A recent survey by the UN found that only 100,000 out of 800,000 enterprises in Viet Nam are aware of sustainable development, and only 2,000 are members of a sustainable development business community.
Berend van Wel, managing director of FCV, receives the Sustainable Business Award given by the Việt Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministries of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Natural Resources and Environment and the Việt Nam General Confederation of Labour in Ha Noi on December 10. — Photo Courtesy of the company
The figures show that spreading the spirit of sustainable development in the business community is not easy, and it is essential to have experienced and successful enterprises like FrieslandCampina Vietnam (FCV) to provide motivation and direction.
FCV was honoured last year with the Sustainable Enterprise Award again by the Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Ministries of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs and Natural Resources and Environment and the Viet Nam General Confederation of Labour.
It was chosen from among more than 400 companies.
FCV's success has been a long and persistent journey. Berend van Wel, its managing director, said: “For nearly 25 years our motto of nourishing by nature is at the heart of everything we do. All our employees world-wide are motivated to contribute to fulfil that purpose. We focus on nutrition standards, consumers’ living conditions, and sustainability.”
In 2020, on the occasion of the 25th anniversary of FCV in Viet Nam, the company set out the mission of ‘For Vietnam to Leap Forward and Reach Higher’.
This mission is built on three focuses, which the company has globally, but these are developed to serve the requirements of sustainable socio-economic development in Viet Nam. They include education and nutritional development for children, improving the lives of people, especially the company’s partner dairy farmers through programmes for dairy cow development, and environmental protection and sustainable development.
A playground set up under the Dutch Lady milk brand’s ‘For Vietnam to Leap Forward and Reach Higher’ programme that calls on primary school students to practise physical activities to improve their health. — Photo Courtesy of the company
Collaboration to spread good work
To achieve the three goals, FCV has worked closely with organisations like the Ministry of Education and Training, Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and the Women's Union Central Committee and the business community.
This kind of extensive co-operation has helped the company improve its efficiency in each activity, creating an effect that spreads widely in the community and society.
Following the success of projects associated with the Dutch Lady milk brand such as Den Dom Dom Study Promotion Program and Drink-Move-Be Strong Campaign at schools benefiting millions of children throughout Viet Nam, the mission of nutrition and education for children in 2020 was marked by the ‘For Vietnam to Leap Forward and Reach Higher’ programme.
It is a long-term strategic co-operation programme with the Ministry of Education and Training that includes education for improving awareness of nutrition, forming good habits in primary school students, setting up booths to disseminate information about balanced nutrition and monitor the height and weight development of primary school students, and building standard playgrounds to ensure primary school students indulge in physical activities to improve their health.
FrieslandCampina Vietnam’s factories comply with environmental protection norms such as reducing the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions and using water resources economically. Berend van Wel, managing director of FCV, at the company’s factory in Binh Duong Province. — Photo Courtesy of the company.
In 2020, in spite of the difficulties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the programme was carried out in Binh Duong, Dong Nai, An Giang and Ba Ria-Vung Tau provinces and Can Tho involving more than 200,000 students from nearly 200 primary schools.
This journey will continue in the coming years to achieve the programme's five-year goal of building 1,250 nutrition booths and 65 playgrounds, with more than 1.5 million students in 1,500 primary schools to benefiting from them.
The mission of improving people’s lives, especially those of the company’s partner dairy farmers, is carried out through a dairy industry development programme in collaboration with the Vietnam Farmers Association.
The programme has affirmed FCV's position as one of the pioneers in creating value together with farmers to develop the dairy industry in the country.
Over the past 25 years the company has organised more than 15,000 training sessions and technology transfers to share the experiences of Dutch experts and farmers.
It has provided free care for dairy cows and other farm management services to more than 7,000 people in rural areas.
It has also grown its partner farmers’ dairy herds to 35,000 head. Originally traditional farmers, FCV's partners now have plenty of knowledge and training in breeding dairy cows to Dutch quality standards, and have become members of its supply chain, supplying milk to the company globally.
The third focus of the mission is the development of a sustainable environment. This mission does not only focus on environmental protection but also investment in regenerating the environment for the generations of today and tomorrow.
FCV has been striving to create an efficient and sustainable production chain through environmental protection in the form of reducing the use of fossil fuels and CO2 emissions and efficiently using water resources.
In 2020 the company saved nearly 6 million kWh of electricity at its factories in Binh Duong and Ha Nam, reduced nearly 4,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions and saved 45 million litres of water.
More than 98 per cent of the waste in the factory is reused. The company’s target is to bury zero waste in the next few years.
Since 2019, as one of the founding members of the Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam, which aims to promote a circular economy, especially recycling packaging to achieve a clean and green Viet Nam, FCV has carried out highly practicable programmes to improve consumer awareness of sorting, recycling and reusing packaging.
In this regard, the Friso brand, with its line of powder milk products, for instance, has pioneered the replacement of plastic straws with paper straws with the aim of reducing plastic waste from straws by 2.3 tonnes a year.
At the 2020 Vietnam Corporate Sustainability Forum, Caitlin Wiesen, UNDP Resident Representative in Vietnam, said: “We cannot achieve the Sustainable Development Goals without businesses as they are the backbone of any economy.”
FCV's efforts have been recognized by partners and consumers with a series of prestigious awards.
It has got the Sustainable Business Award, Asia-Pacific Business Excellence Award, Top 10 Prestigious Food and Beverage Companies award, Green Book Award, Women's Empowerment Award, and Top 100 Best Places to Work in Vietnam award, among others.
Now, after the EVFTA Agreement has come into effect, milk imports from EU could put pressure on domestic businesses.
But, with the Dutch standard foundation that FCV has cultivated over the past 25 years for the Dairy Industry Development Programme, FCV is confident of competing and will continue to dedicate itself to carrying out the mission of ‘For Vietnam to Leap Forward and Reach Higher.’