November 03, 2023

Global leaders and innovators convene in Hanoi, championing Vietnam’s sustainable future

On 2 November, Hanoi’s JW Marriott Hotel was abuzz with sustainability discussions as EuroCham Vietnam held its Green Economy Forum (GEF) 2023. The forum drew international attention, with high-profile attendees such as Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

 

 

Attracting more than 600 attendees, GEF 2023 underscored the unified commitment of businesses, international bodies, governmental agencies, and the wider community to advance Vietnam’s green transition.

 

GEF 2023’s closing plenary session

 

The event closed with a plenary session, featuring keynotes delivered by Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh, European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovskis, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Ambassador of the European Union to Vietnam Julien Guerrier, and EuroCham Chairman Gabor Fluit. 

 

 

Pictured above: Vietnam’s Prime Minister, Pham Minh Chinh

 

Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh emphasized the importance of Vietnam’s partnership with Team Europe in advancing green initiatives. He lauded the EU’s commitment to a carbon-neutral future by 2050 and outlined Vietnam’s own aim for net-zero emissions by the same year. Stressing the potential of Vietnam’s renewable energy resources, the Prime Minister called for enhanced trade and investment collaborations, particularly in areas like renewable energy and digital transformation, to mutually benefit both Vietnam and the EU.

 

 

Pictured above: Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte

 

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte highlighted the Netherlands’ rich maritime and trading history, emphasizing the significance of sustainable economic growth for both the Netherlands and Vietnam. He expressed gratitude to EuroCham for organizing the event, acknowledging the pivotal role of the business sector in driving policy success through innovation and tangible results. Mr. Rutte also pointed out the notable Dutch participation at GEFE 2022 as a testament to their commitment to addressing climate change collaboratively. With the EU Green Deal regulations coming into effect, he emphasized the impending advantages for sustainable exporters and suppliers, urging both Vietnamese and Dutch producers in Vietnam to embrace these opportunities wholeheartedly.

 

 

Pictured above: European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis

 

European Commission Executive Vice-President Valdis Dombrovskis, speaking at the Green Economy Forum, highlighted the intertwined fates of the EU and Vietnam in our globalized era. Praising Vietnam’s role as a key partner, he emphasized the mutual benefits of the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement, noting Vietnam’s burgeoning exports to the EU. Dombrovskis stressed the importance of sustainable trade in transitioning to a green future, applauding both entities’ commitment to a net-zero target by 2050. Advocating for enhanced collaboration, he expressed keen interest in partnering on the EU Green Deal and advancing green technologies. In a call to action, Dombrovskis urged Vietnam to realize its commitments in key sectors and hailed renewable energy as a dual solution for climate and energy security.

 

 

Pictured above: EU Ambassador to Vietnam, Julien Guerrier

 

Ambassador of the European Union to Vietnam, Julien Guerrier, emphasized the collective ambition and shared vision between the EU and Vietnam for a sustainable green future. Lauding Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh’s proposals for cooperative green development and Vice President Dombrovskis’ commitment to strengthening economic ties, Mr. Guerrier praised Vietnam’s leadership in Southeast Asia’s clean energy sector. He stressed the urgency of sustainable practices, highlighting the successes of the European Green Deal and the need for a circular economy. The Ambassador championed the “Team Europe” approach, expressing gratitude towards EuroCham and organizers, and anticipation for the upcoming forum in 2024. The takeaway message was the shared dedication towards realizing a resilient, green, and prosperous future for both regions.

 

 

Pictured above: EuroCham Chairman Gabor Fluit

 

During his speech, EuroCham Chairman Gabor Fluit remarked, “As we celebrate our 25th anniversary, our commitment has never been stronger. From day one, our mission has been to merge European expertise with Vietnam’s dynamism to achieve mutual goals. With Team Europe’s depth in the green transition and Vietnam’s innovation, we have enabled technology transfers, shared expertise, developed high-quality talent, and advanced green initiatives. We are working closely with the government on this green transition, but even beyond that, we are also working closely with the Vietnamese business community, especially key ones like textiles, leather and shoes, and seafood, to bring in green technology and to help them in this green transition. And we are certain this is only the beginning of our collaborative journey.”

 

You can read Mr. Fluit’s full speech by clicking here.

 

The event also featured speakers representing Vietnam’s ministries, including:

  • Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Le Minh Hoan, who highlighted Vietnam’s agricultural advancements, noting significant achievements in food production both in quantity and quality, which meet domestic and export demands. However, he said challenges persist, including shrinking farmland, increased food demand due to population growth, and environmental risks from unsustainable practices. He emphasized that the adoption of green growth and sustainable agricultural practices is inevitable and aligns with global trends. To address these issues, Vietnam has enacted the National Green Growth Action Plan, aiming for a more ecologically-friendly, organic, and low-carbon agriculture by 2050.
  • Deputy Minister of Planning and Investment Nguyen Thi Bich Ngoc, who praised EuroCham for our role in policy recommendation for sustainable development at the Forum. She emphasized Vietnam’s commitment to sustainable development and its aim for net-zero emissions by 2050, highlighting the nation’s proactive stance in adhering to the Paris Climate Agreement. Mrs. Ngoc acknowledged the challenges of balancing economic growth with environmental goals, particularly in the context of a developing nation like Vietnam. She outlined the government’s strategy to harmonize greenhouse gas reduction with socio-economic development and called for technological innovation alongside policy reforms to support businesses in this green transition.
  • Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, who said that in 2023, Vietnam aspires to adopt resilient and creative development models amid global crises, pivoting towards green growth and sustainable development. Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Do Thang Hai, who said that in 2023, Vietnam aspires to adopt resilient and creative development models amid global crises, pivoting towards green growth and sustainable development. He underscored that such strategic orientations are not only for addressing current issues of public concern but also for preempting potential risks in both the public and private sectors. He added that the pursuit of green growth reflects economies’ responses to climate change and resource depletion and involves a shift towards sustainable and competitive green industries. He concluded that the Vietnamese government is committed to this sustainable path, aiming for net-zero emissions by mid-century and engaging with international alliances for climate and energy transitions.

 

In addition to those mentioned above, the event also featured attendance from various Vietnamese officials:

  • Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung
  • Deputy Minister of Construction Bui Hong Minh
  • Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Thi Thu Hang
  • Deputy Minister of Natural Resources and Environment Tran Quy Kien
  • Deputy Head of the Government Office Nguyen Xuan Thanh
  • Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee Phan Van Mai
  • Chairman of the Bac Ninh People’s Committee Nguyen Huong Giang
  • Additional provincial representatives

 

In the plenary session, a panel of business leaders assembled to offer insights into the green transition, integrating global perspectives with Vietnam’s sustainability journey. The talk, moderated by EuroCham Advisory Board Chairman Alain Cany, featured the following panelists:

  • Stuart Livesey, CEO of Copenhagen Offshore Partners (COP) Vietnam
  • Sunita Lukkhoo, Head of the European Investment Bank (EIB) Group for Southeast Asia and the Pacific 
  • Nguyen Thi Mai Thanh, Chairwoman of REE Corporation
  • Olivier Rousselet, CEO of BNP Paribas Vietnam
  • Carolyn Turk, Country Director for Vietnam of The World Bank

 

 

To further deepen its ties with the Vietnamese business community, EuroCham exchanged memoranda of understanding with several industry associations, including: 

  • The Vietnam Leather, Footwear and Handbag Association (LEFASO), represented by Nguyen Duc Thuan, focusing on capacity-building towards European Green Deal rules, 
  • The Vietnam Textile and Apparel Association (VITAS), represented by Vu Duc Giang, on bolstering Vietnam’s green transition, and 
  • The Vietnam Trade Promotion Agency (VIETRADE), represented by Vu Ba Phu, for the co-organization of the Green Economy Forum & Exhibition (GEFE) 2024.

 

GEF 2023’s conference sessions

 

Attendees were also treated to a curated program of twelve conference sessions, which addressed themes like renewable energy, green finance, decarbonization, and sustainable agriculture. Over 80 experts from various fields steered these discussions. Notable contributors included:

  • International corporations, such as Airbus, BlueScope, CIP, De Heus, EDP Renewables, and Equinor.
  • Global institutions like the European Investment Bank (EIB), GIZ (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and The World Bank.
  • Vietnamese thought leaders, with experts from institutions including Foreign Trade University,  the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City, and Vietnam National University; organizations such as the Vietnam Green Building Council; alongside corporate leaders from Dragon Capital, Vietnam Airlines, and VinaCapital.

 

Positioned just a month ahead of the 2023 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), GEF 2023 was designed to foster Europe-Vietnam collaboration and guide Vietnam’s sustainability discourse in alignment with its climate commitments. 

 

Building on the momentum of GEF 2023, EuroCham proudly announces the return of its flagship Green Economy Forum & Exhibition (GEFE) from 30 October to 1 November 2024, set in southern Vietnam. This marks a continuation of the success witnessed in its previous edition in November 2022.

 

GEF 2023 partners

 

The forum’s success stemmed from the collaborative efforts of Team Europe partners, such as the European Union Delegation to Vietnam, EuroCham Vietnam and its Green Growth Sector Committee, along with European business associations. 

 

EuroCham Vietnam also warmly thanks our esteemed sponsors for their vital contributions to GEF 2023’s realization:

 

 

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