Stories

Vietnamese home décor producers showcase sustainable products

27 May 2011
ITC News

Producers of sustainable Vietnamese handicrafts, created with the help of ITC, were put on display at the LifeStyle Viet Nam trade fair in Ho Chi Min City in April. The fair, organized by the country’s handicraft exporters association – VIETCRAFT – is becoming one of the key home décor events in Southeast Asia. It attracted more than 1,700 visitors, including over 1,300 foreign buyers from Europe, the United States, Japan, China, Australia and elsewhere – up from 300 visitors in 2010, the first year the fair was organized. 

In order to reach a higher market segment, many producers need to upgrade their designs, quality and finishing techniques, and be aware of current design and consumer trends. To help address this challenge, the International Trade Centre, one of five United Nations agencies involved in the programme “Green Production and Trade to Increase Income and Employment Opportunities for the Rural Poor” and Vietcraft provided a team of designers to help companies develop new sustainable product ranges. 

Viet Nam is gradually revealing its potential as a key supplier of home décor and giftware products to international markets. The export-oriented Vietnamese handicrafts sector is internationally recognized as one of the most competitive emerging markets for bulk supply. Viet Nam is second only to China as an exporter of home décor items to the European Union. 

Sev­eral hundred crafts exporters with large producer networks through­out the country are providing employment for 1.35 million people in some 2,000 crafts villages. The rural families engaged in handicraft production, however, are among the country’s poorest.  

“The new product collections designed with support from the Programme are simple, easy to produce and interesting for many customers, including from Japan, Australia and Brazil,” said Mr. Dang Cong Thang, whose business, Halinh Rattan and Bamboo Company, is one of fifty companies that received support. “The Joint Programme has been providing very efficient support to our company, encouraging our company’s participation in Lifestyle Vietnam and increase the effectiveness of our company’s participation in the trade fair,” he added.   

The programme is increasing income and employment opportunities for growers and collectors of raw materials and producers of handicrafts. The cultivation and processing of natural raw materials and handicraft production constitute the most important sources of additional income for rural households. The aim is to develop better-integrated, environmentally sustainable activities in five craft sectors: bamboo and rattan, sericulture and weaving, sea grass, lacquerware and handmade paper. 

Sustainable design considers the complete life cycle of a product, from design­ing for energy efficient production and transport to creating recyclable quality products with long durabil­ity. This holistic approach delivers products that last longer, to coun­teract the “wear and tear” culture through timeless design with in­creased aesthetical, functional and emotional values. The products are often designed to allow the users to feel more connected or to relate more closely to the natural environment. 

The joint programme is a collaboration between the Vietnamese government and five United Nations agencies: ITC, the U.N. Industrial Development Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the International Labour Organization and the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development, and will particularly benefit women, who are traditionally more active in crafts production. The programme is financed by Spain’s MDG Achievement Fund, whose aim is to accelerate progress on the Millennium Development Goals worldwide. 

For more information on the project, see www.greentrade.org.vn

For more on the fair, including product photos and quotes by ITC Senior Technical Advisor Koen Oosterom, see http://www.decoratorscatalogue.com.au/blog/inspiration-and-opportunities-in-viet-nam/

To read more about the event, see the following articles:  

19/04/2011: Home decor show attracts importers
22/04/2011: Vietnam International Home Decor and Gifts Fair 2011
19/04/2011: HoChiMinh city - Opening lifestyle Vietnam 2011 (in Vietnamese)
18/04/2011: Opening the International Fair LifeStyle VietNam 2011 (in Vietnamese)