OR/18/068 Conclusions

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Bide, T P, Brown, T J, Petavratzi, E, and Mankelow, J M. 2018. Vietnam – Hanoi city material flows. Nottingham, UK, British geological Survey. (OR/18/068).

This research attempted to model the increase in demand for construction materials in Hanoi resulting from the predicted urban development and to understand the implications of this material intensive urban growth. The study comprised a desk-based assessment using publicly available data from ‘national’ and international sources. The project delivered the following:

  • A methodological framework for assessing construction material demand in Hanoi based on the MFA principles.
  • A detailed assessment of data availability and gaps.
  • An overview of the urban growth plans of Hanoi.
  • A forecast of the construction material demand to 2030, based on a top-down approach.

Although the level of available data is insufficient to conduct a detailed material flow analysis, conclusions regarding material use in Hanoi can be drawn from the top-down calculation undertaken.

  • Data limitations and a lack of understanding of how materials are produced, consumed and reach their end-of-life in the city of Hanoi limit our ability to develop a detailed material flow analysis for the city of Hanoi and to quantify associated environmental and social impacts.
  • The top-down quantification followed in this work made use of publicly available data. However, uncertainties regarding the quality of these data exist, which also influence the projections made. Additional effort to identify the associated uncertainties through direct dialogue with stakeholders in Hanoi would help to obtain a better understanding of the data issues and facilitate enhanced modelling of the material demand projections accordingly.
  • It would appear that the Ministry of Construction collects more information on primary raw materials; however, these are not publically available. Access to reports published by the Ministry of Construction would be greatly beneficial to this work.
  • News articles and press releases by Vietnamese government agencies indicate that supply of materials for construction is currently a real issue. Supply bottlenecks are causing project delays, price rises and illegal mining, and in the future may result in significant supply disruption and negative environmental implications.
  • Statistics on housing and population show Hanoi is likely to continue to rapidly grow in the short to medium term.
  • Despite a dip around 2009–2012 (due to a slowdown in the Vietnamese economy and construction market) consumption of materials shows a clear increase, often in the region of between 10 and 20 per cent year-on-year.
  • Sand consumption shows a more complex trend. This is most likely due to the effects of national legislation, international trade and issues around illegal mining. The official data on sand and gravel production are believed to include high uncertainties due to the hidden flow of illegal mining taking place as reported by literature. The missing information and data also become apparent when comparing cement production and consumption to the sand and gravel figures, which do not align as expected.
  • Projections for future consumption of five key construction materials predict between a twofold increase in requirements for cement and sand and gravel to fivefold increase for steel by 2030 based on 2016 consumption levels. It is unclear however whether relevant decision makers in Hanoi and Vietnam overall are prepared for this forecasted increase and have plans to expand production and increase processing capacity in place to ensure that future demand is met. Ensuring such requirement for materials is met will require careful management of existing resources and planning for sourcing new resources as well as new processing and production facilities (e.g. increase capacity in cement production).
  • Demand for construction materials extracted from Vietnam but supplied to neighbouring countries present an increasing trend. For example, net exports of cement from Vietnam have increased by 126 per cent in the past 10 years. Although such trade provides an important driver for economic growth, at times of rapid domestic urbanisation and looking into the near future, it can pose a potential risk to domestic supply and link to increased environmental implications (e.g. higher greenhouse emissions).
  • Future research should focus on better management of resources across the value chain with the aim to identify bottlenecks on time and avoid the consequences of supply disruption.
  • Increased uptake of green building certification schemes, such as the US Green Building Council’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the Vietnam’s LOTUS (VGBC) will require detailed information about the origin and fate of construction materials and their associated environmental impacts. Studies on material flows and stocks supported by energy and water consumption layers can provide essential background information and conform to certification scheme requirements.
  • The development of a system to track material flows and stocks at city level provides a powerful accounting tool that can find use in different circumstances, for example to assess market dynamics with respect to material requirements, to monitor progress towards set targets (e.g. on sustainability, clean production, urban growth, recycling etc.) and to inform decision making.