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Need for regulations on ecological industrial zones in Việt Nam


   In the early 1990s, a concept of ecological industrial zones was introduced. However, in Việt Nam, this remains a new concept. With support from the Global Environment Facility and the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), since 2014, the Ministry of Planning and Investment and UNIDO have been implementing the project on Eco-industrial Parks towards sustainable industrial zones for Việt Nam. To have a better understanding of eco-industrial parks and the support from the International Finance Corporate (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group in promoting eco-industrial parks in Việt Nam, Vietnam Environment Administration Magazine (VEM) interviews the manager of Việtnam’s Industrial Resource Efficiency Program, Ms. Vũ Tường Anh.

Ms Vũ Tường Anh, manager of Việt Nam’s Industrial Resource Efficiency Program, IFC

   VEM: Can you give an overview on the model of eco-industrial parks that the project is aiming for?

   Ms. Vũ Tường Anh: According to the world definition, an eco-industrial park comprises of a group of businesses in an industrial zone with close relationships in terms of benefits and with common goals of performing high quality social, economic and environmental activities through cooperation in natural resources and environmental management. In a traditional model of industrial zones, businesses manage resource input and wastes separately; hence the total amount of consumed resources and discharged waste is huge. In the model of eco-industrial parks, in addition to effective use of resources and waste minimization in individual businesses, resource management is viewed using a holistic approach in which resources and energy can be used from a common source and waste of one business can be input of another.

   Three factors of an eco-industrial zone are resource efficiency, cleaner production in each business in the industrial zone; industrial symbiosis, and waste exchange and green infrastructure.

   VEM: In your opinion, what are opportunities and challenges of industrial parks and businesses when transforming to eco-industrial park model?

   Ms. Vũ Tường Anh: The eco-industrial park model employs a close pattern which allows material exchange, waste recycling, energy circulation to minimize waste, brings about economic benefit and minimizes environmental impact. Therefore, businesses applying the eco-industrial park model gain significant economic benefits by exchanging, transferring or selling their by-products to other businesses in the park so that both sides are better-off. The businesses benefit from reducing costs of resources and waste treatment, and increasing their profits and market competitiveness. For industrial park investors, this model attracts high quality businesses into the park. However, the current difficulty is that no specific legal framework for eco-industrial parks exists. For example, for an industrial symbiosis project, there are no legal documents facilitating waste exchange among businesses in the same park.

Cần Thơ People Committee leaders visit wastewater treatment facilities in Trà Nóc 1 Eco-Industrial Park

   VEM: What has IFC supported the transform to eco-industrial park model?

   Ms. Vũ Tường Anh: At present, IFC is providing support to MPI to draft a technical guideline for eco-industrial parks. The document will be finalized by the 4th quarter of 2017 to contribute to enhancing industrial sustainable development in Việt Nam. IFC also is cooperating with MPI to assess potential for implementing industrial symbiosis and waste exchange under eco-industrial park models in Hòa Khánh Industrial Park (Đà Nẵng) and Trà Nóc 1, 2 (Cần Thơ). In the meantime, IFC is collaborating with Sài Gòn High Tech Park to assess the potential for renewable energy projects which are one of the eco-solutions to high tech parks. In addition, IFC will provide technical assistance to some industrial parks to implement industrial symbiosis, increase resources and business efficiency and reduce waste discharged to the environment.

   VEM: What do you recommend for promoting eco-industrial parks in Việt Nam?

   Ms. Vũ Tường Anh: Eco-industrial parks are a suitable pathway for environmentally and socially responsible business development. However, the government needs to issue enabling policies as well as specific regulations on promoting resources efficiency, waste recycling and circulation, waste minimization at source in industrial parks and businesses. Businesses inside industrial parks need to change their mindset in utilizing resource and waste to optimize resource use in their operation and make use of waste from other businesses’ operation. In addition, businesses need to have a vision and a plan for a long term production development with sustainable investment in combination with short term measures such as resource and energy saving, production cost minimizing and waste treatment.

VEM: Thank you!

Hương Trần (Implemented)

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