Ecological industrial parks mainly focus on cleaner production and more effective use of energy, said head of the Department of Economic Zone Management Tran Duy Dong .
He explained that cleaner production includes technology reform and energy saving measures to help businesses reduce costs and increase profits and competitiveness.
Eco-industrial parks need to fulfill criteria such as following legal regulations on the environment, providing basic services, and using renewable energy, he added.
According to the Department, Vietnam is now home to 321 industrial and processing zones, attracting 6,600 foreign direct investment (FDI) projects and 6,200 domestic ones, with total registered capital of over 105 billion USD and over 690 trillion VND, respectively.
Businesses at industrial parks account for over 70 percent of total foreign investment in industry in Vietnam and generate jobs for nearly 3 million workers.
However, the most pressing issue at the parks is environmental pollution. Statistics showed that 16 percent of active industrial parks have not built waste treatment factories.
Director of the Quang Nam provincial Department of Environment Resources and Nature Nguyen Vien said only three out of seven industrial parks in the locality were equipped with national-standard technical infrastructure and waste collection and treatment systems.
Among 31 industrial clusters, only seven were approved with environmental dossiers and one has a waste treatment system meeting national standard, he noted.
Economists said the main reason of environmental pollution was backwards technology.
Tran Dinh Thien, Director of Vietnam Institute of Economics, said over 80 percent of FDI firms in Vietnam utilise medium technology. Many domestic companies use technology 2-3 generations behind the rest of the world.
He noted that Vietnamese businesses only invest around 0.2-0.3 percent of their revenues in technology reform, while the proportion in India and the Republic of Korea is 5 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Deputy Director of the Institute of Regional Sustainable Development Nguyen Dinh Chuc suggested issuing more incentives to encourage business cooperation to build eco-industrial parks.
From late 2014 to present, the Ministry of Planning and Investment has been coordinating with the UN Industrial Development Organization to pilot the conversion of industrial parks in northern Ninh Binh province, central Da Nang city, and southern Can Tho city into ecological ones.
To realise the national strategy on green growth, the Government directed that newly-established industrial and economic parks be built based on advanced criteria for reducing greenhouse gas emission, treating waste, ensuring green space, and promoting use of recycling and renewable energy technology.