System was launched. The data of 574,535 existing enterprises has been transferred and, as of December 2015, 477,235 new enterprises had been registered. The statutory time-limit for business registration has been reduced from 15 to just three days.

The recently agreed 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development presents us with global and ambitious goals which address all three dimensions of sustainable development − economic, environmental and social. These goals and targets are also complemented by the Paris Agreement, adopted by 195 countries last December. This agreement – the first ever universal, legally binding global climate deal − commits us to limiting global temperature rise to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

Sustainable Development Goal 9 of the 2030 Agenda recognizes the relevance of inclusive and sustainable industrialization for poverty eradication, and echoes UNIDO’s mandate of inclusive and sustainable industrial development. With regard to Viet Nam, UNIDO sees two major issues for the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 9. Firstly, how can the recent trade liberalization and economic and productive restructuring benefit Vietnamese companies? Secondly, how can industrial policy and strategies be re-formulated to take account of national priorities, as well as of global threats and opportunities, including the building of linkages among industrial sectors to increase the manufacturing value added of existing products and to enter new and more dynamic sectors.

The current global setting is far different from that of the 1990s. Viet Nam is now part of a bigger game, from which it has passed the point of no return with the signing of key trade deals in 2015.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade agreement holds considerable potential. Viet Nam could be the greatest beneficiary of the 13-nation deal, with a boost of Vietnam’s gross domestic product by as much as 8 per cent over the next two decades. The signing of another free trade agreement with the European Union will eliminate 99 per cent of tariffs on traded goods over a 10-year period.

Viet Nam is also likely to be a major partner of the new ASEAN Economic Community (AEC).The creation of the AEC, together with Viet Nam’s rise as an industrial and technological production centre, are expected to support higher levels of intra-bloc trade and investment.

In this new context, UNIDO will continue to work with Viet Nam to promote restructuring and modernization to enhance quality and competitiveness. We will focus on key industries and those industries having comparative advantages and strategic significance for fast, effective and sustainable development and the greater independence and self-reliance of the economy.

UNIDO is keen to support Viet Nam’s inclusive and sustainable industrial development strategy, and believes that, by 2035, Viet Nam’s economy will be inclusive, with a focus on women and youth, and with specialized industries meeting international standards in terms of technology and product quality, participating in the global value chain, using energy efficiently, and competing fairly in integrated global markets.


LI Yong

UNIDO Director General

Source: UNIDO Vietnam

How Asia can clean up its waste problem

What are the key barriers to better waste management and resource efficiency in Asia? This year’s Macao International Environmental Co-operation Forum & Exhibition shines a spotlight on ways governments and business leaders can tackle Asia’s waste challenge.

Chinese workers manually sort and recycle plastic bottles in Shanghai, China. Experts say that China has the potential to lead Asia – and possibly the world – in adopting circular economy business models, which reduce resource wastage. Image: Trial /

China is now the largest economy in the world, but this record-breaking growth has put unprecedented stress on the country’s pollution control, transport, and waste management infrastructure.

The country’s energy consumption per unit of gross domestic product (GDP) is more than twice that of the world average, and a similar pattern is seen in the consumption of other resources such as steel, cement and other raw materials, according to the World Resources Institute (WRI).

But while these growing pains are acutely felt in China, the rest of Asia’s developing countries are also all too familiar with the industrial contamination, water and land pollution, and indiscriminate waste dumping resulting from poorly managed economic development.

Asia’s waste management woes are undermining public health and safety, worsening the quality of life for citizens, and reducing the land available for cities to expand, say experts, adding that failure to address them could slow economic growth and undermine people’s well-being.

This is why the Macao International Environmental Co-Operation Forum & Exhibition 2016 (2016MIECF) – an annual sustainability mega-event – is focusing on the policy and technical solutions needed for better waste management in Asia, and the economic benefits of adopting these measures.

“The quantity of solid waste has been increasing rapidly in China and other developing countries in the region,” says the 2016MIECF organiser. “Waste Management is a critical issue that affects various aspects of society, the economy, and the environment.”

Macao is perhaps better known as a tourism destination, but its strategic location in the Pearl River Delta – a key growth hub in China and one of the world’s most densely populated regions – also presents an opportunity for the Chinese special administrative territory to emerge as a sustainability leader in China and the rest of Asia.

The three-day event, organised by the Macao government and themed Green Economy – Opportunities for Waste Management, aims to bring together top business and government officials from the region for a series of conference sessions, networking opportunities, and exhibitions to highlight new tools and ideas for better waste management.

Reducing waste, increasing profits
Torben Kristiansen, vice-president of waste and contaminated sites at Danish consultancy COWI, who will be speaking at the event, says that the root cause of Asia’s waste problems is the poor organisation of government policies and national waste management infrastructure.

In Kristiansen’s home country of Denmark, less than four per cent of all waste is sent to the landfill. Everything else is recycled or incinerated for energy. This is also the case across other Northern European countries including Sweden, Austria, Belgium, and The Netherlands.

This so-called “multi-stream” waste infrastructure is the result of careful policy planning, bold decisions to charge waste management fees to fund infrastructure and the means to enforce things like fee collection or recycling laws.

“Without this structure in place, even fancy, expensive technologies will fail or prove a lot less efficient than planned,” says Kristiansen.

There are two key misconceptions that hamper the development of a sustainable and multi-streamed waste management system in Asia’s emerging economies, says Kristiansen.

“First, the belief that technology is the answer to waste problems; and second, an unwillingness to pay for an advanced waste management system,” he notes.

To effectively manage Asia’s growing amounts of municipal and industrial waste, “countries should focus on perfecting organisational details like logistics, regulations, financial mechanisms such as investments and taxes, and enforcement measures,” says Kristiansen.

“Countries should focus on perfecting organisational details like logistics, regulations, financial mechanisms such as investments and taxes, and enforcement measures.” According to Torben Kristiansen, vice president of waste and contaminated sites, COWI

In addition to government efforts, the private sector also has a role to play in achieving zero-waste in Asia. One emerging business model with huge potential in the waste industry is the circular economy, says Swiss Professor Walter Stahel, widely regarded as one of the founding fathers of the field.

The circular economy system aims to be regenerative – that is, it keeps resources in use for as long as possible by finding ways to recover them at the end of a product’s life cycle, after which it gets reused, recycled or remanufactured.

The economic benefits of the circular economy go far beyond its ability to help save on buying virgin natural resources, says Stahel, who will deliver the keynote speech at 2016MIECF.

The circular economy can create new jobs without needing to rely on the extraction of natural resources, and also increase a country’s economic competitiveness, he says.

But although Asia has traditionally been a hub for reusing and repairing goods – with informal services such as garment repair and tyre restoration common throughout the region – the formal circular economy has been slow to take off, notes Stahel.

This is because firstly, the circular economy is not a political priority among the region’s policymakers, and second, companies have little incentive to innovate more resource-efficient business models because a growing middle class means that there is no shortage of demand for their wares – and hence, there is no impetus to innovate new, circular ideas.

But if businesses and governments commit to integrating circular economy concepts into their working models, “quantum leaps in competitiveness are possible,” says Stahel, who is the brain behind key industry concepts like ‘cradle to cradle’ and ‘performance economy’.

In cradle to cradle, or C2C manufacturing, goods are made, dismantled and re-made into new products while in the performance economy, also known as the “goods as services” system, companies sell the utility offered by an object to customers, not the item itself.

For example, tyre manufacturer Michelin sells mileage to customers, not tyres. When a tyre is no longer roadworthy, it replaces them for clients, and restores the tyres in its own workshops.

Leading Asia towards zero waste
China especially should not ignore the economic potential of these resource-efficient and cost-effective ideas, a recent report by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Hong Kong think tank Fung Global Institute suggests.

According to the report, China has the potential to “lead the adoption of circular economies in Asia, and possibly globally”.

The circular economy’s boost to competitiveness – and China’s pole position to achieve a circular industrial system – is likely to be welcome news for the country, which ranks 28th on the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index 2015-2016 despite being the world’s biggest economy.

Kristiansen and Stahel, along with other international speakers, will be sharing their technical and policy expertise on waste issues at the upcoming 2016MIECF, which will be held from 31 March to 2 April at the Venetian Macao-Resort-Hotel.

Macao’s government, driven by a strategic aim to nurture green business practices and knowledge-sharing among the companies operating in the region, has organised MIECF every year since 2008. Last year’s event attracted over 7,200 participants from 59 countries and regions.

2016MIECF’s conference segment will feature experts from 11 countries speaking on issues ranging from manufacturing strategies to green hospitality; and more than 400 exhibitors from 19 countries will showcase the latest environmental products and services at the 2016MIECF trade show and exhibition.

Conference participants will also have access to a slew of networking and business matching activities across the three days of the event. These include the Green Building Industry Networking session and the Pan-Pearl River Delta Environmental Technology Exchange, among others.

The conference is a timely opportunity for Asia’s leaders to act on the urgent need to step up waste management efforts, says the 2016MIECF organizer.


World’s coal power plants consume enough freshwater to sustain 1 billion people – Greenpeace

The world’s rapidly dwindling freshwater resources could be further depleted if plans for hundreds of new coal power plants worldwide go ahead, threatening severe drought and competition, according to a new Greenpeace International report.


The report is the first global plant-by-plant study of the coal industry’s current and future water demand. The research also identifies the regions that are already in water deficit, where existing and proposed coal plants would speed up the depletion of water resources.

“If all the proposed coal plants would be built the water consumed by coal power plants around the world would almost double. We now know that coal not only pollutes our skies and fuels climate change, it also deprives us of our most precious resources: water,” said Harri Lammi, senior global campaigner on coal at Greenpeace East Asia.

Globally, 8,359 existing coal power plant units already consume enough water to meet the basic water needs of 1 billion people. A quarter of the proposed new coal plants are planned in regions already running a freshwater deficit, where water is used faster than it is naturally replenishing, which Greenpeace calls red-list areas.

The top countries with proposed additional coal plant capacity in red-list areas are China (237 GW), India (52 GW) and Turkey (7 GW).  Almost half of the proposed Chinese coal fleet is in red-list areas. In India and Turkey this figure is 13%.

Coal is one of the most water-intensive methods of generating electricity. According to the International Energy Agency, coal will account for 50% of the growth in global water consumption for power generation over the next 20 years. Greenpeace research shows that if the proposed coal plants come online, their consumption of water will increase by 90%. Given the deepening water crisis in the major coal power bases, it is unbelievable that plans for hundreds of new coal plants are even being considered.

“Governments must recognise that replacing coal with renewable energy will not only help them deliver on their climate agreements, but also deliver huge water savings. It’s more urgent than ever that we move towards a 100% renewable future,” said Iris Cheng, lead author of the Greenpeace International report.

Greenpeace proposes three key policy steps, which, taken together, can turn around the coal industry’s water use:

  • An immediate moratorium on coal expansion in regions with high water stress, and a transition from thirsty coal to energy that uses little or no water, like solar PV and wind.
  • Replacing the planned coal plants in the red-list areas with renewable energy, such as solar PV and wind power, would avoid consumption of 1.8 billion cubic metres of water per year in China, and 1.2 billion cubic meters per year in India.
  • Closing plants that have been operating for 40 years. The US could save a staggering 9 billion cubic meters of water by shutting down its old coal power plants.