Denmark – Việt Nam: Long-term green partnership continues to prosper

June 02, 2022 - 09:06
On the occasion of Denmark’s Constitution Day, June 5, Ambassador Kim Højlund Christensen writes about the long-term green partnership between Việt Nam and Denmark and how the two countries can work together to promote positive changes and green development.

On the occasion of Denmark’s Constitution Day, June 5, Ambassador Kim Højlund Christensen writes about the long-term green partnership between Việt Nam and Denmark and how the two countries can work together to promote positive changes and green development.

COP 26 in Glasgow last November marked an important milestone in joint efforts to reduce global warming and combat climate change where 136 countries, including Việt Nam and Denmark, stepped up to announce their carbon neutrality pledges, which cover 90 per cent of global emissions.

Denmark is a small country, but we have been working on the green transition for many decades and have substantial experience and practical solutions to combat climate change. Over the past 30 years, our greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by 36 per cent, largely thanks to renewable energy, accounting for over 80 per cent of electricity generation. According to experts, Denmark may already by 2040 achieve our net-zero emissions target based on the current performance, 10 years earlier than our plan.

We are very pleased and impressed by Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính’s pledge to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050 at COP26. This bold and sound commitment sent an important signal to the world regarding Việt Nam’s direction and determination toward low-carbon and green development.

The Danish Ambassador, Kim Højlund Christensen (right) and Đặng Hoàng An, Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade, signed a new agreement to kick off the Energy Partnership Programme between Denmark and Việt Nam (2021-2025) in Hà Nội on October 28, 2021. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

Nearly 70 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions in Việt Nam come from energy production and consumption. Therefore, action in the energy sector is paramount for the green transition of the economy. Việt Nam has a large potential for renewable energy development, particularly offshore wind. This could contribute significantly to the decarbonisation of the power sector, given that the right policies and enabling environment are created.

The cooperation between Denmark and Việt Nam in the areas of energy and climate has been ongoing for many years – and has evolved from traditional development cooperation to a full-fletched partnership. In 2009, Denmark was the first country to support Việt Nam’s National Target Programme on Climate Change. Since then, the Danish government has contributed some US$140 million to finance climate change and green growth activities in Việt Nam.

The current collaboration between Denmark and Việt Nam has been focusing on supporting the green transition of the Vietnamese energy sector. In 2013, the first phase of the Danish-Vietnamese Energy Partnership Programme was established.

Under this programme, Denmark has supported Việt Nam’s energy sector with a total grant of about $27 million over the past 10 years. The programme has established a solid ground for Danish-Vietnamese policy and technical exchanges in various aspects of green-energy transition, including identifying technology investments in renewable energy and energy efficiency initiatives that will be the most cost-effective and greenest for Việt Nam in the long run.

One of the key products of this cooperation is the biennial Energy Outlook Report, with scenarios showing how the Vietnamese energy sector can embark on a sustainable and low-cost development pathway, resulting in large CO2 emission reductions.

The latest edition of this report, Vietnam Energy Outlook Report 2021, published, today (June 2, 2022), shows that reaching net-zero will strongly improve the energy supply security in Việt Nam due to significantly reduced dependence on fuel imports. It will also help enhance air quality while the costs are only 10 per cent higher than those in the baseline scenario for 2020-2050. This confirms that achieving net-zero emissions is possible and inevitable for Việt Nam’s sustainable development.

In addition to the advantages in political geography, labour force, supply chain, etc., Việt Nam has become an attractive destination for international partners and investors partly thanks to the Government’s strong commitment to reducing carbon emissions and actively responding to climate change.

Danish companies, for many years, have been committed to sustainably doing business, whether it is in Denmark, Việt Nam, or anywhere else in the world. As announced last December, LEGO, the world’s biggest toymaker, has committed to building a $1+ billion net-zero factory in Việt Nam. The facility will follow LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards, including being powered by 100 per cent renewable energy.

The Danish Ambassador, Kim Højlund Christensen, and the Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Phạm Bình Minh witnessed the signing of the MoU to build the first LEGO factory in Việt Nam in Hà Nội on December 8, 2021. 

The Embassy of Denmark in Hà Nội is now assisting several Danish companies interested in investing in Việt Nam. The most recent large Danish investment was announced on May 12, 2022, in which Pandora, the world’s largest jewellery brand, will build their second factory worldwide in Việt Nam, also according to LEED Gold standards and will use 100 per cent renewable energy. In this case, we are talking about a $100 million investment.

Việt Nam is an important partner for Denmark when it comes to green economy transition, and our collaboration will continue and be further strengthened in the time to come.

Denmark is happy to share with Việt Nam solid and well-proven Danish solutions, know-how and best practices to support Việt Nam in realising its great potential for green transformation and the country’s commitment to combat climate change and achieve net-zero by 2050. VNS