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After a year of research on the relationship between productivity and the environment, the APO developed its Green Productivity (GP) strategy in 1994 to enhance productivity and environmental performance for sustainable socioeconomic development. The GP concept of has since been refined and improved through applications in member countries. The tools and techniques have been adapted in scores of projects that disseminated the concept and its practices. Now that concerns about climate change and environmental degradation are intensifying, interest in GP as the integration of economic development and environmental management is increasingly seen as a sustainable solution to a variety of problems.
The availability of and access to eco-friendly products and services is very important for sustainable development. The practice of eco-labeling, indicating the degree to which a product or service is environmentally sensitive, is therefore becoming essential in today’s industrial environment and emerging as one of the key elements in the GP concept. The APO has been promoting this through its Eco-products International Fairs, with the next one scheduled for 2008 in Hanoi, Vietnam.
This encouraged the government of Vietnam to devise an eco-labeling scheme for eco-products and culminated in the organization of this seminar as the starting point. Therefore, to provide opportunities to discuss the latest developments in eco-labeling systems for environmental professionals from all sectors, the APO and Vietnam Productivity Centre (VPC) organized a seminar on Eco-labeling in Vietnam, 5–9 November. Three overseas resource speakers from the Philippines, Republic of China, and India were dispatched to provide information on eco-labeling schemes in each country along with case studies.
Participants also visited a silk factory to observe the use of organic dyes and colors in the production of silk items and Daewoo Hotel, which obtained ISO14001 certification in recognition of its eco-friendly services. Both visits provided insight into how environmental management can be improved by using eco-products and -services.
The five-day seminar concluded with the formulation of action plan for developing an eco-labeling scheme for Vietnam which the VPC will submit to the national Environment Protection Agency after consultation with local experts. The participants could use similar concepts and techniques to prepare national and regional action plans for their countries. The APO has promised technical support for their eco-label endeavors.