As one of Southeast Asia’s largest enterprises in cement-building materials, chemicals and packaging, SCG Group is taking one step at a time to meet the standards of a circular business model as it tries to make the best use of natural resources in the value chain from production to consumption and post-production recycling. SCG’s Vietnamese division started operating in 1992 and the national unit has established more than 20 member companies in the country and employed more than 8,600 workers. Among many of its investment projects in Việt Nam is the Long Sơn Refinery and Petrochemical Complex (Long Sơn RPC) in Vũng Tàu City.
Maximizing the use of natural resources
At a meeting with the Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Võ Tuấn Nhân in early February 2020, SCG’s Vice Chairman cum Director General Piayong Jriyasetapong said the development of a Thai circular economy has always been the group’s priority for years. SCG’s factories have release no landfilled waste since 2012 while solid waste is re-produced into energy batteries to serve cement and power plants. “We know it is impossible to develop a circular economy without a well-constructed infrastructure”, Mr. Piayong Jriyasetapong said.
Accordingly, SCG has been practicing the rules of circular economy and realized the “SCG circular business model” as resources are used entirely from production to consumption and the group contracts to collect the outputs that are disposed by users. For the development of a circular economy, collaboration between the Government, local authorities and the business community is the key. A developed circular economy will foster the use of high-tech products and services to maximize the use of resources.
In Southeast Asia, SCG is among the most-experienced enterprises in plastics-free production and it is also well-known for making environmentally-friendly, easily-recyclable packages. The group has held a conference every year in the last 10 years on its business operation. The group acknowledges that all of its three core business fields - packaging, petrochemicals and building materials - are very harmful to the environment, and if the company does not act soon to show its social responsibility commitment, media crisis will rise someday. SCG reports show in the past few years, the enterprises have merged the circular economy principles into its business activities on a three-stage scheme. First, the group cuts the amount of raw materials, limit the use of natural resources in the production chain and develop new products with longer life cycles such as wrinkled bags - which are eye-catching, durable and paper-saving. Second, SCG upgrades production technologies to replace raw materials with other efficient materials to reduce the level of material consumption and make the products more recyclable, for example, Fest grocery bags that are recyclable and can be swapped for styrofoam boxes. Thirdly, the group increases the recyclability of the products, for example, working with retail stores and supermarkets to collect used paper boxes and paper for reprocessing and developing production formula that raise the percentage of reprocessed plastics.
SCG and other enterprises’ representatives join the environmental protection alliance
SCG in 2018 reproduced about 313.000 tons of industrial waste into renewable raw materials and turned 131.000 tons of industrial waste into renewable energy. In 2019, the group continued applying circular economy rules in production, targeted to cut the percentage of used single-use plastics to 20 percent in 2025 from 46 percent and increase the percentage of recyclable and biological plastics to 100 percent in 2025.
During the early stage in Việt Nam, SCG first concentrated on helping employees fully understand the importance of using environmentally-friendly materials and the recyclability of its plastic products. Then the company popularized its philosophy and made alliances in the country. As the major investor of the Long Son RPC, SCG plans to make the complex an example of circular economy model in Việt Nam, in which all contractors and constructors are required to comply with the circular economy rules such as energy saving, environmental protection and closed-loop product life cycle. The Complex is expected to help local authorities encourage schools and educational facilities to join the circular economy model.
According to Deputy Minister Võ Tuấn Nhân, if SCG wants to develop a circular economy model at the Long Sơn RPC, it has to make sure the outcomes are “circular”, meaning waste gas and water are treated completely. Post-production solid waste must be retrieved and re-used to create new values. The Long Sơn RPC may be a good example to encourage other enterprises in Việt Nam to operate in a circular model.
Valuable lessons and experiences learnt from practices
Recent environmental crises like air pollution in Việt Nam and fire in the Amazon rainforest have made environmental protection a global concern. Thus, young generations are the hope of the world, expected to resolve environmental issues in the future. To foster the youth, SCG - as a leading corporation in sustainable development - hosted the SCG Sharing the Dream ASEAN Camp 2019 in Bangkok, bringing together 73 students from seven countries across the ASEAN, including Việt Nam, to learn from each other and find possible solutions for urgent issues faced by the region. The students not only attended training programs - in which they were instructed by SCG’s Board of Directors at first hand - but also had the opportunities to join company’s sustainable development projects. One of the outstanding projects was the “Recycled Plastic Road” that was carried out by SCG and Dow Chemicals. The project was a smart, sustainable solution that had helped many countries deal with the rising amount of plastic waste.
The SCG Sharing the Dream ASEAN Camp 2019 was also a forum for the students to share their views on top-priority environmental matters that their nations had encountered and deliver their own solutions. Among the presentations, the “Say No to Single Use Plastic” project of the Vietnamese students was well-received by the audience, including SCG Group and international participants. An SCG high-ranking officer said: “I was really impressed with the Vietnamese students’ incisive view. The problem is not about plastics, it is about whether people can change their habit in consuming single-use plastics. Plastics will become beneficial for the environment if they are used in the correct way”.
The group of Vietnamese students then got the sponsorship from SCG Vietnam to realize the idea in Việt Nam. At the moment, the students have completed organizational structuring and developed a preliminary promotional plan for the project. The students at the SCG Sharing the dream ASEAN Camp 2019 have given Việt Nam the hope about young Vietnamese generations that are becoming more responsible, dynamic, knowledgeable and spirited with environmental and community-related issues.
Besides the above-mentioned programs, SCG has launched others for young people such as the SCG International Internship Program and the SCG Young Leaders Program. As it visions to become an international corporation in sustainable development, those social-responsibility programs have helped SCG raise the standards for young generations.
(Nguồn: Bài đăng trên Tạp chí Môi trường số Chuyên đề Tiếng Anh I/2020)