The third conference and exhibition on European environmental problems and solutions, Green-Biz 2013, opened in Hanoi on September 19.

The two-day event, organised by the European Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam (EuroCham), the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) and the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry, aimed to help the public and State stakeholders discover opportunities for green growth and investment.

EuroCham Vice Chairman David Champion said it provides an opportunity for private and pubic dialogue and also for Vietnamese and European businesses to interact.

Nearly 100 high calibre speakers, including experts from the private sector, academia, governments and independent institutions will take part, together with about 70 European firms.

The conference is not only focusing on traditional technical solutions for energy efficiency and resources management but also on providing a green education and encouraging a green mindset. This includes access to healthcare, green consumption and production.

Champion said green production is important now that Vietnam is negotiating a Free Trade Agreement with the EU.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Nguyen Cam Tu said the Government is aware of the challenges, including controlling the impacts of climate change, environmental pollution and wastage of energy.

"As the ministry manages most key industry sectors, it plans to make industrial production more advanced by using natural resources and energy more efficiently, moving forwards a green economy," he said.

The Swedish Secretary for Trade, Gunnar Omm, said European companies, particularly Sweden , are at the cutting edge of green and clean technologies.

"We are looking for partnership with Vietnamese companies," he said, noting that although Vietnam has become a middle income country at an amazing speed, there are challenges ahead as rapid economic growth often come at the cost of the environment, raising the need for measures to combine economic growth and sustainability.

Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI) General Secretary Pham Thi Thu Hang said that technology is the key to production and technology transfer from European to Vietnamese companies. She said this could introduce waves of advanced technology and boost productivity.

She also said that Vietnamese enterprises need to be more active and creative in raising their competitiveness as well as helping the country avoid the middle-income trap.

At a September 19 conference on green consumption and green production, Frans Verspeek, team leader of the Switch Asia Network, said that barriers include lack of business awareness about resources-efficient production and technical and managerial skills on clean technology plus poor access to financial services for small- and medium-sized enterprises.

He said there are also barriers shaping demand, including weak communication of products to consumers, low accessibility to sustainable products and services. And there are barriers against investment, including the low cost of non-compliance.

"To remove the barriers, access to information must be provided, skills must be developed by businesses and networking on green finance set up by businesses and policy makers," Verspeek said.-VNA