Green exports a winning order for agricultural firms

December 08, 2023 | 16:13
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Although Vietnam's agricultural exports have grown recently, setting a record high of $53.22 billion last year, food processing companies have been reportedly losing orders to competitors due to the slow implementation of sustainability commitments.
Green exports a winning order for agricultural firms

The EU is the world's largest fruit and vegetable import market, but Vietnam's market share accounts for just 0.18 per cent of the EU's total imports, partly due to the failure to comply with the region's stringent norms

Food production in Vietnam is, for the most part, behind on meeting such green growth requirements. The Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Le Minh Hoan has spoken of the need to transition to a green food system with low emissions in the past, and sees the greening of agriculture as not a burden but an opportunity.

One of the major points discussed at the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Forum at RMIT University Vietnam in November was to how best to begin the greening process. Experts at the event shared findings from projects helping Vietnamese manufacturers and food producers to handle compliance with environmental regulations.

Nguyen Thi Thanh An, country manager of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in Vietnam, spoke of her experience of helping vegetable farmers in Moc Chau to acquire Vietnamese Good Agricultural Practices certification.

“This success exemplifies the private sector’s role in enabling farmers to apply certified standards for high-value markets,” said An.

The project provided technical and business training for farmers, empowering them to meet the higher food quality standards of high-end retailers, resulting in a five-fold revenue increase.

“The vision sharing among champion farmers, local authorities, private businesses, research institutions, and development partners has significantly benefitted all stakeholders, especially smallholder farmers,” she added.

Green exports a winning order for agricultural firms
Experts at the Logistics and Supply Chain Management Forum, RMIT University Vietnam

Nguyen Viet Dung, country chief executive of Bureau Veritas Vietnam, a major player in testing, inspection, and certification, said, "The certification process provides opportunities to learn from the best practices of supply chain partners and adapt to higher international standards. This can enhance and promote the brands of Vietnamese agricultural products."

He emphasised the role of supply chain leaders in motivating farmers and food processing companies to adapt to global certification, citing the success of the carbon-neutral project implemented in Vinamilk's dairy farms. The company’s farm in Nghe An is the first of its kind to receive a PAS 2060 carbon-neutral certification.

Research published in the Journal of Supply Chain Management and Business Strategy and the Environment last year by RMIT University researchers Dr. Nguyen Manh Hung, Professor Robert McClelland, Professor Mathews Nkhoma, Associate Professor Pham Cong Hiep, and their partners in the UK and Ireland, surveyed 437 manufacturers in seven countries. It indicates that exporting led to a proactive approach to handling customers’ green pressures and better sustainable measures. These findings highlight a practical approach for local firms to be exposed to more challenging markets and learn new standards, processes, and schemes.

Dr Nguyen Manh Hung, senior programme manager for Logistics and Supply Chain Management at RMIT Vietnam said, “When all companies strive to compete on costs, quality, and delivery, being green can help a company win sales orders and achieve a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”

“Meeting environmental regulations and satisfying higher sustainable requirements are essential in business strategy development and an appropriate thing to do since they are often not a choice but are imposed by the realities of a circular economy,” Hung added.

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By Nguyen Huong

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