Biochar still lacks policy mechanisms to “green” the agricultural sector

With diverse and abundant raw materials for production, biochar has great application in the agricultural sector. It helps to capture CO2 in the atmosphere and contributes to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, there is still a lack of policy mechanisms to promote the commercialization of this product.

On March 18, 2024, in Hanoi, the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) coordinated with the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) and Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Company Limited (VNCPC) organized “Consultation workshop on policy review and recommendation report to promote biochar production and use in Vietnam”. The workshop attracted the participation of nearly 30 delegates from representatives of ministries and branches, representatives of units under the MARD, associations, businesses, and national experts.

“Consultation workshop on policy review and recommendation report to promote biochar production and use in Vietnam”  was held in Hanoi, attracting the participation of nearly 30 delegates

Biochar: Cheap raw material – big benefits

At the workshop, Mr. Vu Thanh Liem, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department (MARD) said that biochar is an environmentally friendly product, brings high economic benefits when used and is considered a “black gold” in the agricultural sector. In particular, biochar also can absorb about 50% of CO2 in the atmosphere, contributing to a significant reduction in GHG emissions in general and in agriculture.

Mr. Vu Thanh Liem, Deputy Director of the International Cooperation Department (MARD)

Regarding raw materials for biochar production in Vietnam, it is currently very abundant and diverse, most of which are agricultural by-products such as peanut shells, sugarcane bagasse, rice husks, coconut shells, cocoa shells, durian shells… to forest exploitation waste products can be used. In the past, these materials were often burned, causing environmental pollution, or used at very low value.

Putting these materials into biochar production not only solves environmental problems but also helps create jobs for rural labors. More importantly, biochar is also a source of organic fertilizer that helps improve soil and enhance sustainable crop productivity, which can replace chemical fertilizers.

Ms. Le Thi Thanh Thao, Country Representative at UNIDO Vietnam Country Office also said: In 2022, UNIDO coordinated with the MARD and VNCPC to organize 02 technical events on biochar and its benefits in protecting soil resources, living environment and human health, contributing to the sustainable development of Vietnam.

Ms. Le Thi Thanh Thao, Country Representative at UNIDO Vietnam Country Office

There are still barriers

According to the general assessment of the delegates: The benefits of biochar are becoming more and more known and receiving the attention of relevant parties, from research, production, trade, and practical application. However, there is still a lack of regulations on standardization and quality control of biochar products, a lack of cooperation and interaction between relevant parties, and pyrolysis technology for biochar production has not been recognized as a green technology… These factors are crucial drivers to promote biochar products to be more widely applied in life.

The representative of the UNIDO hopes that the knowledge and experience from experts will provide useful and updated information on the field of biochar in Vietnam, not only in terms of technique but also in terms of policy. On this basis, the organizing unit will receive and provide comments and consultations for the “Report on review and policy recommendations to promote biochar production and use in Vietnam”.

Ms. Do Thi Diu – VNCPC officer shared information about the project and pyrolysis technology

During the workshop, delegates also asked questions to learn more about the applications of biochar, contributed more information about policies, provided comments, and proposed additional research with more information to help develop regulations on quality control standards for biochar. Ministries and trade promotion agencies were also very interested and proposed developing pilot models using pyrolysis technology to create biochar for agricultural enterprises and cooperatives.

Through this meeting, the MARD, other ministries, UNIDO, and partners will coordinate to build a biochar working group including policymakers, researchers, manufacturers/businesses, trade promotion agencies/certification organizations, and users… to improve interaction between relevant parties in promoting production, business, and developing the biochar market, aiming to build a green, clean and sustainable agriculture.

At this conference, the website, an online information repository about biochar in Vietnam, was officially introduced. It was established under the financial support of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) through UNIDO to share and disseminate knowledge, lessons, and initiatives in biochar research, production, and trade activities over the country.

Mr. Le Viet Hien – Representative of the unit receiving the transfer of the small-scale pyrolysis system in Vietnam

In Vietnam, Vina Viet Hien Company Limited is the only unit that has received technology transfer from Switzerland and successfully manufactured a pilot small-scale pyrolysis system for the cooperative model. With funding from the SECO and technical support from UNIDO, this technology has the potential to convert a variety of agricultural wastes into thermal energy and biochar, adding value for organic waste and agricultural residues, while also providing economic opportunities for farmers and agricultural processors, allowing on-site biomass energy supply and meeting strict emission standards.


VNCPC coordinated with the MOIT to organize a training course on sustainable consumption and production

During 2 days (September 21-22, 2023), in Hanoi, the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department (Ministry of Industry and Trade – MOIT) coordinated with Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Co. Ltd, (VNCPC) organize basic training courses on sustainable consumption and production (SCP) for officials from the Department of Industry and Trade, Industrial Development Consulting and Industry Promotion Centre of provinces and cities, and individuals, units and organizations operating in the SCP field.

The training course had more than 40 delegates representing Departments of Industry and Trade, Industrial Development Consulting and Industry Promotion Center, consulting units and related units, from more than 20 Northern and North Central provinces.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr. Cu Huy Quang, Deputy Chief of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department emphasized: In addition to training basic knowledge, skills, and solutions to contribute to promoting SCP, the training course also contributes to establish a network of experts in SCP in the Northern and North Central regions to jointly support businesses to transform faster.

Mr. Cu Huy Quang, Deputy Chief of the Energy Efficiency and Sustainable Development Department emphasized the role of the training course.

Accordingly, the content of the training course focused on main contents including: Sustainable Production topic with a focus on: Economical and efficient use of Energy, water, materials, Use of chemicals safety and efficiency, Instructions for using calculation tools in energy audits…, Circular economy; Topic: Sustainable Resource Management; The topic of Sustainable Distribution and the topic of Sustainable Consumption, with presentations by experts from Hanoi University of Science and Technology, National Economics University and senior experts from VNCPC.

In addition to the above content, the training course is also designed with games, interactive exercises, and knowledge synthesis to increase attraction for students. The course has also received high appreciation from students.

Mr. Le Xuan Thinh, Director of VNCPC spoke at the training session.

Mr. Le Xuan Thinh – Director of VNCPC said: The 2-day training program in the North is the first training course to be held in 2023. Following this program, training courses will be conducted in Central region and Southern region in October and November.

After participating in the training course, delegates will receive a certificate from the Department of Energy Conservation and Sustainable Development. This is also the premise for the Ministry of Industry and Trade to build and expand a network of sustainable production and consumption across the country.

Some pictures of the training course:


Free Online Training Programme on Eco-Industrial Park for EIP Policy-makers and Practitioners/Service Providers

UNIDO and Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) are organizing a training programme aimed at building awareness on EIP concepts amongst the key stakeholder groups, sharing and exchange of experiences and knowledge related to EIP deployment, EIP policy implementation, identification, and intervention of EIP opportunities, etc. based on existing UNIDO, World Bank and GIZ materials.

The training will be delivered online by international as well as national experts consisting of six 2-hour modules (a total of 12 hours of learning). Each session will be delivered twice, thus allowing participants to choose the most convenient slot.

The training material covers aspects of EIPs and approaches, underlying tools and toolkits as well as Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) approaches to the extent needed for the incorporation of EIPs into local and national policy landscapes and provide EIP support to Industrial Parks in Vietnam. It covers a range of EIP topics relevant to strengthen the capacity and to address the needs for EIP policy-makers as well as EIP services providers, including a balanced mix of EIP theory, practical examples and interactive exercises.

The training programme will help participants to network effectively and benefit from peer learning while establishing a network of competent national institutions to deliver quality and value-added EIP services which respond to the needs of enterprises and other organizations in Vietnam.​

The detailed information for the training, please click HERE (Flyer_Policymakers) or (Flyer_Practisioners).

If you are interested in joining it, please submit your application by registering the link in HERE (Call for application for policymakers) and (Call for Application for Practisioners) before 20 August 2023.


Implementation of eco-industrial parks in Vietnam according to the approach from the Global Eco-Industrial Park Program – New opportunities for businesses

On the afternoon of July 15, in Hanoi, an online workshop was held to introduce the project “Implementation of eco-industrial parks in Vietnam according to the approach from the Global Eco-Industrial Park Program”.

This is a project funded by the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and implemented by the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) in developing and transitioning countries.

The project is aligned with the goals of the Global Eco-Industrial Park Program (GEIPP), demonstrating the feasibility and benefits of eco-industrial approaches in improving resource efficiency and economic efficiency, environment, and society at enterprises, thereby contributing to the sustainable and comprehensive industrial development in Vietnam.

The conference was held online but has attracted many participants from enterprises.

In Vietnam, the project is implemented by the Ministry of Planning and Investment (MPI) in collaboration with UNIDO during the period from 2020 to 2023. The main beneficiaries of the project include Amata Industrial Park (Dong Nai), Dinh Vu Industrial Park (Deep C – Hai Phong), Hiep Phuoc Industrial Park (HCMC). In addition, the project continues to support the development of industrial symbiosis (IS) opportunities at the enterprise and industrial levesl that were identified from the previous phase of the project.

To implement the project, Vietnam Cleaner Production Center Co. Ltd (VNCPC – under BK Holdings – Hanoi University of Science and Technology) and Sofies (Switzerland) were selected to implement the component ” Provision of Services to identify resource efficiency and industrial symbiosis interventions, and to provide related training in Deep C (Hai Phong) and Amata (Dong Nai) industrial parks in Vietnam “. The experience in these industrial zones will be a model to replicate and develop the eco-industrial park model all over the country.

What benefits do enterprises get from participating in the project?

According to Ms. Vuong Thi Minh Hieu – Department of Management of Economic Zones (MPI), Deputy Director of the project: In the process of developing industrial zones, environmental impacts cannot be avoided.

Agreeing with the above opinion, Mr. Dinh Manh Thang – a senior expert on efficient use of resources and cleaner production of VNCPC said: According to calculations, it takes 2 piles of earth to meet the needs the current needs of more than 7 billion people. Therefore, the development of eco-industrial parks is an indispensable requirement for economic development to be less dependent on resources, thereby reducing pressure on the environment…

“There are many financial mechanisms for cleaner production and industrial activities from domestic banks such as BIDV, Agribank, Vietcombank, Sacombank, etc. through loans and credit guarantees. In addition, there are financial mechanisms from foreign banks/organizations, and support programs on capacity building and technology implemented by domestic and foreign organizations”, Mr. Nguyen Xuan Tinh – Sen 26 Trading Consulting Co., Ltd. shared.

Mr. Le Xuan Thinh, Director of VNCPC – the consulting unit said: The project will focus on training on resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP), IS and knowledge about ecological industrial zones; Quick assessment of RECP and guidance to identify wastes in the production process, improvement opportunities to optimize profits, reduce production costs, save raw materials, energy, water…; Evaluating the feasibility and building industrial infrastructure solutions towards the eco-industrial park model; Support access to financial resources to implement IS solutions.

On July 27-28, VNCPC will organize a 2-day training program to improve the capacity of the RECP and IS for enterprises in Deep C Industrial Park (Hai Phong). However, enterprises outside DeepC can still participate in workshops.


The launching ceremony of the project “Promotion of supply and demand for Eco-fair Agri-food in Vietnam”

On November 24, in Hanoi, the Vietnam Rural Industries Research and Development Institute (VIRI) and its partners are: Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Co.Ltd. (VNCPC); Funzilife Ltd (Funzi), Centre For Creativity and Sustainability (CCS) have officially launched the project “Promoting supply and demand for Eco-fair Agri-food in Vietnam” (Eco-Fair Project).

The Eco-Fair project is funded by the European Union and is implemented from April 2020 to April 2023.

Project partners at the launch ceremony.

The Eco-Fair project aims to millennium development goals such as responsible consumption, good health and well-being, climate action… Accordingly, eco-fair – agricultural products are promoted to boost supply and demand, to assist manufacturers to improve markets in Vietnam as well as expanding international trade. In addition, consumers will also benefit from having a supply of safe and high-quality products at a stable price.

Specifically, the project will provide 3 free courses on sustainable development for businesses and consumers across the country. These courses are vividly designed, concise and highly interactive, can be learned anywhere and anytime, on mobile phones or computers.

To join the course for consumers, please click on the following link:

With the consumer course, learners will learn more about the impact of consumption on the environment and society, and recognize eco-fair labels, thereby changing perceptions and adjusting habits. purchasing, living, as well as supporting domestic sustainable products.

For manufacturing enterprises, the first course on sustainable production has been launched at the following link:

After training on sustainable production, businesses will be selected to participate in the next activities of the project such as in-house consulting to support the practical implementation of how to improve resource efficiency and cleaner production (RECP), sustainable product innovation, access to green finance… The third course will be for businesses wishing to access and borrow loans from financial institutions with support programs. support for sustainable production practices.

Mr. Le Xuan Thinh – Director of VNCPC – introduced RECP promotion activities.

Specific objectives of the project include:

  • Strengthen the capacity of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in Vietnam to implement sustainable manufacturing and product innovation practices in the agro-processed product supply chain
  • Raising awareness among consumers about sustainable consumption and building eco-fair consumer networks
  • Promote eco-fair products through a sustainable e-commerce platform and eco-fair retailer network
  • Strengthening access to green finance for eco-equity MSMEs
  • Promoting policies on the production and consumption of eco-fair products in Asia


  • MSME in the field of agricultural food processing belongs to 4 sub-sectors: cashew, rice, vegetables, fruit
  • Consumers in Vietnam
  • Intermediary organizations that support business

Eco-fair products are introduced at the project launching.

Dr. Nguyen Bao Thoa – Director of VIRI believed that the results achieved from the project will promote equitable and sustainable consumption of agro-processed products. Since then, contributing to the development of sustainable livelihoods and a green economy in the process of moving towards a low-carbon economy, efficient use of natural resources, and a circular economy in Vietnam.


VNCPC and partner organize a field visit to the small-scale pyrolysis system

In 2 days from October 12-14, 2020, Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre Co., Ltd. (VNCPC) and Viet Hien Coffee Mechanical – Electrical Company organized a field visit to Small-scale Pyrolysis System (PPV 300), in Dak Lak province.

This is an activity within the framework of the project “Promoting a small-scale pyrolysis system business model in Vietnam (Pyrolysis Vietnam, 7/2020 – 6/2022)”, under the Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme (GEPP), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), through the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO).

VNCPC is a unit implementing domestic activities with the technical assistance of the project partners, including: Viet Hien Coffee Mechanical – Electrical Company, Sofies SA Consulting Company (Switzerland), Oekozentrum Foundation (Switzerland) and Husk Ventures SL (Spain).

Representative of Viet Hien Coffee Mechanical – Electrical Mechanical Company introduces the PPV300 pyrolysis system

Pyrolysis technology from Switzerland has been successfully transferred by UNIDO to Viet Hien Company, with the potential to convert agricultural waste (rice husks, coffee hulls) into thermal energy and biochar. This is identified as a solution to help improve the quality of agricultural products and improve soil fertility, while minimizing CO2 emissions.

The project is implemented to promote commercialization of pyrolysis technology in Vietnam through three specific components: (i) Awareness raising and “Green technology” ecognition of pyrolysis technology; (ii) Development of feasibility studies and business cases and (iii) Promotion of the biochar market.

Visit the coffee growing area

Attending this visit, Ms. Do Thi Dung – Representative of International Assistance Program (ISG) of International Cooperation Department – Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development had the opportunity to meet, survey and collecting opinions and information on pyrolysis technology from the local producer Viet Hien company and its users. From there, have a comprehensive and intuitive view of the outstanding advantages of pyrolysis technology to promote communication (including policy recommendations) to help commercialize pyrolysis technology in Vietnam.