URC Vietnam accelerates green turn

07:30 | 14/12/2020
Proactive and consistent action for sustainable development has earned URC Vietnam the coveted Corporate Sustainability Index award. Company CFO Alvin Geronimo shared with Tom Nguyen how the company stayed its course this year and how it will ensure that sustainability stays front and centre.

This year, URC Vietnam has received the Corporate Sustainability Index (CSI) award for the second consecutive year. What new initiatives and achievements in 2019-2020 allowed the company to maintain its position?

urc vietnam accelerates green turn
Company CFO Alvin Geronimo

URC Vietnam embarked on the sustainable development journey several years ago and this year has been particularly rewarding as we have achieved many significant milestones on our way to our sustainable development goals. Specifically, in 2019, URC Vietnam and 12 partners founded Packaging Recycling Organization Vietnam (PRO Vietnam) – an alliance for recycling packaging waste toward a circular economy model.

This paves the way for us to collect for recycling all of our used packaging in Vietnam by 2030. Moreover, URC Vietnam has actively participated in community works. We were lauded by the Ministry of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (MoLISA) amongst 33 outstanding enterprises in Vietnam that have significantly contributed to childcare and protection.

Lastly, with our commitment to safe and quality products, URC Vietnam was ranked in the Top 10 Most Reputable Companies in the non-alcoholic beverage industry in Vietnam.

As a leading food and beverage producer, URC’s operations are bound to be heavily reliant on materials and produce waste. What initiatives have you launched to tackle this?

Putting sustainability at the core of our business, we are fully aware of our responsibility to care for the environment and society while growing our business. For several years now, we have been implementing initiatives to improve the efficiency of water, energy, and waste management. All URC factories have reverse osmosis systems and reuse the water cleaned by it, as well as utilise clean energy such as compressed natural gas and biomass energy to protect the environment. Besides that, industrial waste is treated by contractors for recycling and is used as raw materials to produce pavement bricks and fertiliser, among others. Our facilities are certified with ISO 14001:2015 – an industry-leading accreditation for environmental management systems.

URC Vietnam as part of PRO Vietnam has the ultimate goal of building a circular economy in Vietnam in which all of our packaging is recycled. We are working to put guidelines on our C2 bottles to help consumers understand and segregate waste properly. Besides, recognising the importance of educating the youth, URC has organised the “Save the environment together with URC Knights” campaign at hundreds of elementary schools in Vietnam to teach children about waste segregation.

Internally, we organised the Bin it Right Challenge, encouraging 3,500 employees to lead a sustainable lifestyle starting from sorting waste.

urc vietnam accelerates green turn
URC Vietnam accelerates green turn

Protecting employees and consumers has been top-of-mind for many companiese in this difficult year. What has URC done in this regard?

Besides state-of-the-art laboratories and international standardised production lines for safe and quality products, URC Vietnam perceives that we can grow sustainably only when we build a strong team of professional, engaged, and dedicated people who have committed to the same values.

We have been ensuring all the best conditions for them to be safe and grow together with us, from the physical working environment to caring for their mental wellbeing.

URC Vietnam has been recognised as one of the best companies to work for in Vietnam in 2019 by HR Asia. Moreover, the international standard for occupational health and safety management is set to prevent work-related injury and ill-health in organisations worldwide.

The standard helps ensure a safe, healthy workplace for workers and other stakeholders. URC Vietnam has also won in the People Focus category of JG Summit’s Pride in Performance Awards 2019. The award recognises initiatives that improve the organisation’s competency and efficiency by luring, growing, engaging, coaching, and retaining leaders and talents.

How is URC going to retain its position in the CSI for 2021?

In the past 17 years in Vietnam, URC has made efforts to contribute to the local economy and society through a sustainable approach to manufacturing and community relations.

In 2021, we will continue pursuing our mission as a PRO Vietnam founder to promote waste segregation as a crucial step to increase the recycling rate, moving forward to a circular economy. Besides that, we will continue to optimise operations by pursuing the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals to reduce carbon footprint and environmental impacts while improving the life of our people and developing the community.

How has COVID-19 affected URC’s business and what continuity plans did the company roll out?

The pandemic has severely affected the Vietnamese economy and enterprises, and we were no exception. Although our operations were temporarily suspended to comply with social distancing regulations, we still committed to delivering the safest and top-quality products for consumers across the nation and ensured the stable livelihood of all employees.

We still apply and develop the sustainable development and circular economy concepts in our operation because they are vital trends for business and society alike. They provide enterprises with the agility to adapt to changes on a global scale. With the upcoming plans, we are expecting a promising year to come with fruitful results for a better Vietnam.

By Tom Nguyen

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