Poland looks to offer green business solutions

10:43 | 08/10/2012
On the occasion of the official visit to Vietnam from October 8-9, 2012 by Poland’s Deputy Minister of Environment Beata Jaczewska, Polish Embassy to Vietnam economic counselor Wojciech Gerwel told VIR’s Thanh Tung about Vietnam-Poland cooperation potential in environmental protection and green technology

What are the biggest expectations from the official visit to Vietnam by Polish Deputy Minister of Environment Beata Jaczewska?

Over the past twenty years Poland has undergone a veritable green revolution – from a heavily polluted industrial country into a country that meets all the European Union’s elevated standards of environmental protection. Today Vietnam seems to be facing many of the environmental challenges that Poland did in the past.

Deputy Minister Beata Jaczewska’s trip constitutes an excellent opportunity to share with the Vietnamese friends Poland’s rich experiences in environmental protection, and especially in supporting innovative green technologies. The deputy minister is visiting Vietnam together with Polish companies and I am convinced that her visit will also elicit deeper cooperation between Vietnamese and Polish entrepreneurs in the field of environmental protection.

What investment opportunities can Polish green enterprises see in the Vietnamese market?

Vietnam and Poland have a robust tradition of joint scientific and practical research, especially in the hard sciences. This tradition constitutes an exceptional platform for exploring new ventures. In recent years an increasing number of entrepreneurs in both countries have been recognizing the great potential of mutual cooperation in the area of environmental protection.

The first Polish-Vietnamese joint venture in this area has been established this year and an increasing number of Polish entrepreneurs are now eyeing the Vietnamese market for opportunities to transfer green technologies. Their confidence stems from their remarkable know-how, price competitiveness and a proven track record of successes in international markets.

Twelve such companies are accompanying Deputy Minister Jaczewska during her trip to Vietnam and are taking part in the Polish-Vietnamese Environmental Protection Forum in Hanoi on October 8. Their technologies include recovery and disposal of Agent Orange and other hazardous wastes, disposal of ammunition, industrial waste management, gasification, production of liquid fuel from plastic waste, wet agro-biomass briquetting, optimization of energy consumption, geothermal heating and various tested, innovative solutions for wastewater and sewage treatment.

In general I notice great potential for technology transfer in the fields of water and wastewater treatment, waste treatment, renewable energy sources, energy efficiency, air protection and biodiversity protection.

What experience can Poland share with Vietnam in solving environmental pollution?

Resolve has determined the success of Poland’s environmental transformation. Environmental protection has been an important, consistent and genuine priority for all government administrations in Poland over the past 20 years. Whereas during this period the Polish gross domestic product has multiplied, the country has managed to reduce its greenhouse emissions by 30 per cent.

The governmental goal of improving environmental standards has been reflective of societal preferences. It would therefore be false to say that the requisite investments in environmental protection have burdened the Polish society. Quite to the contrary: they have significantly improved people’s overall health and general satisfaction. It is increasingly evident that such investments have also accelerated the development of knowledge economy, raised Poland’s global competitiveness and have simply made business sense.

Poland’s improved image as a healthy, sophisticated and modern economy has stimulated exports in general terms – and not only in the environmental protection sector. For instance, Polish quality food exports have soared and the tourism sector has benefited. Poland’s green revolution would have been much harder to achieve without sound governmental policies in the context of a decisive reliance on the private sector and on a robust scientific culture. The Polish Ministry of Environment’s GreenEvo project is a noteworthy example of such a policy.

It is essentially a rigorous, national, government-run contest for the selection of the most competitive Polish environmental protection technologies, where GreenEvo supports the winners in building new business cooperation networks internationally. In fact, all the companies that participate in the present mission to Vietnam are GreenEvo champions.

What recommendations can Poland give to the Vietnamese government in pursuing a green economy?

Rather than giving recommendations, I would invite anyone interested in this subject to study the case of the Polish transition into a green economy. There are undoubtedly many lessons to be learned from our successes and mistakes. We are always willing to share our experiences and know-how with our Vietnamese friends, notably in such important fields as the environment. I believe that common projects in the area of environmental protection would be a welcome addition to the impressive edifice of our traditional friendship.

Finally, I would like to invite everyone to visit Poland to see for themselves the remarkable results of its environmental transition. I spent my entire childhood unable to swim in the polluted sea outside my house. Today I cannot wait to go back and take a plunge, just like the hundreds of thousands of tourists that visit my hometown for a beach vacation every year.

By Thanh Tung


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