HA NOI — Viet Nam's enterprises, especially the small to medium, must make the saving of energy and resource efficiency their priority to ensure sustainable development, advises the Environment and Natural Resources Ministry's International Co-operation Department director, Tran Thi Minh Ha.
The director, who was reviewing a one-year United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) - supported pilot project titled "Promoting Resource Efficiency in SMEs," said the rising cost of materials was making it difficult for enterprises to remain competitive.
Small-scale enterprises often lacked efficient "end-of-the-pipe pollution control systems" and the promotion of cleaner production might prove a solution to their dilemma, she said.
Twelve enterprises participated in the pilot project.
They were instructed in the use of the Resource Efficiency and Cleaner Production model and with the help of UNEP experts and international consultants customised it to suit their reality.
The director said the results were encouraging as some enterprises had made a profit through application of the model.
The Song Lam Paper Company in central Nghe An Province had reduced almost 40,000cu. m of waste water and saved about 43,000kWh of electricity and 287 tonnes of coal during the year.
The effort had reduced 559 tonnes of carbon dioxide and saved more than VND500 million ($25,000).
Variety of options
Project representative Tran Duc Chung said the model offered enterprises a variety of options to meet targets such as the prevention and minimisation of waste at its source; material circulation and recycling and power savings.
UNEP regional resource efficiency co-ordinator Stefanos Fotiou said the next step would be to engage more enterprises in the use of the model.
Viet Nam's enterprises would help define a formal tool kit for UNEP to introduce globally, particularly in developing countries where SMEs were usually the backbone of economic and industrial activity, he said.
The project is part of a global UNEP-funded effort titled "Promoting Resources Efficiency in SMEs" which has been piloted in Viet Nam and Ethiopia.
The cost of the project in Viet Nam is US$18,000. — VNS