LEGO Vietnam General Director: Positive outlook on Vietnam’s green development and digital transition

Mr. Preben Elnef, Vice President and General Director of LEGO Manufacturing Vietnam, tells VET’s Linh Tong about Vietnam’s digital and green economic development.

How would you assess Vietnam’s digital and especially green development?

In my one and a half years in Vietnam, it has made a lot of progress and strong commitments, also from the Hanoi government. And these are very good progress. We are seeing they are being implemented right now, which we are actually a part of. And that is specifically in the sustainability and environmental area, but I also see that in the digital area. A lot of commitments and a lot of investment especially in the labor group, so it’s looking very positive.

Can you give us an overview of the green development orientation LEGO is taking?

I think, for us, it’s has been important for quite many years actually. In 2019, we signed up for the Science Based Targets initiative (SBTi), which is committing us to reduce our carbon emission from the 2019 level. And so it’s nothing new for us in the LEGO Group that we are very focused on being environmentally friendly and sustainable. And these in all aspects of us running our operation. When we look at Vietnam now, we can sort of say that our biggest decision is that our newest factory which will be our sixth factory in the world, that will be carbon neutral from the beginning when we open in 2024.

LEGO’s green strategy is clearly demonstrated through the building of this sixth factory in Vietnam, which is its first carbon-neutral factory. Can you tell us about the difficulties, challenges, and also the benefits from this process?

Yes, as our sixth factory will be carbon neutral, actually, all our ongoing factories will be carbon neutral in the future, because it’s a decision we have taken. But to do a carbon neutral factory, especially in Vietnam, it takes a bit of passion and entrepreneurship because it’s not so easy at the end. So we are seeing that we are one of the first maybe the first but at least one of the first here and in Vietnam. We had good discussions with the authorities in Binh Duong, with the government in Hanoi as well also to help us. But if I should mention some areas, which is very important for us, is that we get most of our energy we would get from solar panels on the roof of our factory and on our neighboring ground. So how to connect that to the to the grid and our factory? How do we be allowed to do that? We need all these sorts of say permits and that there’s a high number of them. We are in good discussions to find solution to this matter. But we cannot do it without some creative solutions.

What would do you suggest for Vietnam in terms of green development and digital transition, as well as attracting more foreign investors?

I think it’s important here that the government of Vietnam, as they are already doing, is keeping the focus on a very positive mindset to help the investors to create a renewable energy themselves and use the energy to become carbon neutral. And so it’s keeping the focus, keeping the mindset around finding a solution and also a permanent way to allow foreign investors and also local investors to be carbon neutral.

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