Solutions for the green transition in Vietnam: Corporate Water Risk Management

he Hoang Sa canal, where the relentless flow of traffic mirrors the vibrant energy ofHo Chi Minh City,  is the unexpected yet auspicious meeting place for the two co-founders of Flowmetric, an innovative start-up designed to empower companies in navigating the challenges of a changing climate through smart water risk management.

Hoang Sa Canal. Source: VnExpress

Wilder McCoy, a natural resource management student from the USA, went to the Netherlands,  the lowest country of Europe with 26% of its land below sea level,  to pursue a Master’s degree in water management and governance..

Meanwhile, Nam Doan, an environmentally-minded computer science entrepreneur, grew up watching his father work on dredging boats in the rivers of Northern Vietnam, instilling in him the deep importance of water for the livelihood of millions living in the delta lowlands.

Their worlds collided near Hoang Sa Canal, where Wilder was on a mission for a Dutch private equity firm specializing in international water infrastructure finance. Nam’s frustration with the impending challenges facing the Mekong delta economy resonated with Wilder’s awareness of the financial risks posed by water resource challenges. A serendipitous and two minds converging led to the birth of Flowmetric, an initiative aimed at assisting companies to comply with increasingly demanding environmental regulations worldwide and to help them save money by optimizing water use efficiency in their manufacturing processes.

Flowmetric, now nurtured by Green Tech Landing Pad – a joint project between Vietnam’s National Innovation Center and GIZ Viet Nam, Germany’s development agency has embarked on a pilot program with a prominent player in sustainable denim production.

Flowmetric will provide a single platform to integrate a variety of risks in the form of saline intrusion, water scarcity, and floods.

The successful pilot will then pave the way for Flowmetric’s expansion, enabling corporations to assess the financial impact of the identified water risks, and prioritize water infrastructure improvements effectively.

Wilder notes that “It’s very difficult for corporations to understand how to preventively adapt to a changing climate, and water offers a unique lens to proactively manage climate risks and view them as opportunities to stand apart from others and to develop long-term competitive advantages.”

Nam and Wilder. Source: provided by the characters.

Nam believes compliance is a key driver of the business. Companies in Vietnam not only have to meet Vietnamese water quality standards for the wastewater they produce, but they now must meet increasingly stringent international water quality standards such as the ZDHC standards (Zero Discharge of Harmful Chemicals). He mentions that “companies who can’t meet these standards won’t be able to sell in those global markets moving forward; we want to enable both sustainable water management and also help the bottom line of our clients by ensuring that they are legally compliant with rising international standards.”

 

An industrial water treatment station. Souce: Online

 

Water Risks are Financial Risks

With the pilot project already kicked off, Flowmetric is poised to be the first of its kind platform delivering specialized water expertise, risk management, and compliance in SE Asia. Wilder believes that “ultimately, for many businesses such as the textile industry which notoriously requires vast amounts of water in its manufacturing processes, the more efficient use of water is not only financially beneficial to companies through a reduced water bill and infrastructure resiliency against adverse water events, it is also crucial for the economy of Vietnam. With increasing water demands, embracing circular economy concepts is becoming less of a trend and more of a requirement. Water risks like water scarcity due to drought during the dry season, or a non-compliant factory unable to keep its water discharge under control, are increasingly seen as commercial risks and should be managed as such..”

 

About the Green Tech Landing Pad

The Green Tech Landing Pad supports businesses that can provide green solutions for the Vietnamese textile industry and provide them with support to prepare for EU’s sustainability regulations.

The Green Tech Landing Pad is implemented on behalf of the Federal Germany Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in collaboration with Viet Nam’s National Innovation Center (NIC) of the Ministry of Planning and Investment. It is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

This program aims to bring global green solutions to textile companies in Vietnam. The textile industry’s environmental footprint is colossal, as it accounts for a staggering 10% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Despite its significant burden, the textile industry also holds immense potential for positive change. With its vast reach and interconnected supply chain, it can become a powerful driver of sustainability. The textile sector contributes about 50 billion USD each year to the Vietnamese GDP and is faced with tremendous challenges to digitalize and green their production, while also staying internationally competitive and complying to German supply chain compliance regulations. We are committed to providing green solution providers the technical support, travel and accommodation, training, and business matchmaking to improve competitiveness in the Vietnamese and EU market.

The Digital Transformation Center of GIZ Vietnam appreciates every interest in participation in our program. Please reach out to: Dtc-vietnam@giz.de or check our website: GIZ Green Tech Hub – Start (hypeinnovation.com)

 

Registration links:

For local businesses: https://forms.gle/DwmS939wR3o3jHEA8

For green solution providers: https://forms.gle/6VXVsjStQWRjdgZT6

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