tesa sets sights on Việt Nam as pivotal market for future growth

October 24, 2023 - 12:31
tesa, an international manufacturer of adhesive tapes and self-adhesive solutions, officially opened its new 55 million Euro (US$53.1 million) site in the northern port city of Hải Phòng as part of its strategy to regionalise production, expand capacity and optimise supply chains.


Dr Norman Goldberg, CEO of tesa SE. — Photo courtesy of the firm

tesa, an international manufacturer of adhesive tapes and self-adhesive solutions, officially opened its new 55 million Euro (US$53.1 million) site in the northern port city of Hải Phòng as part of its strategy to regionalise production, expand capacity and optimise supply chains. tesa also has a strong agenda for sustainability, aiming to produce globally climate neutral by 2030 (Scope 1 and 2 emissions), contributing to Việt Nam’s commitment to net-zero emissions by 2050.

Dr Norman Goldberg, CEO of tesa SE, talks with Việt Nam News about the manufacturer’s business plans in Việt Nam as well as efforts for green growth in the country.

How do you assess the potential of the adhesive tape market in Asia, and specifically in Việt Nam?

The Asian market is a fast growing and an important market for the adhesive tape industry, especially in the automotive and electronics industries. The new site in Hải Phòng will be a perfect complement to our existing production site in Suzhou, China which was opened in 2005. Five years ago, we took the decision to build a plant in Asia, in Việt Nam. This ambition is a testament to our efforts to minimise our environmental footprint through utilising more sustainable manufacturing practices while delivering high quality products to our customers.

Who are your target customers as you set up the plant in the northern port city of Hải Phòng?

In the Asia Pacific region, we have a strong focus on electronics and automotive customers however overall, we are evaluating other customers as well. In the beginning, our new plant is very much focused towards these industries. We are providing high-performance tapes for the electronics industry. Additionally, we see lots of opportunities in the automotive industry due to the trend towards e-mobility and electrical components such as screens and displays that are in need of sustainable and reliable tape solutions.

The process of building the tesa Hải Phòng production site went rather fast, less than two years. Could you tell the factors which helped tesa during this process? Is it partly due to the good implementation of FDI attraction policy by Việt Nam Government?

We have had incredible support from the Government and local authorities, and we're very grateful for their support and for making this happen so quickly. We would like to thank them.

But of course, we also had an excellent global team working together. Our experts from all over the world, from our headquarter in Germany, but also from our site in Greater China, they all helped to set up the new plant. I am proud that it will be a modern and more sustainable plant.

The people are also a reason, for choosing Việt Nam. The country has a great potential with many very young and ambitious people. We also saw a willingness to learn, which is very important to us, because we need skills and competences, technical know-how, and a solid understanding of our processes.

What are tesa’s detailed goals for sustainable investment in Việt Nam?

As a world leader in high-performance technical products, we have set ourselves very ambitious targets in our sustainability strategy. Sustainability is key for us.

Over the next few years, we have also committed to investing significant amounts, triple digit millions of euros, in building more sustainable plants and making sure that we are using renewable energy, for example by installing solar panels. We said from day one, that we want to achieve LEED Gold certification, which is the highest standard in terms of sustainable building certification.

We have a strong sustainability agenda and top management level attention. But what is also important is how we enable our customers to become more sustainable as well. By using our products, we enable our customers to have more sustainable solutions in terms of how products are recycled or repaired later.

As for our production site here in Hải Phòng, we have one manufacturing line, that is exclusively water-based, marking about 50 per cent of our production portfolio.

We also have some solid waste, but it is all incinerated to recover the energy. We basically use the energy from the solvent in a closed loop, so there are no effluents in the air and the energy is used for reheating, making it a sustainable process.

Việt Nam has committed at COP26 to reaching net zero by 2050. Does this impose any pressure on tesa production in Việt Nam?

At tesa, we have set ambitious sustainability targets. Circular economy is our goal, clients and customers want to reuse things. This is something that is really at the heart of our product and technology development. We have a high proportion of spending on product development, investing into science and technology engineering. Right now, the whole product and technology development team is focused on creating new, more sustainable solutions for our customers.

Most importantly, this is a joint effort, we work with our customers with the common goal of supporting their sustainability agenda as well.

As tesa is applying its regional production strategy, from your experience, what are the advantages and challenges of regional production?

This is actually a strategy we set out five years ago. We said we needed to get closer to our customers and our markets. First of all, it is very simple; it does not make sense to ship products around the world. To serve local customers in Asia, any plant and industrial production will need to be there, that is very clear.

The second aspect is that you need to be close to your customers in order to develop products for them. Products in Europe may be very different from those in Asia. In a different environment, maybe different climatic challenges, and so on. Being close to our customers is important to us.

If you ask me about challenges, of course, it takes some energy and a lot of know-how and competence to build something like this as you see this year. Years ago, there was nothing. There was just sand when we arrived and we said, well, how are do going to do this? But we have a very dedicated team. We are also aiming for further investment so hopefully in the next few years we can add more capacity and more technology, although it's a challenge for the team.

From my personal point of view, I am proud to be part of this fantastic project in Việt Nam. I lived in Singapore for a while and I've lost my heart to Southeast Asia.