With the threat of extinction becoming increasingly more real for our planet, there is not a more significant and more urgent challenge that confronts all of us in the 21st century than global climate change.
Hoa Vu, CEO of Evolve Mobility, believes that humans have a deep ethical responsibility to do something about this environmental predicament. Ray daSilva, President of Mobility Exchange, talked to her to find out more.
Speaking to Hoa, it is hard not to be impressed and influenced by her passion for our environment. So, how did this entrepreneur who started her business in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in 2018 make ecology a central theme in her business? “Our logo has a tag line – Your journey shapes how you evolve.” After more than 20 years in the moving business, Hoa decided to start her own company. She brought more than experience, knowledge and contacts. She brought a firsthand understanding of the environmental impact that even a small moving business can have on our planet.
Vietnam has one of the fastest growing economies in the world with an expected GDP growth in 2019 of 6.8%. While the rapid development is bringing more opportunities, affluence and prosperity to the people, it has also earned Ho Chi Minh City the distinction of being one of the most polluted cities in south-east Asia. Conservation made sense to Hoa for so many reasons but the most important were related to her young children. Hoa said: “It was something that I learned from my daughters. It is their planet, we are just temporary custodians. Establishing a successful business is important but a great business needs a sustainable home. I was determined to bring these two priorities together.”
As it turns out, reducing waste, recycling and implementing sound conservation practices in her business were exactly what was helping to create brand awareness and success for her fledgling business. “We have some great competitors in our market who are as focussed on service excellence as we are, but our green message and initiatives resonated with our customers. That, plus the knowledge that we are doing our share and hopefully a bit more to protect our children’s future, drives our passion and our engagement.”
To highlight the dire need for action, Hoa points out that municipal solid waste in Vietnam is forecast to increase by 38% from 11.6 million tons in 2016 to 15.9 million tons in 2030. Vietnam is currently one of the five largest contributors in the world releasing plastic waste into the ocean – over 280,000 tons of plastic waste yearly. Statistics like these can easily overwhelm us, making us feel numb and powerless. After all, what can one individual or even one company do to stop and even reverse such trends?
Our industry’s use of cardboard, wood, plastics-based packaging, and diesel truck engines may not make us the worst industrial polluters, but we all play a part as citizens of the world and as businesses that serve our communities. There is no act of conservation that is too small to be meaningless according to Hoa. It all adds up. “Reduce, reuse, recycle and conserve are embedded into Evolve’s operating philosophy. It does not require a conscious effort anymore, it is natural.”
Beyond its own conservation efforts and initiatives to reduce global warming, Evolve Mobility is working to spread awareness in the community. In a recent example, Evolve participated in an event at the International School of Ho Chi Minh City where over 1000 school children, parents and community members gathered. The Evolve team used a labyrinth maze constructed from recycled cartons as a fun way to focus on environmental awareness. Tuan Vu, Evolve Mobility’s Deputy Manager, said: “The Evolve Labyrinth has become a bit of an event favorite. Our first maze was for Lycée Français Marguerite Duras in June of 2019. We already have another request for the Charity Bazaar hosted by the European International School this month.” While the kids are having fun, the message about environmental awareness is very clear and is warmly accepted.”
There are lessons that we can all learn from Hoa Vu and her company. Building a successful business and caring for the environment are not mutually exclusive. In fact, if you do it properly, everyone and our planet wins.
Photos: Hoa Vu, CEO of Evolve Mobility, School children in the labyrinth maze constructed from recycled cartons