Interview between GCTF representative and Vietnam Economic Times (VET)

Ms. Nguyen Le Hang, from Vietnam Cleaner Production Centre (VNCPC) – Control Operator of the Green Credit Trust (GCTF), spoke with Vietnam Economic Times (VET) about green credit growth in Vietnam and its future development.



  • How would you evaluate the development of green growth in Vietnam in terms of policies and potential difficulties?

Green credit is a policy of the banking and finance sector to support investment activities that have a positive impact on environmental quality. Therefore, green credit provides society with a range of benefits, in growth, economic development, improving people’s living standards, and protecting the environment.

Green credit issues have been given due regard by many countries around the world for a number of years. Such products from banks are often directed at projects in energy savings, renewable energy and clean technology. Priority areas have depended on the credit policies of each country.

  • How is the green credit model being developed in Vietnam? What are the criteria for a project to receive support from GCTF?

The responsibility of the banking sector is to play an important role in funding for enterprises. Banks will therefore have certain requirements for projects seeking loan capital. Project must ensure the implementation of environmental regulations and social security. Support from banks aims to encourage enterprises to orient their activities towards cleaner and safer production. However, until Directive No. 03 on promoting green credit growth and environmental and social risk management in the granting of credit is launched, most domestic banks are not overly concerned about environmental protection criteria when making lending decisions.

There are several international organizations operating in Vietnam, such as the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank (ADB), and the International Finance Corporation (IFC), which have set environmental standards to which partners seeking loans should follow.

To select projects receiving financing under the green credit lines of the GCTF, there are criteria relating to size, type of business line, type of project, and environmental indicators. Enterprises need to select a technology that reduces their environmental impact by at least 30 per cent then propose a suitable plan to the fund

  • What would you say about the success GCTF has achieved in Vietnam? What are te difficulties in supporting enterprises?

GCTF was founded in Vietnam by Switzerland’s State Secretaritat for Economic Affairs (SECO) with the aim of supporting Vietnamese companies to invest in production technology with high-performance that is friendly on the environment. Established in 2007, it was one of the first green credit operations in the country, targeting the industrial manufacturing and service sectors. The GCTF also supports commercial banks, helping them understand the necessity of developing a new type of credit product for enterprises.

We have face certain difficulties. The ability of enterprises to access information and policies on finance and technology remains limited, and some businesses try to access our fund but are not approved because of bad debts.

  • Why is green credit a new growth model for Vietnam?

In my opinion, green credit is a tool for sustainable economic growth. A characteristic of many enterprises in Vietnam is to operate old equipment and technologies that use a lot of energy and cause emissions, which adversely impact on the environment. However, the greatest barrier for Vietnamses enterprises in renewing the equipment for environmentally-friendly production is the high level of investment. The majority od small and medium-sized enterprises in Vietnam often have capital difficulties and lack of collateral to gain access bank credit. This affects their technological innovation. Green credit would support enterprises a great deal.

  • How would you evaluate the policies in place to support green credit in Vietnam?

To develop green credit in Vietnam requires the involvement of authorities, credit institutions, and enterprises. It is important to raise awareness among enterprises that environmental protection is also a way to bring economic benefit and is not just an extra cost. Research capacity and technology transfer needs to be strengthened, as does the appraisal of projects for green growth in the banking sector and the connections between authorities, credit institutions, and enterprises.

  • What are your predictions for the development of green credit over the next three years?

When Directive No. 03 has been implemented, as well as the draft policy, strategy and national action program on production and sustainable consumption, environmental protection, and sustainable development, green credit will be an indispensable financial tool in the next stage of economic development.

Source: Vietnam Economic Times (VET)

GCTF Admin

Flood risk to nuclear sites raises meltdown fears

Sea level rise, storm surges and bursting dams all pose an increasing danger to nuclear power stations as the climate changes.


Radiation-contaminated water tanks at Tepco’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. There are currently 435 operating nuclear reactors in the world, many of them potentially vulnerable to flooding because of natural disasters. Image: Reuters

Safety checks following the Fukushima disaster in Japan in March 2011, when a 10 metre-high sea wall was overtopped by a tsunami, have shown that nuclear plants are at greater risk of catastrophic flooding as a result of climate change.

All nuclear plants need large quantities of water for cooling so all must be built close to the sea, large rivers or lakes. This makes them vulnerable to sea level rise, storm surges and to the possible collapse of large dams upstream from poor construction, floodwater or seismic activity.

Since nuclear plants are designed to operate for as long as 60 years and need around a further century to decommission, accelerating sea level rise and more intense rainfall may present serious problems.

There are currently 435 operating nuclear reactors in the world, many of them potentially vulnerable to flooding because of natural disasters. Examples from the UK, Finland and the US show that the extent of the danger is not always being disclosed.

In Britain, after discovering in May 2013 that one of their reactors would be at risk during a storm of inundation by seawater, the owners, EDF Energy, quietly shut it down. The reactor, at Dungeness and built on a shingle beach beside the English Channel, supplies 750,000 homes.

“The risk of a serious nuclear accident remains always above zero as a result of unexpected phenomena taking place” Christer Pursianen, professor of societal safety and environment at the Arctic University of Norway

The company informed the Office for Nuclear Regulation that it was being shut down as a precaution. The reactor remained off-line until 15 October that year while a new sea wall was constructed – losing the company around £100 million in revenue.

Serious problem

Although the company did announce the closure at the time, the extent of the problem and the length of the shutdown were not announced. Later EDF admitted that the emergency works had taken place following an assessment of the flooding danger after the Fukushima disaster.

Stephen Thomas, professor of energy policy at the university of Greenwich in London, criticized EDF for its attitude. He was quoted by the UK’s Independent newspaper as saying: “If a plant closes for five months it is not just fiddling about, it is something serious, and EDF can’t pretend it is not…we need to be told the truth.”

The same fears were raised in the US by the Union of Concerned Scientists after a report was leaked about the danger to nuclear reactors from dams bursting. According to a report by the US Nuclear Regulatory Authority (NRC), which had been withheld, more than 30 nuclear installations were in danger from flooding. The Commission was later accused of using security concerns to mask embarrassing information.

Higher odds

Among many revelations in the report was the fact that the authorities had known for a decade or more that the failure of a dam upstream from the Oconee nuclear plant in South Carolina would cause floodwater to overwhelm its three reactors, possibly causing a catastrophic meltdown. The odds of the dam bursting were far higher than the chances of the accident that devastated Fukushima.

Oconee is one of the largest nuclear plants in America and has been operating since 1983. Its owner, Duke Energy, remains confident that it could shut the plant down safely in an hour, before floodwaters from upstream could reach the reactors. The NRC has decided that this is sufficient safeguard.

Dave Lochbaum, director of the Nuclear Safety Project at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said: “The NRC knows – and has known for many years – that flooding from dam failures can disable the emergency equipment needed to prevent reactor core meltdown.

“The agency must require plants to address known flooding hazards and thoroughly investigate other plants that may be at risk and require them to resolve any potential hazards.

“If such a flooding accident occurred, the NRC would quickly determine which other plants were vulnerable and require them to strengthen their protection against similar events. Wouldn’t it be smarter for the agency to do that before an accident occurs?”

More open about its problems is Finland’s Loviisa nuclear power plant on the Baltic Sea, which was flooded by a 1.73-metre storm surge in 2005. Since then four cooling towers have been built 10 metres above sea level to avoid inundation in a new storm surge, and new floodgates and waterproof doors have been installed to protect the reactor. A new road has been built above flood level so that emergency services can reach the plant to pump away floodwater.

Even so, the Rain Project, a consortium of experts on safety and climate change, thinks more can be done to protect against potential disaster. Christer Pursianen is professor of societal safety and environment at the Arctic University of Norway.

He says that although Finland is in the forefront of nuclear safety, more needs to be done to train staff in emergencies and to develop  links with neighbouring countries so as to gain experience in disaster prevention: “The risk of a serious nuclear accident remains always above zero as a result of unexpected phenomena taking place.”


Blocking the heat

In tropical countries as Vietnam Ventilation and Air Conditioning of buildings is a necessity to provide livable and workable conditions for people and electronic equipment. On the other hand Carbon Trust estimates that ACs can increase the energy consumption of buildings up to 100 percent, adding a huge figure on the financial and environmental burden of buildings and their operation.


Therefore measures to mitigate the warming of the facilities itself become more crucial as they lower the amount of energy used for active cooling later on. One of this measures it the selection of modern glass layers for windows shielding the interior from Infrared Light while still ensuring proper transparency for light rays in the visible spectrum. Heat transmitted via heat radiation is reduced to 15 % through the installation of a modern 3-layer-windows compared to a single layer window.

In combination with accurate insulation of windows and doors to minimize convection as well, this will lead to significant energy saving. The American council estimates that air conditioning costs can be reduced by 3 -5 % for every degree Celsius not needed to be cooled down. Considering that the comfortable living and working temperature for humans is around 20 °C and the average temperature in Vietnam is raging from 24 °C (Hanoi) to 27 °C (HCMC) the installation of proper insulated windows can lower the energy consumption significantly. Depending on the overall environmental conditions as the annual average temperature, sun hours per day or the configuration of the building, the payback time of the investment varies. A scenario from Austin, Texas (around 20 °C average) with the given temperature distribution estimates the payback time of the installation of modern windows  to one year and to 10 years if existing window are replaced. In Vietnam this payback time is estimated to be even shorter.

Besides the reduced energy costs and corresponding savings in resource consumption, the installation of modern windows also increases the appearance and the value of the premise.

 Admin GCTF

Promoting Green Buildings in Vietnam

In times of rising worldwide energy demand and a growing number of houses and production plants, lowering the environmental impact of construction and operation of these buildings is a crucial element in the overall effort to promote sustainable resource consumption while maintaining economic growth.

As of now, an estimated fraction of 30 % of global carbon emissions and usage of natural resources can be directly linked to the construction and maintenance of buildings. Besides this extensive impact on our global resource budget, buildings and a corresponding living and work environment are sizing interfaces that influence people’s creativity and productivity. A holistic concept is needed considering the multidimensional challenges and chances lying within the design and operation of buildings complying with all the different facets and functions that buildings are requested to supply in today’s world.



The German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB) as the German national representative of the international Green Building Council is offering various assessments, expertise and certification for voluntary applicants who want to comply with international energy and sustainability standards. Through an evaluation of 40 criteria from different fields, the overall quality of the buildings in terms of environmental, economic, sociocultural, technical, process and site aspects is indicated and rated. Depending on the compliance with the criteria an overall Performance Index is calculated and a label (bronze, silver, gold) is awarded.



Independent assistance and certification is given in the planning phase of new projects as well as for existing building. In addition, DGNB trains new consultants qualifying them to conduct energy assessments independently and audit buildings through the DGNB system later on. Currently, in 2015, DGNB is willing to extend these training services to Vietnam to enable interested parties to get access to the certification process. In parallel assistance is given for the newly constructed Deutsches Haus in Ho Chi Minh City which will be the first DGNB certified building in Vietnam.


As audits and certifications are customized to the sector and utilization of the buildings a special potential of a successful certification of buildings in Vietnam is identified for hotels and other facilities in the tourism sector. Here, a successful certification may serve as useful label to attract more guests sensitive to sustainable resource consumption.

Admin GCTF


Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014

The latest edition of this authoritative annual report tells the story of the latest developments, signs and signals in the financing of renewable power and fuels.Packed full of statistics, charts and illuminating narrative, it explores the issues affecting each type of investment, technology, region.

According to Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment 2014 – produced by the Frankfurt School-UNEP Collaborating Centre for Climate & Sustainable Energy Finance, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Bloomberg New Energy Finance — the investment drop of $US35.1 billion was partly due to the falling cost of solar photovoltaic systems. The other main cause was policy uncertainty in many countries, an issue that also depressed investment in fossil fuel generation in 2013. Download the entire Report here.

Download ourChartpack ! Download ourDatapack!

Additional highlights:

  • Total investments fell in 2013 by 14% to $214 billion worldwide, reflecting significant cost reductions and the impact of policy uncertainty.

  • Solar PV, in particular, improved its cost-competitiveness: some 39GW were installed, up from 31GW in 2012, for fewer dollars invested.
  • The number of markets that can compete without subsidies is increasing.
  • Renewables excluding large hydro account for 43.6% of 2013’s newly-installed generating capacity.
  • Wind investments remained roughly the same, while solar PV outlays dropped 20% despite a record amount installed.
  • In 2013, China for the first time invested more in renewable energy than Europe.
  • Renewable energy investment in Japan increased by 80 % during the last year.

The Global Trends in Renewable Energy Investment Report (GTR) is a sister publication to the Renewables Global Status Report (GSR) produced by the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century REN21. The 2014 edition of the GSR, launched on June 4th, 2014, is available at It provides an overview of renewable energy market, industry, investment and policy developments worldwide.

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GTR Datapack 2014 156.23 KB
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New incubator network to help clean-energy entrepreneurs

The Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) have launched the Clean Energy Incubator Network. The program, funded by the Energy Department, aims to improve the performance of clean energy business incubators, connect critical industry and energy sector partners, and advance clean energy technologies emerging from universities and federal laboratories.


Through its newly launched website,, networking opportunities, and identifying industry best practices, the network provides nationwide coordination that addresses the unique challenges facing energy start-ups.

“This website of resources and tools for incubators and entrepreneurs will serve as a focal point of the network,” said Matt Ringer, NREL’s project manager. “With our past experience building databases for a variety of related energy resources, NREL is well positioned to develop this type of resource for the clean tech industry.”

Over time, the website will include funding, laboratory, and event resources, in addition to an evaluation toolkit that will recommend resources specifically targeted to guide start-ups, based on their commercialization readiness level.

EPRI aims to serve as the convening force behind building greater success for innovation across the industry by sharing strategies and helping to facilitate connections between leaders in the clean energy incubator space.

“With the issues consistently seen when transferring clean energy technologies to the market, this type of incubation is particularly challenging,” said Beth Hartman, EPRI’s project manager for the new network. “To address these challenges, the network will help leading incubators in the clean energy industry learn from each other how to best find resources for supporting entrepreneurs. This support of entrepreneurs will also include connecting them with innovative partners from established industry leaders.”

Along with the NREL website, EPRI is working to help organize a variety of in-person and virtual events aimed at sharing best practices on both incubation techniques and . The workshop convening at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit, Feb. 9-11, marks the first of events focused on convening the incubator and innovation community. Later this year, a national summit will bring together an entire marketplace: start-ups, incubators, investors, and industry participants.

The Clean Energy Incubator Network also plans to implement a SmartIncubationTM program, in which the network will publish the results of its clean tech start-up analysis every six months, identifying and recommending best practices and strategies.

“Start-ups in the energy industry, unlike other industries, typically require more capital, longer timelines, and intense networking to commercialize workable technologies,” Hartman said. “This community will provide a smart focus on early stage incubation to meet strategic needs in the energy . In the end, our collaboration will support new technologies in energy that add diversity to our energy mix, reduce pollutants and create a more flexible power system for our nation.”

Available at

New lower cost sensors and controls yield better energy efficiency


Regulating comfort in small commercial buildings could become more efficient and less expensive thanks to an innovative low-cost wireless sensor technology being developed by researchers at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

Buildings are responsible for about 40 percent of the energy consumed in the United States. Studies indicate that advanced and controls have the potential to reduce the energy consumption of buildings by 20-30 percent.


ORNL researchers are experimenting with additive roll-to-roll manufacturing techniques to develop low-cost wireless sensors. ORNL’s Pooran Joshi shows how the process enables electronics components to be printed on flexible plastic substrates.

“It is widely accepted that energy-consuming systems such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning (HVAC) units in buildings are under, or poorly, controlled causing them to waste energy,” said Patrick Hughes, director of ORNL’s Building Technologies Program. “Buildings could increase their if control systems had access to additional information.”

Collecting data such as outside air and room temperature, humidity, light level, occupancy and pollutants is currently cost prohibitive, whether the information is gathered by inexpensive conventional sensors that must be wired, or by using today’s expensive $150-300 per node wireless sensors.

ORNL’s new prototype could reduce costs to $1-10 per node by leveraging advanced manufacturing techniques such as additive roll-to-roll manufacturing. This process enables electronics components like circuits, sensors, antennae, and photovoltaic cells and batteries to be printed on flexible plastic substrates (base materials). The nodes can be installed without wires using a peel-and-stick adhesive backing.

“If commercially available at the target price point, there would be endless application possibilities where the installed cost to improve the control of energy-consuming systems would pay for itself through lower utility bills in only a few years,” Hughes said.

The ultra-low power smart sensors collect and send data to a receiver, which can capture data from many different peel-and-stick nodes and provide the information to the energy-consuming system. The more information received, the better the building’s energy management.

Both new construction and retrofitted buildings can benefit from ORNL’s smart sensors.

“This technology provides the information that enables ongoing continuous commissioning, fault detection and diagnosis, and service organization notifications when needed, ensuring optimal building system operations throughout their service life,” said ORNL’s Teja Kuruganti, principal investigator on the low-cost wireless sensors project.

ORNL is currently in negotiations to establish a cooperative research and development agreement with a premier international electronics manufacturer to make the low-cost wireless sensors commercially available.

Available at

Focus on green tech to tackle climate change, says UK’s climate adviser

Sir David King says green technology deserves as much attention as being given to details of negotiations for Paris

Sir David King is the Foreign Office’s special representative for climate change. Photograph: Richard Gardner/REX/Richard Gardner/REX

Sir David King, former chief scientific adviser to the UK government and now the special representative for climate change, said: “Technology is moving ahead very rapidly. I think we need to focus not only on the details of the negotiations, but also on what the technological revolution is going to bring to us.”

He cited as an example new biofuels technology that can turn agricultural waste into ethanol, and uses the methane produced as a byproduct to power the factory in which it is created. If this were “translated” to be used widely in China, for instance, the potential would be “massive … enormous”, he said.

As the world’s governments gear up for the Paris talks, Sir David said the UK was “leading the world” in climate diplomacy, forming close associations with other governments and among officials as a key focus of the Foreign Office’s efforts. He said the foreign secretary had “protected” the budget for this diplomatic push against swingeing cuts that have affected other parts of the department.

At Paris, governments are hoping to forge a new global agreement on the climate that would set national targets for curbs on greenhouse gas emissions after 2020, when current targets run out. Governments are scheduled to produce their targets this month, with Switzerland last week becoming the first nation to submit its proposals to the UN.

The European Union, China and the US have also publicly set out proposals, though these have yet to be formally codified into the UN process. The EU has pledged to cut emissions by 40% relative to 1990 levels by 2030, while China’s emissions will peak by 2030 and the US will cut greenhouse gases by 25% to 28% by 2025.

Professor Qi Ye, a leading Chinese adviser on energy policy, added that China’s emissions might peak sooner as the hope was for a peak year “around 2030”, and that the country was moving ahead rapidly on renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear power and reducing coal consumption, which fell by 3% last year partly because of slowing economic growth but also from the effects of policy.

He pointed to recent adverse publicity on air pollution, which is a major problem in Chinese cities and was recently highlighted by Chai Jing in a much-seen internet video, and that this would also provide a strong spur to cleaning up greenhouse gas emissions. This approach, of emphasising the “co-benefits” to health from dealing with climate change as well as air and water pollution, was gaining ground, he said.

Diplomacy is stepping up in the lead-up to the crunch talks later this year. Todd Stern, the US envoy for climate change, told journalists last week it was important not to make snap judgements on the outcome of the Paris talks, the effects of which he said would take several years to be felt. He warned that Paris was a crucial stage for global negotiations on a new climate agreement: “With as much teed up as is teed up now, if the thing really were to not get over the finish line, I think that would be a consequential thing for the UN. But I don’t think that’s going to happen.”

Prof Qi and Sir David were speaking at an IPPR event in central London on Tuesday.

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The SECO visiting enterprises of Green Credit Trust Fund projects

On November the 23rd, 2012, the representative of the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO), Ms. Katrin Ochsenbein, Program Manager of Macroeconomic Support Division, SECO Head Office in Switzerland and Ms. Bruhin Brigitte – Deputy Director of Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SECO/SDC) in Hanoi, together with Vietnam Cleaner Production Center (VNCPC) which is the coordinating body of Green Credit Trust Fund (GCTF) paid a visit to the enterprise with ongoing project supported by GCTF for technological innovation.

Green Credit Trust Fund (GCTF) was established in 2007 in Vietnam under the auspices of SECO to support Vietnamese SMEs to bravely take part in medium- and long- term investments in cleaner technologies in the fields of industrial production and services. There have been dozens of Vietnamese SMEs who applied for GCTF up to now and some of them were received reimbursement.

Under the framework of this time SECO headquarters’ mission, the delegation took a trip to Dao Van Tung Household Enterprise which specialized in producing plastic net for the use in agriculture and construction. This enterprise involved in the GCTF in 2012 to change the production line with the main objective of reducing the amount of water consumption in production. The achieved results were very impressed with the rate of water consumption reduced by over 90%, the electricity consumption reduced by 30% and together with the increase in daily production capacity by 8%. In addition, the safety conditions in production were also improved

Ms. Nguyen Le Hang, the coordinator of GCTF in Vietnam, was discussing with Ms. Bruhin and Ms. Katrin

In the current difficult economic situation, the SMEs are in need of the capital support for their production investment activities, the GCTF is a helpful solution not only regarding the immediate capital source for businesses but also the changes in technology which help them to improve the long-term production costs as well as protect the business and community environment

The SECO delegation, after the trip, was very satisfied with the changes in the enterprise’s production technology. Ms. Bruhin also encouraged the enterprises to participate in the Better Work project (the project on improvement of working conditions and cooperation among the employers and employees). When participating in this project, the enterprises will be received technical support to protect the employees from occupational diseases and the unsafe risks at work (e.g.: ear protection for workers standing nearby the machines, mask and labor protection in dusty and toxic chemicals environments).

The Green Credit Trust Fund (GCTF) has been a bridge between the SMEs and advanced and optimized production technologies which move the enterprise toward more sustainable development. Ms. Nguyen Le Hang (VNCPC), the coordinator of GCTF in Vietnam, said: “In the near future, the GCTF will continue to be more widely deployed with the expectation to get more businesses involved”. Besides, VNCPC will also seek the opportunities to, along with the support from SECO; continue to implement more new projects in the near future with a view to helping the enterprises develop more sustainable.

Admin GCTF