|Tomasz Sypytkowski, general manager Vietnam and head of Sales Area Southeast Asia, Electrolux |
Electrolux’s Global Report launched under the Better Living programme highlights growing concerns around sustainability among young people around the world. How much has the coronavirus pandemic contributed to this rise?
The coronavirus pandemic has undoubtedly brought sustainability-related concerns to the fore for many consumers. As we worry about protecting ourselves and our families from the pandemic, it is inevitable that we take a closer look at all that can negatively impact our lives on the longer term, like pollution and climate change.
However, sustainability and the safety of our environment has been constantly top-of-mind for consumers in the past years – the pandemic has only exacerbated profound concerns that were already on our minds.
I remember when I moved to Vietnam in October 2019, everyone was talking about the Air Visual app, which made headlines by showing just how far air pollution had progressed and air quality deteriorated. Now we are talking about the number of COVID-19 cases and about how much cleaner the air was during lockdown – but already, as I look out my window, I can already see the smoke coming back as we are returning to a new post-lockdown normality.
Crises like the pandemic make us think about our troubles, but they are only symptoms of our untenable living and production methods. At a certain time of their lives, young people start to change their mindsets as human beings. They start to appreciate and take care of future generations so that they can have a proper place in the world to build a life, career, and strive for their dreams.
As a father of two, sustainability is extremely important for me personally and I am proud to be working with Electrolux, one of the market leaders in this area. We have been working for many years now to make our products more sustainable and empower consumers to achieve a greener footprint themselves.
How do Electrolux products help consumers live more sustainable lives?
With our Better Living Program launched in 2019, we plan to shape better and more sustainable living around the world. As part of Electrolux’s ambitious plan to meet the bold targets for 2030 focusing on better eating, better garment care, better home environment and better company, we have launched the Better Living in 2030 programme. As a part of this initiative we engage young people to share and create innovations for a better living they need.
For example, the food industry accounts for 20 per cent of global gas emissions while as much as 30 per cent of food we buy ends up as waste. Our Global Report found that young consumers are now looking to reduce food waste and eat healthier by cooking at home. To support them, we are continuously improving our refrigerators to keep food fresh for longer by ensuring the proper humidity and temperature. We also try to inspire them with guidance on how to switch to healthier and more diverse diets.
For clothing, we have found that consumers now buy four times more clothes than 20 years ago. Our target to make clothes last twice as long with half the environmental impact, could reduce carbon, waste, and water footprint. Extending the lifespan of clothing by nine months only will reduce that impact by 20-30 per cent. Another major issue is the overuse of detergent, which Electrolux addresses by the AutoDose function. Water and energy-efficient home appliances as well as proper use of detergent can extend the lifecycle of clothes while safeguarding the environment.
Electrolux is also making homes healthier by improving the quality of indoor environments through smart solutions. Air quality is a major issue in Vietnam and we are supporting consumers with a range of air purifiers that can automatically monitor air quality and launch filtration as and when needed. The devices are also remotely controllable so that fresh and clean air can wait for us when we come home.
|Electrolux has involved young people in its sustainability initiatives and production processes alike to give them space to change the world |
The Electrolux Global Report identified three main drivers of sustainability, including young people themselves, scientists, and influencers. While Electrolux is heavily invested in research and development, you have also engaged the other two pillars through initiatives like Change Makers. Can you explain what this initiative is about?
Young people are now willing to drastically change their lifestyle in order to make real impact. We have enlisted eight brilliant young people as Electrolux’s new Team of Change-Makers. These people hail from a variety of geographies and cultural backgrounds and will work with us to inspire others to make better lifestyle decisions and adopt healthier and more sustainable habits.
At the same time, we will include these Change Makers to join our product development and innovation. They will be given an opportunity to work closely with our teams and express their perspectives and tell us how they want to live in the next 10 years.
At the moment two of our Change Makers hail from the Asia-Pacific region, from Australia and Thailand, and they are both excited to get down to business and give us all a sense of urgency to strive for sustainability.
While our Change Makers will be regional representation on the global level, we will continue to support local projects to improve our footprint and empower local communities to grow in the right direction.
The Vietnamese market is extremely important for us, and we are very appreciative of how local consumers are embracing sustainability. We hope to increase our engagement in local sustainability and social responsibility initiatives.
What are the plans of Electrolux to support sustainability in Vietnam?
Electrolux wants to be part of Vietnam’s pivot to sustainability. We want to be the lever that helps Vietnamese households eat more sustainably, makes clothes last twice as long, and makes homes healthier and more liveable.
To do this, we will be bringing our innovative products to Vietnam and build our position as a trustworthy European brand. And while we do not yet have production in Vietnam, we will make sure local consumers will enjoy the full benefit of our ambitious global sustainability targets. By 2030, all Electrolux products coming to Vietnam will be at least half made from recycled plastics – as will be all Electrolux products anywhere in the world.
We have already launched a fully recyclable prototype vacuum cleaner which is made entirely from plastics recovered from the sea. Considerable work has gone into making this happen, as we had to develop our own technology for recyclable plastic, but this is instrumental to achieving our 50 per cent recycling target in nine years.
At the same time, the overuse of plastics is very visible in Vietnam so there is definitely a lot that needs to be done and a lot we can do locally. In the coming time, Electrolux will organise lots of initiatives for the market related to recycling, education about sustainability and the optimal use of our household appliances to maximise efficiency and minimise harm to the planet.