Trương Hoàng Phương, director of Trị An Factory, Nestlé Vietnam receives the Environment Awards 2020 for the firm in Hà Nội on December 26. — Photo courtesy of the firm
Nestlé Vietnam was honoured as one of the most outstanding firms which applied technology and solutions to protect the environment at the Việt Nam Environment Awards 2020 in Hà Nội on Saturday. Trương Hoàng Phương, director of Trị An Factory, spoke about how the firm has been taking care of the environment when it grows coffee in Việt Nam
How did you feel when Nestlé Vietnam received an environmental award?
We are honoured to be awarded as one of the firms with the best effort in environmental protection in Việt Nam. Working in Việt Nam in the last 25 years, we have always been complying with State laws and investing in advanced technology, friendly with the environment, saving energy, and having processes to advance management production.
The Vietnam Environment Awards have added motivation for us to invest more in advanced and environmentally friendly production technology as well as sharing these management approaches and lessons around so that everyone can work towards a green, clean and beautiful environment.
At Nestlé, we always consider sustainable development as the core of all business activities. We are committed to our strong environmental sustainability goals, which are not only to create delicious, healthier products and improve the quality of life of Vietnamese people, but also for a better world for future generations.
We will continue to work closely with our partners and stakeholders in the supply chain to spread the applications of the circular economy towards sustainable development goals.
Can you give some examples of how the firm protects the environment?
One of the typical examples of the application of the cyclic economy in production, contributing to the group's ambition of "Not creating negative environmental impacts on production and business activities", is the way we reuse the coffee in our production in Trị An Factory in Đồng Nai Province.
In the sustainable coffee development project, beans are brought from the Central Highlands provinces to the factory, then the grounds will be used to produce fertiliser and as a fuel to replace fossil fuels, reducing environmental pollution and saving production costs. Ash formed after that process will be used to produce environmentally friendly bricks that meet Vietnamese construction standards and are widely used in many civic projects.
From 2015 to 2019, more than 37,000 tonnes of waste and by-products generated after the production process were classified, recycled, reused and 100 per cent of heat recovered by other treatment methods on the basis of co-operation with partners to aim for the thorough implementation of the circular economy, contributing to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions per unit of product by 34 per cent compared to 2015. Recently, Nestlé Group announced a specific roadmap to halve carbon emissions by 2030 towards the complete elimination of emissions by 2050.
Nestlé Trị An factory has invested from the formation of a project of high technology in wastewater treatment towards the purpose of reuse in the future, contributing to the realisation of the goal of "Caring for Water" in the "Not creating negative impacts on the environment in production and business activities" until 2030 of the corporation.
Accordingly, by the end of 2019, about 65 per cent of wastewater from coffee production was treated and reused for production, helping to reduce more than 112,000 cubic metres of water per year. The quality of reused water meets the National Technical Standards for drinking water quality QCVN 01-2009-BYT of Việt Nam.
Representative of Nestlé Vietnam receives the certificate of merit for the firm's environment protection from Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Nguyễn Hồng Hà in Hà Nội. — Photo courtesy of the firm
Drought is one of the biggest problems in Việt Nam. Can you tell us about water-saving in your production?
Apart from the water treatment in Nestlé Trị An Factory, we have been working with coffee growers in Central Highlands provinces to develop coffee sustainably through skills and knowledge training since 2011.
We have changed the local growers’ unplanned habit of watering their coffee trees by guiding them with a simple method using a bottle to check the water demand of the tree and help them save up to 40 per cent of water.
The Central Highlands provinces have always been among the most drought-hit areas in Việt Nam, so knowing how to save water in coffee farming, the biggest crop of the region, was one of the best solutions there so far.
Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, what can you share how a sustainable plan can help other firms in Viet Nam, especially SMEs?
The sustainable development platform will help the community and partners themselves create more sustainable value chains. In COVID-19, when lots of materials were in shortage, thanks to the sustainable programme we have built, we still had good sources of materials to keep sending our products to the world. So when our partners, including the small and super small firms, in the value chain also have such a plan, they will also be in sustainable production and grow more stable in the future.
The small firms should invest in the long term, building a sustainable value chain for themselves, then they can save costs and grow better in the future. Nestlé Vietnam will continue to promote efforts to contribute to building a circular economy as well as strengthening public-private partnerships to realise sustainable development goals.
How can the plan help improve Vietnamese coffee's standing in the world market?
After 10 years running the Nescafe Plan in the country, we have been improving the quality of the coffee in Việt Nam by training local farmers for years. As all of them do and earn better with our project, more and more are eager to join our project in Việt Nam and by this way, we can help improve the quality of the coffee in the country.
As Nestle only chooses the best coffee for our products, all of them must meet the qualifications for the international certificates of 4C, UTZ and Rainforest Alliance.
For example, Nescafe Japan each year holds trips to bring Japanese consumers who love to know about the quality of what they drink and how sustainably it is grown to visit the coffee farms in the Central Highlands of Việt Nam. Such trips are given to consumers as a gift so they can see how coffee is grown and produced in a sustainable way in Việt Nam.
Our Nescafe Plan in Việt Nam is one of the best sustainable growing models of the group, it has been introduced to many other places like Thailand, Brazil and the Philippines. We are working together to bring Vietnamese coffee to become the reference for Robusta beans in the world.
Every year, Nestlé purchases 20 to 25 per cent of Vietnamese coffee for deep processing for domestic consumption and export, with an average total value of US$600 to 700 million, maintaining the position of largest coffee buyer in Việt Nam. Nescafé products are made from 100 per cent high-quality Vietnamese coffee beans with Nescafé Plan technology and are exported to 25 markets.
What will you do to protect the community and the environment in the future?
This month, Nestlé has spread its commitment to have all packages recycled by 2025 to reduce plastic waste. By 2050, we commit that none of our production activities will create greenhouse gas emissions. We will cut half of the emission by 2025.
A member of Nestlé Group, La Vie and other group members are taking a series of concrete actions to materialise the target of 100 per cent of their packaging being able to be recycled along with the vision for a zero-waste future. We are focusing on developing sustainable packaging, shaping zero-waste future, and enhancing consciousness and new consumer behaviour.
Since early 2020, some of the instant milk products like Nestlé MILO and Nestlé Nesvita have pioneered in using paper straws to save the environment to cut the discharge of millions of plastic straws into the environment.
Numerous innovations in packaging have been deployed in La Vie Vietnam. For example, the company shifting into using laser printing technology to minimise affecting the quality of plastics after recycling, or for the first time launching glass bottles, among others.
To build a circular economy in Việt Nam, we have been deploying voluntary activities to clean up beaches, canals, and wet markets in locations nationwide. These programmes feature the engagement of hundreds of company employees and volunteers at localities. — VNS