Last updated: Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Products Should Register Green LabelsPosted: Friday, May 04, 2012
Businesses should register green labels for products soon, said Dr Duong Thanh An, Director of Policy and Legislation and Head of Vietnam Green Label Office under the Vietnam National Environment Administration (NEA), at a business training class on climate change held in Hanoi by the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This event drew a broad attendance from professionals and businesses.
Delivering speeches at the training session, speakers agreed that climate change was a serious problem that threatens the development of global economies and Vietnam in particular. Climate change causes immeasurable devastation. There are many causes behind climate change, including business practices lacking corporate social responsibility and environmental protection.
As part of a series of activities with the purpose of raising awareness of climate change and exercising corporate social responsibility in the community, the "Vietnam Green Label" Programme of the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) aims to identify environmental superiorities of Vietnamese products or services over parallel products and services on the basis of life cycle assessments. This certification increases competitive advantages and enhances the trust of consumers. The programme has been implemented nationwide since March 2009 with the purpose of continuously improving and maintaining environmental quality by minimising the use and consumption of energy and materials, as well as waste discharge from the process of manufacturing, trading and consuming products and services essential for life. Using “Vietnam Green Label”, businesses have more opportunities to affirm their brand names and reputations among consumers. If a product or service is subjected to environmental taxes, it will be exempt from this tax if it has the Green Label.
Registering their products for "Vietnam Green Label", enterprises will better perform corporate social responsibility and direct their operations towards minimising harmful impacts on natural resources and environment during the process of extracting raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, transporting, consuming and disposing of a product. At the same time, it encourages Vietnamese industries to export products to world markets with environmental commitments towards ISO14024 standards.
In reality, many companies now only care about profits, and disregard measures to reduce pollution and save energy. But in the long term, enterprises need to have measures to associate production with environmental protection to sustain economic development. Dr Duong Thanh An also emphasised that after test-applying the Green Label for some products like Tide detergent (P&G Corp), compact bulbs and fluorescent lamps (Dien Quang Lamp Joint Stock Company), the results were very good. This lays down a standard for broader application. Enterprises plan early to register their products for the Green Label.
Accordingly, a product to be labelled green must satisfy all three fundamental criteria: quality, attainment of environmental priorities, and reflection of corporate social responsibility of enterprises by successfully implementing activities that lead to changes in awareness, of enterprises as well as consumers, about the environment. Dr An also added that the Green Label is a fee-borne worldwide and the fee is counted on the output, but it is free in Vietnam for the time being to encourage Vietnamese businesses to register. This activity is expected to bring a lot of economic benefits for enterprises as their products are not only highly appreciated in the domestic market, but also gain advantage when they are introduced on global markets.
Currently, technological products and services (including office equipment like laptops and desktops) are being studied for attaching Green Label from 2013. In 2014, desktops, inks for photocopiers and standard batteries will be certified "Vietnam Green Label." Specially, in 2015, the Green Label will be applied to household appliances, with the first three being washing machines, refrigerators and televisions.
According to experts, the low quality of Vietnamese products is an inherent difficulty for developing “Vietnam Green Label.” In recent years, many action plans have been launched to raise awareness of the necessity to exercise social responsibility. But, in general, spending on the environment remains very low. In fact, they must meet environmental protection requirements to be labelled green. It means they need to spend a sum equalling 20 percent of total expenditures for products. This is the biggest financial matter.
Last but not least, difficulties in internal resources, knowledge and technology are major hurdles for products to meet the "Vietnam Green Label" standards.
Dr An added that the Vietnam National Environment Administration will sign agreements of mutual recognition on eco-labelling with some countries. Then, green-labelled products and services of Vietnamese enterprises will have preferences in signing countries. If this intention is realised, "Vietnam Green Label" products will enjoy a lot of preferences in foreign markets.