Dominic Mason
Dominic Mason
Managing Director, Southeast Asia
Articles 4 min read
17 Feb 2023

Sustainability + Provenance

Where are you from? It is one of the simplest questions people ask and the answer may not always be a simple one. Yet the same applies to brands as consumers seek to understand their country or place of origin and to know what qualities or attributes to associate with them.

Provenance branding does just that. It articulates and elevates the origin of a brand or a product category to a source of meaning, authenticity and perceived value. Swiss timepieces, Kiwi Fruit, Parma Ham all come to mind as products with provenance. Possibly the most well-known example is French Champagne. Champagne is a region in France and a legally protected appellation.

Why is Vietnam ready for sustainable provenance branding right now?

An authentic brand story

Vietnam is an established exporter of products and commodities such as coffee, mangoes, seafood, cashew nuts and silk, among others. Thinking of provenance not just in terms of Vietnam as the country of origin, but in terms of a particular place or region that can help tell an authentic brand story and showcases the real and perceived value of these products.

The country’s main mango growing provinces are found in the South Vietnam Mekong Delta area, namely Dong Thap, Tien Giang, Khanh Hoa, Dong Nai, Vinh Long and An Giang.

Vietnamese fresh mangoes are exported to 22 countries and mango products are exported to 53 countries. In 2021, nearly 600,000 tons of mangoes will be exported, up 42% over the previous year.

The country’s 2021 coffee export revenue is estimated at over 3 billion USD despite the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting for 8.3% of the global coffee export market, making Vietnam one of the world’s largest producers. Robusta coffee production in Vietnam accounts for more than 90% of Vietnam’s total output equivalent to over 10% of Vietnam’s agricultural exports.

Coffee production in Vietnam is concentrated in the Central Highlands (80%), and the small portion of Arabica grown in the country hails almost entirely from the Lam Dong province, located in the north of the Province.

Vietnam is working hard towards greater coffee sustainability, adapting production models and further developing best production practices in the coffee value chain nationally and regionally to increase resilience against climate change and provide economic certainty to smallholder producers.

More than green landscaping

And while leading property developers in Vietnam have launched eco-themed residential projects, including Vingroup, Phuc Khang, Gamuda Land, and Sun Group, sustainable real estate development is not just about landscaping and green building certification and awards. That said, Vietnam is gaining recognition through landmark developments such as Deutsches Haus, the first building in Vietnam and one of few in South East Asia awarded with two energy efficiency certificates: LEED Platinum and DGNB Gold.

The more holistic approach to sustainable urban development includes creating places where diverse communities can flourish, communities that are accessible and inclusive and that contribute to urban vibrancy.

What makes them good

With an increasing demand from consumers for global supply chain transparency, ethical sourcing practices and manufacturing, and human rights, Vietnam has an opportunity to apply sustainability principles and practices in its provenance brand stories.

To tell the world, not just where its products are from, but what makes them so good, and will do for years to come.

This article was first published in Sustainable Vietnam: A Focus on Sustainability, Partnerships, and Impact on 19 May 2022.

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