|Many environmentally-friendly bags have been produced in Viet Nam. They are seen as one of the best ways to protect the country's environment. — Photo dantri.com.vn
HA NOI (VNS)—A comprehensive overview of product innovation and the move towards sustainability in Viet Nam to date was discussed at a workshop in Ha Noi on Thursday.
Under the theme "Product Innovation – Key for sustainable Future", the workshop also included sustainable design developments from Southeast Asia.
Specifically, it reported on achievements and experiences of the Sustainable Products Innovation (SPIN) project in Viet Nam, Laos, and Cambodia which began in April 2010 and wraps up this December.
SPIN worked with more than 500 small and medium entrepreneurs in four sectors; textile, furniture, handicraft, and packaging.
It has supported them in innovating with product design, product strategy and clean technology consultancy.
According to the Regional Project Coordinator Nguyen Hong Long, SPIN created clusters of sustainable technologies and a community of entrepreneurs with a strong commitment to sustainable development, which will be the foundation for a sustainable future in Viet Nam.
"Through the project, most companies now understand that it would be not too difficult to re-design their products and still ensure their competitiveness," he said.
He also added that these companies have been motivated to take action in product innovation and technology transfer in order to utilize waste to create the input materials for production and to use natural resources efficiently.
More than 30 sustainable technologies have been developed, utilized and bunched into smaller groups to be applied to the natural conditions of Viet Nam and the specific context of its business environment.
In detail, Renewable Energy, Renewable Materials and the Zero-waste Knowledge Farm are considered more successful.
The model of a zero-waste knowledge farm embodies 25 sustainable technologies to create a closed loop process in order to maintain a balanced environment for crops and livestock.
The model, developed from a traditional agricultural model integrated with new applied technologies, has been deployed in 10 households in the suburban districts of Ba Vi and Soc Son outside Ha Noi.
The SPIN project, implemented in Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia, is hosted by the Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands with the participation of the Viet Nam Cleaner Production Centre, UN Environment Programme, Asian Institute of Technology in Viet Nam, Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Cambodia Cleaner Production Office.
Under the programme, 2,000 products have been re-designed and newly-designed to be environmentally friendly, non-poisonous to human health, and are to be launched on the market.
They include handicraft products, bags, kitchenware and furniture.
Total cost of the project is EUR2.8 million (US$3.8 million), of which 80 per cent is funded by the SWITCH-Asia programme of the European Union. — VNS