Reducing the Environmental Footprint of the Aquaculture Industry in the Mekong Delta

IDH Aqua team is presenting to the Minister and the Ambassador to Vietnam

Hochiminh City, 21 March 2024 – During the business delegation trip of Dutch companies to Vietnam on March 18-22, the Dutch economic delegation led by the Minister of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality, Ms. Christianne van der Wal, and the Minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mr. Mark Harbers, participated in the Mekong Delta Business Forum and Exhibition and listened to businesses and organizations operating in Vietnam share their activities in the region.

At the event, IDH Vietnam presented initiatives aimed at reducing carbon emissions in the supply chain of shrimp and catfish in the Mekong Delta, as well as proposed potential cooperation opportunities between the two countries. The Dutch Minister of Agriculture, Nature, and Food Quality had previously met with the Vietnamese Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development to discuss solutions to develop the Mekong Delta into a center in the region while maintaining ecological diversity and environmental sustainability.

IDH booth at the event

Sustainable aquaculture can provide healthy, high-quality food, minimize environmental impacts, create jobs, and contribute to economic development. Vietnam is one of the world’s largest seafood producers (ranking first in catfish and prawn production, third in seafood exports, and fourth in aquaculture production) and the second-largest supplier of seafood to Europe, with the Netherlands being the largest importer of Vietnamese seafood in Europe. However, Vietnamese aquaculture farmers currently lack incentives to produce in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner.

In Vietnam, supply chain integration is key to implementing feasible interventions for stakeholders to change their production practices. IDH collaborates with partners to develop environmental emission reduction pathways and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) tools to calculate the environmental footprint of aquaculture products from cradle to retail. Based on this, supply chains can identify critical environmental hotspots to implement feasible interventions and promote partnership-building among stakeholders. Global aquaculture supply chains are seeking ways to reduce environmental impacts and emissions, and IDH is supporting and cooperating with them in this transition. In Vietnam, IDH prioritizes environmental emission reduction support for the shrimp and catfish supply chain in the Mekong Delta. Through joint efforts with partners, we aim for a reduction of the carbon footprint, from cradle to retail, of 25%.

At the forum, Nguyen Ba Thong, Program Manager of Aquaculture at IDH Vietnam, shared:

Environmental emission hotspots in the aquaculture supply chain with the highest negative environmental impact can be identified using the Life Cycle Assessment tool, providing the basis for prioritizing interventions to reduce emissions throughout the chain. By collectively addressing this issue in the supply chain, we can not only minimize environmental impacts but also enhance the resilience and adaptation capabilities of aquaculture farmers to climate change.



The Aquaculture Programme lead by IDH:

IDH is a co-founder of the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). With support for the shrimp and catfish supply chains in Vietnam to obtain ASC certification, and gain acceptance from high-end markets, the number of certifications and export volume of Vietnamese catfish and shrimp has seen significant growth over the past decade. Additionally, IDH co-chairs and actively participates in Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) within the framework of the Sustainable Agriculture Development Partnership (PSAV) in Vietnam, initiated by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, aiming to mobilize resources from relevant parties to address common issues in the supply chain.

As part of the PPP on Aquaculture, IDH, together with key partners such as D-Fish, VASEP, VINAFIS, and WWF Vietnam, has developed and implemented the project: “Promoting sustainable aquaculture development through enhanced public-private cooperation in the Mekong Delta.” The project aims to strengthen environmental and disease management, improve production practices, and enhance traceability of export product supply chains.

Recognizing the important role of local alliances, IDH has supported two newly established organizations, the Vietnam Clean and Sustainable Shrimp Alliance (VSSA) and the Bac Lieu Shrimp Association (BSA) in developing strategic plans and creating conditions for effective operations toward sustainable production and consumption. Currently, IDH continues to collaborate with partners to promote technical interventions and commercial practices to reduce environmental emissions, including greenhouse gas (GHG) effects, and promote social responsibility (improving the working environment, income for workers, etc.) within the supply chain to meet market commitments, certification organization requirements, and the commitments of the Vietnamese government.

Read this news in Vietnamese here