The event welcomed numerous distinguished guests, including partners, customers, NGOs, media representatives, as well as teachers and students from universities eager to learn about sustainable development. Mr. Gricha Safarian, the CEO of Puratos Grand-Place Vietnam, had the opportunity to share profound insights into the essence of the green economy.
The need for a new profit calculation formula
In his recent discussions on sustainable development, Mr. Gricha consistently stressed the urgent necessity of implementing a new profit calculation formula for businesses. He highlighted a scenario where a company generates a profit of 1 billion USD but causes adverse impacts on natural resources equivalent to 2 billion USD. Ultimately, the company's profit should become a negative 1 billion USD, considering the repercussions it has on the environment, such as deforestation and CO2 emissions.
Enterprises have been utilizing environmental resources for their production and business activities without cost. It is time to reverse the calculation and redirect the cash flow towards revitalizing the planet. The ultimate goal of a company should be to create real value and share that value in a leveraged manner, encompassing all stakeholders, including our mother Earth.
The reality of greenwashing in the race for sustainable development
The terms CSR, EGS, Carbon neutral, sustainable development, green economy, and Net Zero Emissions have been excessively exploited by numerous businesses. Mere organization of seminars and discussions on these topics is insufficient to bring about change. Sadly, many companies are still engaging in projects that appear to benefit the planet and the community, solely for the purpose of enhancing their reputation. This phenomenon, known as greenwashing or green advertising, involves companies exaggerating their claims or benefits to deceive consumers.
During the discussion, Mr. Gricha drew attention to the irony of greenwashing in formal social responsibilities. The crucial question becomes, "How can we avoid greenwashing?"
Greenwashing can only be mitigated when we establish consistent and transparent rules for calculating the impact. Companies need to go beyond relying solely on sustainability reporting metrics set forth by individuals or groups. For instance, offsetting carbon can be achieved through certificates or tangible actions, or a combination of both. However, many companies and organizations are resorting to controversial carbon offsets while neglecting significant reductions in actual emissions during the production process. In the bigger picture, if they continue merely buying carbon certificates without taking substantial action to address climate issues, they are the ones bearing the cost.
Puratos Grand-Place: A frontrunner in food technology and sustainable development
Changing the world may seem complicated, as does calculating CO2 emissions. Yet, if we shift our perspective, things can become simpler. Perhaps that is why Gricha Safarian stated at the beginning of the conversation, "My name is Gricha, and I make things simple."
We, too, are taking the initial steps towards calculating our impact, which may seem daunting, but we firmly believe that every journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.
In today's world, sustainability is a topic that cannot be ignored. Mr. Gricha emphasized during the talkshow, "Every business needs to understand that if they fail to embark on the path of building a sustainable company, there is a risk of obsolescence within 10 years."
Our commitment to sustainability has borne fruit in the form of two carbon-neutral certificates on an operational scale, which were issued starting from 2021, and our remarkable 60DAYS chocolate. We go beyond purchasing carbon certificates; our endeavors include forest planting, utilization of solar energy in production, establishing factories in proximity to raw material sources, and adopting sustainable packaging materials.
A notable initiative we have undertaken is the Cacao-Trace program, aimed at the sustainable development of the cocoa supply chain in Vietnam. Through partnerships and collaborations, the Puratos Group has expanded its presence to encompass 15 fermentation and drying centers across nine countries worldwide. Vietnam stands out as an innovation hub for cocoa supply development.
Our efforts began with the creation of the Chocolate Bonus program, which focuses on enhancing farmers' income. We have also prioritized tree planting, particularly in agroforestry and crop diversification.
During the talkshow, Gricha Safarian shared valuable insights, and "many voices" from diverse generations united with a shared goal: preserving the Earth and our beautiful planet. They emphasized the importance of businesses adopting a sustainable development strategy that brings positive impacts to the community and the environment. When asked, "Why do you do all these things?" towards the end of the talkshow, Mr. Gricha smiled and replied, "Because I am a father of three children and a grandfather.”