Vietnam running towards green, sustainable future

SGGP Newspaper has conducted an interview with Minister Nguyen Chi Dung of Planning and Investment about green growth and sustainable development in Vietnam.

Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Chi Dung

Firstly, Minister Nguyen Chi Dung confirmed that Vietnam is facing various challenges in this unstable economic and environmental status in the world if it decides to go green.

Global warming has forced all nations to upgrade their growth models to overcome current trouble. Vietnam has realized that green economy is not merely to keep up with the international trend and to fulfill its commitment of emissions reduction in response to climate change, but more importantly to become the sole choice for the national sustainable development and the appearance in the list of developed nations with high income by 2045, as set forth in the 13th Congress of the Central Party.

The approved National Strategy for Green Growth in the 2021-2030 Period, with a Vision to 2050, clearly states that green growth is an essential solution to restructure the national economy and increase Vietnam’s competitiveness while contributing to reducing greenhouse gas emissions for a long-term carbon neutral economy.

Despite negative influences of the unexpected, complex global economy, Vietnam has still been able to reach encouraging achievements in several industries and fields, which is highly appreciated by the international community. Therefore, this is a suitable time to promote green growth in the country, following the motto ‘Not Boosting Economic Growth at the Expense of Environment’.

Minister Dung then further discussed promising results so far in Vietnam as to green growth and sustainable development.

Many ministries, state agencies, and localities are preparing specific policies for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. A national indicator set for green growth has been introduced to become a legal basis for monitoring and evaluating this aspect throughout the country. A planning system for different levels and fields has been consistently developed, where green economy targets exist in all content, especially in the planning of provinces and municipalities.

More importantly, in 2023, various policies and mechanisms to promote innovation movements were launched. Meanwhile, the National Innovative Center (under the Ministry of Planning and Investment) is the core to incubate green ideas and solutions for the development of a green economy in the country.

There are remarkable changes to attract more green and selective foreign direct investments (FDI) for green growth goals. Vietnam is honored to be in the list of top-10 nations attracting the most green-investment amounts, accounting for 5 percent of developing countries.

Particularly, the FDI volume for renewable energy has seen an increase of 5-7 times in the past 10 years. Reports from the State Bank of Vietnam also reveal that until September 30, 2023, green credit rose by 12.74 percent compared to the end of 2022, mostly focusing on green agriculture (30 percent of the total green credit balance), and clean – renewable energy (45 percent).

Last but not least, the targets, directions, and solutions for green transformation and growth as well as sustainable development exist in all international working sessions, conferences, and forums between the State of Vietnam and other nations, receiving great support from international friends.

Answering the question about the contribution of the business community and citizens to green growth, Minister Dung shared that the former has been considered as the core in this process.

Lately, they have conducted various practical activities for the target of green growth, like opting for clean energy, eco-friendly materials, and modern manufacturing technologies that consume fewer natural resources and energy while reducing exhaust fumes. They have adopted the ESG standard set (Environment – Social – Governance) to evaluate the degree of sustainable development of a business.

As small and medium-sized enterprises have limited resources, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has launched various supporting activities for them to also follow sustainable development models. It has introduced three tool sets to calculate the readiness of an enterprises for circular economy, carried out activities to help these companies raise their awareness of sustainable business, and technically aided 300 companies in need.

Finally, Minister Dung mentioned the focus of the Ministry of Planning and Investment in the upcoming time for green growth.

The top priority is its cooperation with other ministries, state agencies, and localities to pilot the comprehensive green growth index to evaluate the greening level of the economy nationwide; to complete the national classification system for green industries; to identify key green missions and projects in the near future; to build a roadmap to fulfill green growth goals in close correlation with other socio-economic growth targets.

In addition, his ministry is going to perfect necessary mechanisms and policies to create a favorable environment for green transformation and growth; to use public investments as guidance for private ones in supporting businesses.

There will be specific criteria for the allocation and use of public investments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in programs and projects of ministries, state agencies, and localities. More action plans will be launched to encourage private enterprises to run towards sustainable business. Evaluations will be carried out to certify sustainable companies and recognize contributions of the business community in the green transformation process.

More importantly, the propaganda task to raise the awareness of the public about green growth and sustainable development must be done nationwide. Therefore, the Ministry of Planning and Investment welcomes all help of stakeholders for a greener and more sustainable Vietnam in the future.

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