The pandemic has been wreaking havoc on the business community and public around the world. Eamon Ginley, general director at Siam City Cement Vietnam Co., Ltd. (INSEE Vietnam) talked with VIR’s Nguyen Thu about the company's philosophy and its long-term values.
|Eamon Ginley, general director at INSEE Vietnam |
Accompanying the government, what have been INSEE Vietnam's activities for combatting the pandemic and recovering the economy?
During these challenging times, INSEE has had to implement a lot of changes to its operation to ensure pandemic control and business development. Most important was to take care of our people, partners, and customers. Part of that care is to ensure that people's basic living conditions can continue to be met in times of extreme uncertainty. So, despite scaling back our operations dramatically during the lockdowns, we have maintained salaries and medical care for all our employees, and ensured that our key contracting partners have also had income and medical needs attended to.
We have also provided many medical supplies such as COVID-19 test kits, thermometers, masks, oxygen meters and concentrators, among others to employees, business partners, customers, and the community. Care for each other at such times is not only a social obligation but also strengthens our business relationships for the longer term.
Communication is another thing we have had to do differently. This includes daily meetings to understand the rapidly changing situation in Vietnam and the impact on our people and business, while also ensuring we remain connected to our people and partners through webinars to help convey detailed medical information, share business recovery ideas, and help ensure a sense of connection.
Thus, care and communication are certainly two of the practical activities we have been focusing on
How does the impact of COVID-19 affect business operations and priorities?
Priorities shifted immediately to a full focus on people. When your business is effectively shut, and if you are able, you feel the need to ensure that you are doing all you can to help employees, partners, and your community to the best of your ability.
Our employees and contractors continued to keep our production facilities operating under the stay-at-work model while following all rules, and they were very inspirational in doing so. I believe we played our role to ensure our care for them and our business partners by doing what we could to alleviate their immediate health issues and concerns.
You have to adapt quickly. An example of that was how quickly and effectively we moved into a work-from-home model for our head office and administrative support staff. This was not easy for them, but they managed the transition extraordinarily well. Managing in new ways with care and communication at the heart of what you do reflects some of the changes to how we found we needed to operate.
As a pioneer company in green building materials, how is INSEE Vietnam committed to the sustainable development goals in Vietnam?
INSEE gives top priority to minimising natural resources in production. We understand that every tonne of clinker saved can bring many benefits to the environment. By using alternative raw materials such as fly ash and steel slag to replace clinker in cement production, INSEE Vietnam has controlled the use of clinker in our cement formulation, contributing to reducing the amount of clinker in our cement.
CO2 emissions have been reduced by at least 24 per cent for every tonne of cement produced. This does not only affect industrial performance and product quality but even improves and enhances the quality of cement such as by increasing its durability and corrosion resistance.
Besides this, INSEE Vietnam has been investing in advanced technologies with the goal of rendering production processes more eco-friendly. Our high-tech integrated plant in Hon Chong has been utilising a vertical mill that consumes about 20 per cent less energy than a traditional ball mill.
Further, we have a system that utilises waste heat from production activities to generate electrical energy to partially compensate for the energy that must be purchased from the national grid. Our waste heat recovery power plant meets 25 per cent of the plant's electricity needs, indirectly reducing about 25,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year, equivalent to 9,300 tonnes of coal.
Cement kiln co-processing technology is now recognised worldwide as one of the most sustainable solutions for non-recyclable waste. INSEE's ecocycle – our waste management brand – has safely and thoroughly co-processed nearly 1.2 million tonnes of waste. After treatment, waste will be used as fuel to produce cement instead of traditional fossil fuels, helping to reduce more than 1 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions thanks to the co-treatment technology in cement kilns. This innovative technology has helped us and more than 200 other corporations fulfil our goals towards green manufacturing in a circular economy.
And most recently, INSEE Vietnam has been re-certified with the Green Label by the Singapore Green Building Council for the company's civil and industrial cement products. And, we had been honoured to become the first cement company in Southeast Asia to receive the international EPD certificate.
INSEE Vietnam has been recognised among the top 100 sustainable businesses by the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development of the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry. This is the sixth consecutive year that INSEE has been placed on the list.