Swedish solutions top sustainability wish list

June 06, 2022 | 09:59
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The latest innovative stories from Sweden, green solutions of its businesses, and the modernised image of this nation as a hub for sustainable innovations were all discussed in Ho Chi Minh City last week.
Swedish solutions top sustainability wish list
“Pioneer the Possible” gave experts and organisation heads the platform to discuss what Vietnam requires

With the main purpose of promoting and enabling the Swedish-Vietnamese partnership for sustainability, a two-day “Pioneer the Possible” event was hosted last week by the Swedish Embassy and Business Sweden in partnership with Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Swedish Ambassador to Vietnam Ann Måwe analysed the bottlenecks that are hindering Vietnam in its attempts to go green, including in the energy sector.

“There has to be an incentive in infrastructure and decision that is supporting that move. There needs to be an upgrade of the electricity grid in Vietnam to make full use of renewable energy,” said Måwe.

A second bottleneck is dependency, she added. “The dependency is still quite large. There needs to be a way to transition out of this and, of course, we need a lot of people to do that. It has to be planned how to do this in a sustainable manner,” Måwe said.

However, Vietnam does hold many advantages. The ambassador said that there was already an ambitious commitment that has been made, there is a political direction to go in this way. “Vietnam is not starting from scratch and is already leading in renewable energy. I think there is a lot of support for this green transition, and I am always amazed by the creativity of the younger generation in Vietnam,” she added.

Technology and transformation towards a greener world are important keys in fighting climate change. In this regard, businesses have a crucial role to play, noted David Liden, trade commissioner and country manager for Business Sweden in Vietnam.

‘’Innovation plays an important role in how competitive a nation stays over time, and it is important for the quality of life for a nation’s citizens. With this event, we are bringing and sharing inspirational, solution-focused, and future-looking stories from the Swedish business side,” Liden said. “We are looking for Vietnamese pioneers as co-creators and partners to set a new course together.”

Towards digitalisation

According to Denis Brunetti, president in Vietnam and Myanmar of Ericsson, Vietnam is one of the leaders in IT development and its application to economic development.

“The Vietnamese government understands and is mapping out clear strategies for developing digital transformation and IT development,” said Brunetti.

In 2020 the prime minister approved the National Digital Transformation Programme for 2025, with an orientation towards 2030. The initiative will help accelerate digital transformation through changes in awareness, enterprise strategies, and incentives towards the digitalisation of businesses, administration, and production activities.

The programme targets businesses, cooperatives, and business households that want to adopt digital transformation to improve their production, business efficiency, and competitiveness.

Vietnam’s internet economy was valued at about $21 billion in 2021, contributing to 5 per cent of GDP and rising seven-fold from 2015. Meanwhile, the country’s digital economy is projected to hit $220 billion in gross merchandise value by 2030, placing the country second only to Indonesia in the Southeast Asian region.

“The internet economy is the database and the driving force for economic development. Therefore, the more Vietnam is appreciated, the more benefits for its economy, and this is a great foundation for taking off in the near future,” Brunetti said.

Compared to other neighbouring countries such as Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand, Vietnam now has a faster increase in labour costs.

Meanwhile, 5G will help increase labour intensity as well as support automation, AI, virtual reality, and many other technologies.

“Ericsson pushes innovation and startup enterprises in all sectors to apply 5G in their business and operation, from infrastructure, manufacturing, and education to healthcare and many others. 5G helps enterprises to be more efficiently operated, creating new jobs and new technologies and pushing up the whole society to transfer into the digital economy,” he added.

Innovative capacity

With a population of 10 million, Sweden is a hub for innovation. The capital of Stockholm produces the second-highest number of billion-dollar tech companies per capita, and in Sweden overall, there are 20 startups per 1,000 employees.

In the latest edition of the Global Innovation Index (GII) dated September 2021, which captured the innovation ecosystem performance of 132 economies, Sweden ranks second out of 132 economies around the world.

The Scandinavian nation scores high on institutions, where the political, regulatory, and business environment is measured. In the business sophistication parameter, measuring knowledge workers, knowledge absorption and innovation links, Sweden is ranked number one in the world. Sweden also scores high in the knowledge and technology outputs, where the country is also ranked second place.

In the same index, Vietnam ranks 44th. However, it notably continues to hold the top position in the group of 34 lower-middle-income countries and is one of four middle-income economies with the potential to change the global innovation landscape.

The GII’s overall formula for measuring an economy’s innovative capacity and output provides clarity for decision-makers in government, business and elsewhere as they look forward to creating policies that enable their people to invent and create more efficiently.

The innovation index looks at seven different parameters: human capital and research, knowledge and technology output, infrastructure, market sophistication, business sophistication, creative outputs, and institutions.

Sweden has a high per-capita GDP, a large industrial sector, long transport distances, and cold winters – factors generally associated with high greenhouse gas emissions. Yet since 1990, Sweden has successfully combined lower emissions with strong economic performance. Emissions have dropped by close to 30 per cent at a time when GDP has jumped by 86 per cent.

Chandan Singh-Country managing director Hitachi Energy Vietnam

Electricity is the foundation for the manufacturing economy. How to reduce electricity loss and carbon waste in the process of economic development is, these days, a top priority issue.

Currently, Vietnam’s total power capacity is about 55,000MW. However, the current electricity grid cannot absorb all the renewable energy generated in a short time. The country does have different solutions and measures to solve this problem in the coming time.

The Power Development Plan VIII is waiting for the government’s approval, and we still have six months more to increase the transmission grid. We come here to invest and stay for a long time, contributing to the goal of neutralising energy in Vietnam.

Sweden is at the forefront of recycling energy development but we had to start very early, right from the 1950s. Vietnam, in terms of growth rate, is faster than Sweden. Digitalisation is very important to help reduce carbon emissions and enhance the life cycle of assets.

Hitachi aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 – we have stopped using fossil energy and we want to become a pioneer in being carbon neutral, as well as contribute to Vietnam’s development goals.

Vo Quang Lam-Deputy general director Electricity of Vietnam (EVN)

Vietnam is currently producing more than 78,000MW, leading ASEAN in terms of the transmission grid. In which, renewable energy accounts for 30 per cent of commercial electricity.

Vietnam is focusing on expanding renewable energy sources to ensure the system is always stable and safe. EVN is managing power transmission and distribution, holding 51 per cent while the rest is owned privately or by independent or build-operate-transfer plants.

Currently, Vietnam has more than 1,200 wind power pylons and thousands of households have solar energy on the roof, so we see that non-state actors are also working very actively.

The scale of the power grid will grow very quickly, expected to be doubled in the next eight years, and the scale of investment will also increase very quickly. EVN is reporting to the government to soon amend the legal corridor so that the national axis will still be managed by us, while the rest can be managed by other non-state sectors.

The process of digital transformation in the economy, and in the energy sector in particular, is very significant. In the upcoming energy development roadmap for Vietnam, we appreciate any energy sources that contribute to the electricity supply and give priority to renewable energy, such as solar and wind power.

Doan Van hien-Vice president, Electrification Distribution Solutions, ABB

Optimising the power system and using electricity efficiently is the top priority of every economy.

We have all heard about the importance of being smart in many economic sectors such as healthcare, education, industry, property, and more. Being smarter not only creates good infrastructure but also saves energy and is environmentally friendly. Solutions to save and use energy are a megatrend in the world, not only in Vietnam.

ABB is developing new electrical equipment that increases energy efficiency and reduces carbon, as this is the trend of the future. We also provide solutions to help Vietnam implement the zero-carbon roadmap as set out.

The price of raw materials and services in the world is increasing, and so the most important thing that businesses need to take into account is that the factory system must be digitalised and applied to advanced technologies for longer lifecycles and to develop more sustainably.

By Van Ngoc

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