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Unilever leading the charge in building circular economy in Vietnam
Tuesday,  Feb 25, 2020,17:51 (GMT+7)

Unilever leading the charge in building circular economy in Vietnam

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MoNRE), Unilever Vietnam International Co., Ltd. (Unilever Vietnam), Dow Chemical Co., Ltd. Vietnam (Dow Vietnam) and SCG have signed a memorandum to create a public-private collaboration to combat plastic waste in Vietnam.

“This is the first public-private collaboration in the country that seek to build a circular economy in plastic waste management with emphasis on single-use plastic collection and recycle,” said deputy minister of MoNRE Vo Tuan Nhan.

“The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment appreciates the initiative and sense of responsibility of Unilever Vietnam, Dow Vietnam and SCG in their collaboration with the ministry  to deal with plastic waste in Vietnam, especially difficult-to-collect and recyclable plastic waste such as single-use plastic and flexible packaging. I believe that enterprises not only are parts of the problem but also play an important role in finding a solution,” he said.

The signing ceremony of MOU on Feb 19th (From left to right: Representative of Dow Vietnam, Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Vo Tuan Nhan, and representatives of Unilever Vietnam and SCG)

Collaboration’s goals are to share knowledge, transfer technology, raise public awareness, promote policy dialogue in building a circular economy in plastic waste management and recycle on a national scale.

“Unilever Vietnam is honoured to be a founding member of this public-private partnership,” said Nguyen Thi Bich Van, Chairwoman of Unilever Vietnam. “There has been a lot of discussion on a circular economy, as well as plastic waste segregation at source and recycling. However, this is the first time we establish a collaboration to build a circular economy properly. The endorsement from The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and collaboration of other business partners have affirmed our approach in combating plastic waste that circular economy is the most sustainable solution for Vietnam.”

Ms. Nguyen Thi Bich Van, Chairwoman of Unilever Vietnam

Building a circular economy for plastics has been one of the company’s long-term objectives under Unilever Sustainable Living Plan.

“Plastics was an important invention that has brought great benefits to consumers. But its place is not in the environment. The issue here is how to bring it back to where it belongs in the economy, how to produce not just less plastic but also better plastic that can be recycled, reused and bio-degradable,” Van said.

Last year, Unilever has announced plans to cut use of virgin plastic by half and to use at least 25% recycled plastic in its packaging by 2025. The company has also reaffirmed its commitments to ensure all of its plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable, also by 2025.

“The circular economy is a sustainable solution for plastic waste management in Vietnam. It can’t be tackled by enterprises alone, public-private partnerships are needed in order to encourage other agencies to participate together,” said Van. “We expect the cooperation in this field will be replicated to both domestic and foreign enterprises, not be limited at the number 3.”

Mr. Ekkasit Lakkananithiphan, General Director of Dow Vietnam said: “As a materials science company and solutions provider, Dow Vietnam is working closely with our partners to create new products, develop recycling technologies and reach new end markets for recycled plastics to help keep plastics out of the environment.”

“Government-driven infrastructure development, stringent regulations, and strict waste management as well as collaboration of all sectors are crucial factors in building a circular economy in plastic waste management a reality,” said Thanapat Kaweetraiphop, Commercial Director of Long Son Petrochemicals Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of SCG.

Representative of enterprises and MoNRE pose for a group photo at the event

According to MoNRE, one million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute, while 5 billion plastic bags are consumed worldwide. Plastic waste has become a global crisis with the situation getting worse at an alarming rate in Vietnam. In a study conducted by the Ocean Conservancy, Vietnam is one of the top five ocean plastic contributors.

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