A ceremony on August 23 to launch a cooperative agreement between Unilever Vietnam and Central Retail Vietnam on plastic waste segregation is indicative of their joint commitment to alleviate the current burden on the environment and bring the ideals of the circular economy to fruition.
The current rate at which the Vietnamese public are currently segregating waste at source remains relatively low, which leads to difficulties for the local recycling industry. Therefore, the promotion of 'segregation at source' (SAS) remains one of the top priorities for businesses, the government, and the public, amid calls for synchronised implementation.
This strategic partnership between Unilever Vietnam and Central Vietnam Retail will help shift the focus towards a circular economy model for plastic waste management in supermarkets across southern Vietnam-including Ho Chi Minh City, Dong Nai and Binh Duong- and will also feature the launch of various communication and educational initiatives on collecting, segregating, and recycling plastic waste.
In addition, the partnership will focus on the optimisation of collected plastic-waste resources to be recycled and supplied back to Unilever as post-consumer recycled plastic (PCR) and reused as packaging material.
Several activities will be carried out between August and December 2023 across Central Retail Vietnam’s shopping centres throughout the southern region, such as GO! Malls in Truong Chinh, Nguyen Thi Thap, Dong Nai, and Binh Duong.
The main objective is to create green-themed consumption activities to boost sales, educate consumers on using environmentally friendly products, and to raise public awareness about changing habits concerning the consumption and management of plastic waste.
Unilever Vietnam's role is to coordinate and connect with stakeholders on the same value chain to collect and recycle plastic waste at their respective shopping centres. Meanwhile, Central Retail will designate human resources and facilitate rubbish collection at the centres where the initiative is being applied.
With a network of more than 340 retail and shopping centres across the country, welcoming on average 175,000 daily shoppers, Central Retail Vietnam is the most prominent retail partner in Unilever’s SAS scheme in Vietnam so far, and will play a fundamental role in the distribution chain for PCR-made packaging, while consistently communicating with and encouraging the public about the importance of SAS to help facilitate the recycling process.
“As a consumer goods firm closely connected with the daily lives of millions of Vietnamese families, Unilever is constantly seeking optimal solutions for plastic waste, with the circular economic model something we have been looking at for years,” said Nguyen Thi Bich Van, chairperson of Unilever Vietnam, adding, “We hope that this strategic partnership with Central Retail Vietnam will be a major step towards realising and adopting circular economic practices in our daily activities.”
Olivier Langlet, Group CEO of Central Retail Vietnam, said, “This initiative resonates perfectly with Central Retail's commitment to social responsibility and sustainable progression, and aligns seamlessly with our ambition to be a pioneer of green and sustainable retail.”
Currently, Unilever Vietnam recycles 63 per cent of its waste and has reduced its consumption of virgin plastic by 52 per cent through waste reduction and utilising PCR in the manufacturing process of its packaging.
Through various other partnership schemes, the company has collected and processed more than 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste as it moves towards its goal of collecting and processing more plastic than it uses, becoming a net-negative plastic polluter by 2025.
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