Environmentally friendly products a hard sell in VN

Thursday, Feb 25, 2016 08:12

Supermarket staff give eco-friendly bags to customers at a FiviMart. Although eco-friendly bags are available in markets, tens of tonnes of plastic bags are still used daily. — VNA/VNS Photo Hoang Lam

HA NOI (Biz Hub) — Many environmentally friendly products such as biodegradable packages and non-baked bricks have been in the market for years, but the enterprises that produce these products are having a hard time developing them.

It took many years to introduce a biodegradable plastic bag, but even though it's available now, tens of tonnes of plastic bags are still used every day. Businesses which produce environmentally friendly plastic bags face many difficulties selling their products.

Several years ago big supermarkets such as Metro, Big C and Coop Mart switched to using environmentally friendly packaging, but less consumers used it because they had to buy it instead of being given it free of charge, Tin Tuc (News) newspaper reported. Plastic bags are still widely used in small shops and markets.

Some firms said it was difficult to sell their products in the retail market, because the prices had to be high. Also, consumers weren't often willing to change their habits and use more environmentally friendly products.

Many companies that produce biodegradable plastic bags cannot survive in domestic market. They mostly export. These biodegradable products cost 5 to 10 cents more than regular bags.

Similarly, the Ministry of Construction issued a circular on the use of non-baked bricks three years ago, but enterprises selling the product still haven't found stable footing in the market.

Le Hoai An, director of Khang Minh Brick Company, one of the largest enterprises producing non-baked bricks, said his company has stepped up marketing efforts but they're still difficult to sell.

There are few firms actively investing in environmentally friendly products, but this figure is still low, said Nguyen Quang Vinh, Deputy Secretary General of Viet Nam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI).

There are fewer mechanisms to support firms investing in technology and solutions for the development of environmentally friendly products, he said.

Meanwhile, 98 per cent of Vietnamese enterprises don't have enough financial resources, human resources and awareness to make it in the market.

In addition, many regulations detailing preferential treatment for environmentally friendly businesses weren't clear, so firms didn't know what there was to be gained, he said.

"Vietnamese enterprises will have to face competition and lose market shares not only in the international markets, but also in the domestic market, if they do not make changes and meet market demand when it comes to environmentally friendly products," he told the newspaper.

The State should add more preferential policies and support firms that produce environmentally friendly products, he said. — VNS

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