Companies are increasingly leveraging sustainability to pursue growth, said panellists at the inaugural Innovation Forum 2017.
Held at RMIT Vietnam’s Saigon South campus, the forum was intended to contribute to discussions about APEC’s environmental and other priorities.
The one-day event featured expert presentations and panel discussions on trends in healthcare, major issues shaping education, the business of sustainability and climate change, and disruptive innovation in IT.
A common theme that emerged in the green-themed panel discussion was the increase of companies leveraging sustainability to pursue growth and add value, rather than to merely boost their reputation.
Opportunities in sustainability
James Mullen, Vice-President at ABB Group Vietnam, shared that global megatrends including digitalisation, resource efficiency, green economy, urbanisation, transportation and mobility, electrification, and emerging economies are shaping the world around us.
“The digital era is here today, whether in Vietnam or in any other countries,” Mr Mullen said.
“The technology innovation that’s transforming our lives as consumers since the beginning of the century is now being applied in industry areas.
“This creates unprecedented opportunities to capture values as entire industries are transformed.
“To do it, we need to combine information technology (IT) with operations technology.
“ABB is combining the best of IT with a wide range of industrial resolutions to customise what benefit costumers can receive today.”
The emergence of solar power
Pham Nam Phong, a young engineer fond of technology and innovation, has similarly chosen to go down the path of contributing to the country’s sustainable growth.
Mr Phong founded Vu Phong, one of Vietnam’s leading solar companies, in 2009.
“I see very good potential of doing solar business in Vietnam,” he said.
“Back in 2008, people in Vietnam didn’t know much about solar energy.
“Our first idea was to make solar generators costing $50 (one million VND) for people who live in rural areas [where electricity was still in short supply].”
Since then the company has expanded its business to urban areas. In this market Vu Phong has sought to educate customers that solar power is less expensive than they may think, and that solar systems can be a good investment.
“If you invest in solar energy you can get back your return on investment after five or six years, and you can use it up to 30 years,” Mr Phong added.
“Therefore, the solar [powered] system not only helps consumers in saving their electricity bills and in protecting the environment, but it also benefits them in the long run.”
Vu Phong is now expanding beyond Vietnam into neighbouring Myanmar and Cambodia.
Growing with Vietnam’s aquaculture industry
Tom Berry and Nick Piggot, co-founders of Nutrition Technologies, presented their business model which centres around growing with Vietnam’s aquaculture industry, supporting strong, clean growth, and reinforcing the country’s reputation as a world leader in fish and shrimp production.
Nutrition Technologies has developed completely natural systems for producing Black Soldier Fly larvae. Using this technology, their business model is to produce high quality animal protein sustainable for aqua- and animal feed at low cost by recycling the nutrients from organic waste materials.
About Innovation Forum 2017
The 2017 Innovation Forum was hosted on 22 August by RMIT University Vietnam, in conjunction with University of Medicine and Pharmacy at Ho Chi Minh City, and Pharma Group, and supported by the Australian Government.
Story: Hoang Ha