Small businesses gradually live with the circular economy
15:03 08/12/2022
From to be the trend pursued by multinational corporations, the circular economy gradually has a chance to succeed in small domestic enterprises.

The circular economy has many definitions, but it is basically a model that enhances the ability to reuse, recycle and recover materials in the production, distribution and consumption of products. It differs from traditional economics in its linear form, where products are produced and discarded after consumption.

In Vietnam, this trend used to be unfamiliar to most businesses. It is mainly deployed by large enterprises, mostly multinational corporations, thanks to its financial and technological potential. However, there have been some signs of prospects in small and medium-sized companies, the possibility of economic efficiency.

Faslink, a supplier of local fashion materials, started researching sustainable materials 12 years ago. Six years ago, they set out a set of sustainability criteria for the company. And not long before the epidemic, they delved into the circular economy.

The company currently has a collection of fabrics made from coffee grounds, lotus fibers, mint fibers, seashells...and is exploring the possibility of using banana fibers. Director Tran Hoang Phu Xuan said that in the first year of its launch, 3 million polo shirts and 200,000 shirts made of their coffee grounds were sold.

Recently, Coteccons started using a new batch of uniforms with sustainable fabrics ordered by Fastlink. Ms. Xuan sees an opportunity in the business uniform market, where more and more companies are looking to use sustainable fabrics.

Or as in agriculture, Mr. Pham Minh Thien, CEO of Thanh Binh company is aiming for the circulation, taking advantage of the straw to the husk. Straw is used to grow mushrooms, as food for cows. Rice husk used to press export pellets; Golden bran pressed for oil and residue as animal feed. Rice by-products (broken rice) make flour.

According to Mr. Thien's research, the nutritional value of rice flour is half of soybean meal, but absorption is faster. So he promoted the use of rice flour to reduce imported soybean meal. As a result, rice flour residue from 900 VND per kg is now priced at 9,000 VND. The increased demand makes the rice flour industry in Sa Dec (Dong Thap) develop.

Realizing the prospects, Mr. Thien also invested in a land area in Tan Hong (Dong Thap) specializing in growing IR50404 rice. "This variety is short-growing, we grow it without using drugs to reduce farming costs and clean the soil. This chain is not for eating rice but for exploiting rice flour," he said.

Particularly Pham Dinh Ngai, Sokfarm CEO has taken advantage of the coconut areas that have reduced fruit yield due to salinization in Tra Vinh to exploit nectar and deeply process it into products such as drinks or soy sauce. Revenue from these coconut trees can increase 3-5 times before.

According to Mr. Ngai, the circular economy is not far away because his startup can live with it. "Three years in this direction, we are interested in many partners and consumers, high spread and favorable sales. more profitable, raising businesses,". Currently, his company provides jobs for 70 farmers.

At the mid-November seminar in Ho Chi Minh City, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan assessed the regeneration value of the product is great but it is not easy to do. However, now there are units that can and make more money, showing great potential.

According to Mr. Quan, the circular economy has both advantages and challenges. In terms of advantages, the health factor is increasingly valued, in both producers and consumers, creating opportunities for sustainable and recycled products.

However, the challenge is how to access the favorable market at reasonable prices. Ms. Phu Xuan confirmed that the speed of consumers' access to products from the circular economy is faster than before, but the big obstacle is still the cost.

"The problem is how to produce sustainably but at a reasonable cost. We are trying to produce a product that is no more than 30% higher than the price of conventional products. To reduce costs further, it is necessary to cooperate with other companies. inside a circular economic ecosystem," said Ms. Xuan.

Solving this problem, a big global door is opening ahead. According to global management consulting firm Accenture (Ireland), the transition process towards a circular economy is estimated to represent a $4.5 trillion global growth opportunity by 2030.

Meanwhile, about 90 billion tons of natural resources are extracted each year to support the global economy. Based on current trends, that number is expected to more than double by 2050. While, only 9% of resources are regenerated into new products after first use, according to the United Nations Environment Program Nations (UNEP).

Long-term opportunities, the basic macro environment already exists, whether businesses can successfully seize or not depend on their ability to find a product that properly meets market needs. "Whether the product is welcome or not depends on the demand. We have to find the right demand to supply it," Mr. Thien shared his experience.

According to Assoc. Prof. Dr. Nguyen Hong Quan, what businesses need to do is maintain their normal economic activities and integrate more circular solutions in it. To be effective, the integration must fully calculate the input and output problems. Enterprises do not need to put too much emphasis on theory and rigid models.

"Maybe in the future, people will define a different form of circular economy. The definition may not be so important, but the biggest goal is sustainable development, a cleaner green earth, people living a happy life. happier," he said.


Translated by Nguyen Mai Huong Office of Bac Ninh IZA
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