Peter Cornish talks to Hoa Vu, founder of environmentally ethical relocation company, Evolve Mobility. Photo by Romain Garrigue.

You have recently opened Evolve Mobility, Ho Chi Minh City’s newest relocation company with a strong social and environmentally aware business strategy. Why do you believe such an approach is important in today’s business world?

I believe that we have reached a critical point where we must re-evaluate how we do business, and how it fits in harmony with the planet and people. Evolve Mobility shuns this redundant thinking that makes us identify ourselves just as individuals as this thinking is to the detriment of our planet.

Work and business cannot be seen as separate to people and what is important to individuals in their lives, but rather a “part of” these beliefs. When the earth faces ecological meltdown, businesses are stepping up to create alternative narratives. Evolve Mobility is not the only ones with this outlook, but we do want to be part of this new narrative.

Evolve Mobility describes itself as an “environment first moving company”. How would you describe the vison and ethos of the company?

The packaging industry worldwide contributes to a large amount of waste. Here in Vietnam there are exciting earth-first initiatives, such as Evolve Mobility, taking place that we knew we could be a part of. If we can change here in Vietnam, then it is possible for the whole world to change.

We are responsible for the health and welfare of our staff, our clients and the earth. From my many years’ experience in the relocation industry I know that the word “recycled” was used haphazardly without any real responsibility.

I knew that with the right partners that I could create end to end recycling solutions at Evolve Mobility and a definite programme that was multi-levelled where we could address a reuse, repair, recycle philosophy. We hope that our competitors will see these initiatives and join us for a bigger conversation!

You describe the team at Evolve as “recycling warriors” What motivated you to take this approach?

Without doubt the packaging industry worldwide is a large contributor to waste. When most moving companies qualify “recycling” as re-using boxes for local moves, I felt it was time to move the industry forward and to start a company that contributed more fully to the preservation of the beauty of Vietnam.

I try to travel extensively in Vietnam and am in awe of my homeland’s magnificent beauty. I feel a duty to protect that for my children and for everyone. As the first relocation company to initiate such directives in Vietnam we felt like “warriors” as we met other companies and created a “movement”.

Anything that we can possibly obtain from recycled materials we secure. For somethings there is no alternative yet but soon we believe everything with be from recycled materials. We have gone to great lengths to access alternatives.

People and planet first is how we approach each issue that has faced us so far.

Who have you partnered with to achieve your environmental goals?

I have partnered with Karta VN who are also environmentally conscious in their business strategy. They are a local Vietnamese company that manufacture boxes out of 100% recycled material in Vietnam.

They also collect and process boxes and material from inbound moves that don’t meet international re-use standards and converts them into material that undergoes full quality control inspection after recycling.

We have heard about Karta Garden, an initiative started by Karta in Tay Ninh Province. Can you explain this project and what Karta hopes to achieve with it?

This is a Karta initiative that has been operating for three years now and one that Evolve Mobility will also partner with Karta VN on.

The idea behind Karta Garden is to give people a space and environment where you can explore and understand yourself, others, and live in the caring arms of nature. In this space you can grow your own vegetables build your own bamboo and mud house and create a space to come back to when life gets stressful.

How do you think people can work together to confront environmental issues in Vietnam?

Connection is the solution. Once we start to see beyond our own instant gratification and stop seeing ourselves as separate individuals then we see ourselves as part of the solution. Once I started to enquire with different people and companies I was surprised that I found many who shared Evolve Mobility’s beliefs.

I recommend starting conversations with everyone. Did you know that we are the only species on the planet that if we became extinct the planet would flourish?  Yet if ants became extinct or even bees the whole ecological system would fall apart. We are insignificant to this planet and the only ones that can offer a solution.

Throughout what Evolve does, you place emphasis on social responsibility. What else are you doing to promote this?

Many of our clients allow us to collect any unwanted items for the reuse/ recycle/ repair programme. These items are stored at our brand-new warehouse just 20 minutes from the centre of Ho Chi Minh City. Each month we will hold a bazaar and raise money for a local charity.

Each month the date of the bazaar will be promoted by way of Evolve Mobility and other partners Facebook and Instagram. Best offers will be accepted on the day and all proceeds will go to a different selected Vietnam charity each month. The charity and amount raised will be announced on our Facebook and Instagram pages. Follow us for regular updates as well as posting on topical environmental issues.

It’s a great way to raise donations. Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure!

What advice would you give other companies wanting to become more socially and environmentally relevant in 2018?

Believe that there is another way. The world is moving in a different direction now. There are solutions created in connecting with other people and in exploring new ways. There will be people who will tell you – no, its not possible. Find the people that want to join you and support your efforts. They are out there!