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|AkzoNobel has been promoting the preservation of historical heritages throughout Vietnam|
Phua joined AkzoNobel in 1999. Her initial role was in research and development (R&D). She undertook a position in the Southeast, South Asia, and Middle East region for 12 years before becoming director of the Global Exterior Wall Paints Expertise & Research Group for seven years. In 2018, Phua began her new role as the general director of AkzoNobel Vietnam.
“The morale of the Dutch inspires me a lot. The Netherlands is home to many multinational corporations such as AkzoNobel, Philips, ING, and Unilever,” she said. “These are global leaders in their respective fields, with numerous innovations and creations. The Dutch are also known for their efficiency, work ethics, and incorruptibility. It is not blessed with huge natural resources, however, through wisdom and creativity, the Netherlands has become the world’s most renowned water management expert.”
A second inspiration comes from the innovations and policies that strive to increase the sustainability of the country. Since Phua has a particular passion for sustainability, the Netherland’s combined efforts in transportation, energy, and industry to reduce its carbon footprint has offered her a solid base to develop new products and guide AkzoNobel’s business.
Phua’s sR&D teams have unveiled numerous exciting brands, products, and innovations that are both environmentally friendly and sustainable, as well as commercially successful. Popular instances include Dulux Weathershield Powerflexx and Easyclean, both high-performance products made from ecological materials.
Phua also actively participates in AkzoNobel’s promotion of equality and sustainability in local communities.“It fills me with pride to have a chance to make changes both in the business environment and in society,” she explained.
At the United Nations Conference of Parties, she has represented AkzoNobel several times to advocate sustainability and renewable energy. Recently, the corporation launched AkzoNobel Cares, which includes the community programme Let’s Colour, the Education Fund, and other activities the company is implementing all over the world to help create a better living space and environment for all.
In Vietnam, AkzoNobel has been continuously hosting international events on sustainable development. On the theme of 2019 Heritage Preservation, the group successfully stirred up the architect and urban developer community with two international seminars. Phua emphasised that heritages, if properly restored, could also be turned into revenue generators through Vietnam’s already-blossoming tourism industry. She also committed to collaborate with international institutional partners as well as local government authorities to support the revitalisation of heritages.
In addition, thousands of litres of paint and employee hours have been volunteered to repaint projects on islands, and in villages and schools throughout the country. In a high-profile example, the Dai Lanh lighthouse in the south-central province of Phu Yen was repainted entirely in 2018.
As a result of its work, AkzoNobel Vietnam has been honoured by reputable awards across the country such as placing in the top 100 most sustainable enterprises in Vietnam for two consecutive years, and placing in the sustainable development category of the Golden Dragon Awards for the sixth consecutive year.
Phua and AkzoNobel Vietnam are ambitious about further sustainability activities in the country, as a theme of global sustainability has been set for Dutch businesses by their government. The company already has a detailed plan featuring more events, scholarships, and repainting projects ready to promote sustainable development in cities, while also indirectly benefitting people in rural areas. Moreover, Phua wants to inspire people to carry out such activities themselves.
“Although I am new to this role, and despite the particular challenges of Vietnam, we have already reached beyond expectations thanks to steadfast leadership as well as the commitment, dedication, and hard work of my teams. This passion, resilience, and commitment I hold very close to my heart, and are what drive me and my teams. We hope that our success and passion will inspire young people to be passionate about what they do, be creative, and come up with good ideas and products to achieve a brighter and better future for all of us,” said Phua.