What achievements did SCG record in 2021 and the first half of 2022, especially after experiencing the turbulence of last year?

We have three major business units within our group. The first is cement and construction materials, including the manufacturing of ceramic tiles near Hanoi and in the country’s central region. The second is packaging, in which we produce not only paper packaging but also plastic packaging. The third is chemicals, making PVC and pipes. And now we are in the process of building the Long Son Petrochemical (LSP) plant in  southern  Vietnam, which will be our largest investment outside of our own country, Thailand, with total capital of more than $5 billion. It is to be completed by the end of the year, and our plan is to begin commissioning and testing in the fourth quarter of this year, to put it into operation in the first half of next year.

The challenge that we have faced over the past two years is that infections from Covid-19 have been high. We had to suspend our business activities and many people were quarantined and even lived and worked within our manufacturing facilities. It was not easy, as we had to work on project construction and other matters at the same time. We tested people every day and had an isolation area within the company, and we had to stop people from going home in order to make sure we could maintain a safe workplace.

However, we received a lot of support not only from our own people but also from the Vietnamese Government. In particular, local administrations helped us by providing guidance and even allocating vaccines, etc., for our workers and our contractors in order to make sure that we could continue our construction activities. Despite the challenges, we were able to survive and keep not only our business but also construction projects on schedule.

How does SCG express its commitment to Vietnam’s net-zero emissions goal?

We have made a commitment in saying that we will have net-zero emissions by 2050, and the immediate target by 2030 is to cut emissions by 20 per cent. We have a plan to meet that commitment. Our plan consists of action in terms of cutting energy use and using alternative energy. The first plan is to continue investing in the technology that allows us to produce with much less energy.

The second plan is to “Go green”, which is about producing lower carbon products. For example, different types of cement and different types of building materials result in much fewer emissions. Products like sustainable packaging will also help customers better preserve products to save on energy or ensure quality. The third plan is to reduce inequality, etc., which basically enhances the competencies of not only our employees but also our contractors and people within the value chain. And the last plan is in terms of the environment and preserving nature. That will be in the form of participating in projects that improve the environment.

How does SCG apply the circular economic model and sustainable development in Vietnam?

I think the circular economy is a very good implementation concept in terms of sustainability. Sometimes when we talk about net-zero or about sustainability, there are a wide range of meanings and definitions. The circular economy allows us to focus more on three things. The first is reducing the use of natural resources and energy not only from the consumer standpoint but also from the manufacturing standpoint. The second is reuse. For example, products that can be reused that allow consumers to use them for quite some time and then clean them and reuse them again. And the last one is recycling, using products to make another product. We recycle packaging, plastic pallets, and natural resources. I think the circular economy is a very good tool and a very good action plan for us to achieve the kind of low-carbon and net-zero commitment we have made.

Even though some of the investment in the circular economy is expensive, when we look at the principle itself, it’s pretty much based on a balance between consumption and the resources we use. Even though the circular economy requires a lot of investment, the benefits we receive are worth it. I also think that consumer sentiment is moving in this direction. Consumers around the world play a very important role in terms of the sustainability of products and services.

The Long Son Petrochemical (LSP) plant will be in operation in 2023. How will it contribute to SCG’s development in Vietnam?

We know that plastic can create a burden on the environment, but on the other hand it is a useful material not only in daily consumption but also as an intermediate material for other manufacturing processes, such as automotive manufacturing, healthcare devices manufacturing, and manufacturing infrastructure materials like pipes and so on. This project is the first of its kind in Vietnam, so we have high hopes that it will be a good foundation for downstream manufacturing within the country and that it will be put into operation on time.

We have always said that a successful start-up to operations is a safe start-up, so we pay a lot of attention to safety precautions and measures before commissioning, and then production and commercialization can start. I think this project will be a good foundation for the development of the country, and as the owner of the project, we will be proud of it.

What is the company’s plan for 2023 in Vietnam?

We have a few projects, including LSP. We will develop a packaging business in the northern region, near Hanoi, and that will be our first label packaging business in this part of the country. We will also work on energy reductions and also come up with new products. We hope that project construction can be sped up. Moreover, if we look at Vietnam’s economic situation today, I am very optimistic about the recovery of the economy and the pace of business recovery. I can confirm that Vietnam is now our number one priority investment destination.