Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam H.E. Ann Måwe published her statement regarding circular economy on 19th December 2019.
In the statement, the ambassador said:
What is the circular economy? What does it look like in practice? What does it really mean for businesses, people and society and what are the Swedish experiences in this regard?
With a population of 93 million people, Vietnam generates daily nearly 35,000 tons of urban domestic waste and 34,000 tons of rural domestic waste. In the capital city of Hanoi alone, 10,000 tons of solid waste are generated everyday. Burying wastes in landfills is not only environmentally bad but economically illogical. Recently, all of landfills in big cities like Hanoi and HCMC have been facing the already over capacity in handling wastes.
on 13th December 2019, I was happy to be part of a TV roundtable initiated by Hanoi Television and discuss some of the most innovative examples of circular economy in action today together with Mr Björn Savlid, Head of Business Sweden in Vietnam and Mr Anders Gustafssons, Marketing Director of TetraPak Vietnam.
Over the weekend, I joined hundreds of Vietnamese schools and TetraPak in recycling activities piloted in Hanoi. Tetra Pak has initiated a partnership with 800 schools in Hanoi, 15 districts, Vinamilk, Dong Tien paper paper company, Lagom Company and NHC in the first ever, large scale program to segregate, collect and recycle used cartons in Hanoi. The milk packages come from school children who gets them every day in the morning and afternoon and then get trained how to recycle them and why this is important.
I was honoured to speak at this event together with Tetra Pak and its partners. And also to visit the exhibition about the process of recycling as well as to chat with some teachers and local leaders on how this initiative is also used in the education to talk about environmental issues, raise awareness among teachers and children and also discuss what to do about it.
Greener means Richer! That has been the Swedish story. Sweden is one of the world’s leading countries in waste management and recycling.
First, Sweden was an early bird with regards to sustainability thinking and the Government made research and development about sustainability a top priority. In 1995, Sweden became one of the first countries in the world to initiate a carbon tax. This excise tax is placed on car¬bon-intensive fuels such as oil and natural gas, and has heavily cut down Sweden’s depend¬ency on fossil fuels. Instituting a carbon tax is a cost-effective means of lessening CO2 emissions.
Second, each year Swedes recycle 1.8 billion bottles and cans that would otherwise be thrown away using the so-called pant system. It even has its own verb in Swedish, panta.
Third, the amount of house-hold generated waste that is recycled has increased from 38 percent in 1975 to at least 99 percent today, and only 1% of the waste is shipped to landfills. As a large amount of waste is recycled and used for other purposes such as biogas & energy, Sweden has now turned into a waste importer, importing more than 2.3 million tons of waste per year.
Finally, in a circular economy, we see everything as a resource for something else – waste becomes a resource. Circular economy is good for both consumers and businesses. From our Swedish experience, companies that are moving in this direction have proved that recycling used products can be more cost effective than creating them from scratch. As a result, production costs are reduced, so that the sale price is also lowered, thereby benefiting the consumer. I hope this will be inspiring for Vietnamese businesses.
Watch the roundtable on HTV1 live at 7h40 on Sunday 22 December 2019 or watch the rebroadcast on the internet here http://hanoitv.vn/truyen-hinh-truc-tuyen.html