During the last few years, Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR have enjoyed rapid economic growth, regularly exceeding 6%. This growth, however, is based on a limited number of sectors and on export products with low local added value. In order for their growth to continue in a sustainable way, the three countries need to increase –sustainably- the local added value of the goods and services they produce.
Goods exported to Europe increasingly need to consider environmental and social aspects in addition to quality and price. One efficient way to address these issues is via sustainable product design. In these countries product design capacities are weak and its importance often underestimated. Awareness raising and capacity building are important first steps in making sustainable product design a reality.
What Sustainable Product Design can do:
- Increase local added value and profit for companies: Smart, original designs permit increased pricing and/or reduced costs.
- Increase market opportunities: Good quality and low price are not sufficient anymore. Products must correspond to market requirements. What are the tastes and wishes of the final consumers? What are the environmental and social requirements of international buyers? Sustainable product design looks into these questions.
- Bring about increased social benefits and reduced negative environmental impacts for the workers and local communities.
CP4BP – The Project
This EC Asia Invest project aims at increasing the capacity of selected industries in Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR to develop environmentally sound and socially responsible products that are better adapted to the requirements and needs of the European market (Cleaner and Better Products). The project will also promote improved mutual awareness and understanding between European and local actors about their respective needs and constraints, thereby contributing to the promotion of two-way trade flows and technology transfers between Europe and Vietnam - with Cambodia and Lao PDR at a later stage. It can contribute to increased export of Vietnamese products to EU or the import of EU technologies and services in Vietnam.
Train-the-trainer workshop for designers, consultants and industry representatives of the three countries
- Pilot projects and research studies demonstrating the benefits of the CP4BP approach in 3 target industry sectors, involving European partners, authorities and local communities (Vietnam)
- Sector-specific workshops for companies in the three countries
- National Working Conference and recommendations for a National Action Plan for sustainable product design (Vietnam)
- Dissemination of the CP4BP resource kit and lessons learned in the three countries: Vietnam, Cambodia and Lao PDR
CP4BP – The companies
The project will target companies in the furniture, food processing and handicrafts sector via an application process. If other companies can show strong commitment to be involved, their applications will be considered. The companies will receive tailored training in sustainable product design and on going support to redesign products. Other key stakeholders such as designers and company intermediaries like business associations will be involved as space permits.
CP4BP – The partners
- Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC): VNCPC is the leading organization in the field of cleaner production (CP) in Vietnam and has provided support to the UNIDO CP programmes in Cambodia and Lao PDR since the beginning of 2005. It has extensive experience in deploying cleaner production as well as a concrete available CP network throughout Vietnam. Sustainable product design is a natural extension of its offer of services. VNCPC is a member of the UNIDO/UNEP network of National Cleaner Production Centres.
- Asian Institute of Technology Centre in Vietnam (AITCV): Created in 1993, AITCV is a local well-known advanced technical education institution with comprehensive experience in product design and environmental engineering. In cooperation with the Asian Institute of Technology of Bangkok, it proposes two-stage master programmes in Environmental Technology and Management, Industrial Systems Design (since 1995, including product design) and Information Technology, as well as Business Administration and Development studies programmes and a broad spectrum of short courses in the above-mentioned fields. Numerous former AITCV students now hold management positions in leading Vietnamese, Cambodian and Lao companies.
- Phnom Penh Small and Medium Industry Association (PSMIA) and Lao National Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LNCCI): LNCCI has extensive experience in the organization of workshops and dissemination activities and is partner for the implementation of two EU Asia-Invest projects in Lao PDR. PSMIA will make its extensive network of members available to the project. Staff members of both institutions have received training on CP through the UNIDO CP programmes in their respective countries. Sustainable industrial development is at the heart of their missions and the project will equip them with additional capacities in this field.
- United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP): provides leadership for the protection of the environment by inspiring change, informing stakeholders, encouraging partnerships and enabling nations and people to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UNEP's Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) works with governments and various industries to achieve responsible behavior, positive investment and a cleaner environment. UNEP has been key in efforts to integrate sustainable product approaches in developing countries. This experience makes UNEP well placed to assist in programme development and implementation and its extensive network makes it ideal to provide a link between the European and Asian contexts and assist in result dissemination and project replication.
- Delft University of Technology (DUT): The Design for Sustainability Programme (DfS) of DUT in The Netherlands has extensive experience in sustainable product innovation. Based on experiences in Europe, US and Japan, it has executed several product innovation projects in developing countries over the last ten years, including Cambodia. Currently, DfS is reworking the 1997 UNEP manual on Ecodesign into a new Global Guide on D4S (Design for Sustainability) that will become available this year. Connected to this, a Practical Approach on D4S for developing countries has been published by UNEP in 2006. These two publications will form the basis material for the introduction of D4S in Vietnam. They will first be adapted to the Vietnamese context and introduced as part of the better understood cleaner production concept, and then augmented with case studies and lessons learned from the project.
CP4BP – A project supported by the European Union’s Asia Invest Programme
The Asia-Invest Programme is a European Union initiative that aims to promote and support business co-operation between the EU and Asia, for increased trade and investment.
The CP4BP is co-funded by the Asia-Invest Programme up to an amount of 378 441.48 EURO.
For more information: www.cp4bp.org