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Opening Remarks By Dr Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, at Environment Champions and Green Office 2009 on 6 November 2009, 9.30am, at Spring Auditorium


Date Published: 06 Nov 2009

Mr Howard Shaw, Executive Director,
Singapore Environment Council

Mr Andrew Tan, CEO, NEA

Distinguished Guests

Ladies and gentlemen

 

1         It is my pleasure to be here this morning to address our partners from the corporate world. I think many of us spend a great deal of our waking hours at work. The office is thus a great place to start cultivating eco-friendly habits among Singaporeans.

2         I am heartened that more and more companies in Singapore are embracing green business practices. A survey by Spire Research & Consulting in Sept 2008 revealed that 80% of the companies based in Singapore engage in some form of environmental conservation activity. Of these 58% have increased their intensity of such activities over the last two years1. The continued growth of NEA's Corporate Environment Champions programme, from just 54 organisations in 2005 to more than 250 organisations today, is further evidence that supports this observation.

3         Green business practices make economic sense because they consume less raw materials, energy or water without affecting the quality of products or services. Going forward, we need to encourage businesses to think of creative ways to raise resource efficiency, minimize waste and pursue recycling efforts not only for staff members but also their customers.

4         Today's event is thus a good opportunity for our Corporate Environment Champions to network and share experiences in implementing environmental initiatives. I understand that speakers from SMRT and Ricoh Asia Pacific have also been lined up to share their environmental initiatives.

Apart from the opportunity to interact, I hope that the positive experience of companies that have implemented green measures will inspire you to do more for the environment.

5         The Government is taking the lead in demonstrating the economic and environmental benefits of such measures. Indeed, the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint launched in April this year has set some ambitious targets to maintain Singapore's reputation as a clean and green city. To sustain our high environmental living standards, we encourage individuals and companies to take action as well and play a part in helping Singapore become more resource efficient.

6         There is still much scope for companies, especially those with manufacturing operations in Singapore, to do this. It may involve a review of operational processes. For example, customers can return the used goods or the boxes of crates used for packing the goods for reuse or recycling. Companies can also encourage staff to recycle, install equipment that are more energy efficient and implement green standards such as the Green Office Label.

Green Office Label for a Sustainable Singapore

7         In fact, the common factor that binds all corporate entities, whether from the manufacturing, services, or financial industries, is that they have office operations. The Green Office Label standard is a simple and effective way to cut waste, increase productivity, raise efficiency and reduce cost. By working towards and maintaining the Green Office Label Certification, companies can quickly enjoy cost savings, which will contribute positively to the bottom line – something every company is aiming for in these tough economic times. Hence, I would urge all of you to work with your management to embark on this environmental journey. In fact, 39 offices will be receiving the Green Office Label later.

8         Another corollary benefit of the Green Office Label is that it helps sustain environmental awareness among staff. As staff gradually internalize these environmentally-friendly practices and see for themselves the benefits for doing so, they will also bring these habits back to their family, friends and circles of influence.

This multiplier effect is what we need to get more Singaporeans to live a clean and green lifestyle.

9         I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate the 39 offices receiving their certificates today. The three-fold increase in the number of recipients of the certification this year promises a bright outlook for the future of corporate and individual environmental responsibility in Singapore. I look forward to seeing more and more offices in the country attaining the standards of sustainable operations in the years to come.

Eco-friendly practices in the construction industry

10         In addition to the companies receiving the Green Office Label today, I would also like to commend the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) for their commitment to promote eco-friendly practices among contractor firms within the building and construction sector in Singapore. I note that SCAL will be partnering the Singapore Environment Council to develop an industrial certification to acknowledge the best practices among contractor firms.

Conclusion

11         In closing, I would like to reiterate the important role that the corporate sector plays in helping us towards sustainable development. I am happy to see the enthusiastic response and turnout at today's event. By committing the time and effort to be here today, both you and your organisation have already taken an important step towards environmental consciousness and responsibility. I am sure you will continue to find your role as Corporate Environment Champions fruitful, meaningful and rewarding.

Thank you.


1 Report is available at http://www.spireresearch.com/pdf/press/PR-Enviro%20SG%20-%20Sep08.pdf



    

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