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Honda Vietnam gears for greener business

By Hung Le

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Automobiles and motorcycles, needless to say, are a major source of pollution in Vietnam, and in this industry, especially when it comes to motorcycle manufacturing, Honda Vietnam stands out, with a market share of over 80% as of early this year. The company, however, has set up its own pathway to sustainable development, primarily with environmental protection.

Honda Vietnam (HVN) has made tangible progress towards an ambitious strategy of achieving carbon neutrality by 2050 via multiple action programs.

Tree planting

On February 18, 2023, HVN mobilized up to 400 employees to join the tree planting day held in the northern province of Bac Giang, a program initiated by the company since 2008. The event was organized with the participation of representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Bac Giang City.

On this day, the company’s employees managed to plant 1,100 trees over an area of five hectares. Daiki Mihara, the then general director of the company, noted at the tree planting event that the company expected the newly-planted trees would bring about a cleaner atmosphere and improve greenery in Bac Giang City. The tree planting activity, while being aligned with multiple initiatives to reduce the company’s manufacturing impacts on the environment, also carries social significance as HVN sought to raise public awareness on environmental protection and reduce carbon emissions, he said.

Honda Vietnam employees participate in a tree planting event

One year earlier, HVN had also collaborated with relevant authorities to organize a similar event in Thai Nguyen Province, planting 1,100 trees on over 6.3 hectares at a park in the province’s Vo Nhai District.

This initiative will be maintained in the coming years, as HVN considers it to be a long-term program. Next year, HVN has plans to expand this program to Vinh Phuc, Ha Nam and some other provinces, targeting to plant young trees on over 20 hectares.

According to the company, keeping Vietnam green is a mission highlighted by HVN since its establishment nearly 27 years ago.

Over the past 15 years, i.e. since 2008, the company has joined forces with relevant agencies to plant trees on up to 814 hectares with an aim to cut carbon emissions. Most notably, the company has implemented two projects of afforestation and reforestation under the clean development mechanism (AR-CDM) in Bac Kan and Hoa Binh provinces.

In Hoa Binh alone, HVN coordinated with the Japan International Cooperation Agency to implement an AR-CDM project in 2008, greening 309 hectares of barren land there. This project has become the first AR-CDM one in Vietnam recognized by the United Nations. The tree planting program, according to the company’s management, is part of its long-term strategy to achieve carbon neutrality in line with the Government’s global commitments.

HVN estimates that by the end of the current fiscal year in March 2024, its carbon emissions will be reduced by 16% against 2019, and by 2030, the reduction will be some 46%.

Greener production

While the tree planting program is part of HVN’s strategy to protect the environment and realize carbon neutrality by 2050, the weight of this strategy is placed on the company’s greenization of manufacturing to save on energy on one hand and shift to clean energy on the other.

Koji Sugita, who assumed the post of Honda Vietnam’s general director in early April, said that in motorcycle manufacturing, HVN would introduce products more friendly to the environment, especially those using biofuels, hybrid bikes, and electric ones.

The company is cooperating with the Vietnam Association of Motobike Manufacturers (VAMM) and relevant domestic agencies to promose the use of E5 and E10 biofuels, and even E100 so as to mitigate impacts on the environment.

Regarding automobile manufacturing as a segment of the company, HVN said the shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy is necessary, and the company will follow a suitable roadmap. During the transitional period, hybrid electric vehicles are deemed suitable, as such vehicles consume 30% less fuel than ordinary ones and emit less CO2 to the environment.

HVN has also sought to gradually switch to renewable energy for its operations. The company has commissioned rooftop solar power projects at its factories in Vinh Phuc and Ha Nam provinces, with combined output of 8 MWp, or an annual production of over 7.5 million kWh. These two solar power schemes have helped the company cut CO2 emissions by 4.700 tons.

However, the rooftop solar power can meet only 6% of the company’s demand, and as such, HVN will consider buying solar power from other generators via the direct power purchase agreement (DPPA) mechanism being formulated by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

In addition, HVN has called on its suppliers to join forces in cutting emissions, offering incentives for those component suppliers with effective measures to cut emissions.

Commenting on the company’s green strategy on the occasion of launching the new showroom at its Vinh Phuc factory in July, General Director Koji Sugita asserted that HVN would strive to become one of the leading companies in environmental protection in Vietnam, focusing on carbon neutrality, clean fuel and circularity.

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