Firms can play a part in climate change battle, says Masagos

Mr Masagos presenting the Apex winner title to Ms Aileen Tan, group chief human resources officer of Singtel. With them is Mr Ho Meng Kit, vice-president of GCNS and CEO of Singapore Business Federation.
Mr Masagos presenting the Apex winner title to Ms Aileen Tan, group chief human resources officer of Singtel. With them is Mr Ho Meng Kit, vice-president of GCNS and CEO of Singapore Business Federation.ST PHOTO: LIM SIN THAI

Singapore may be recognised as "a liveable and sustainable city" but it is vulnerable to the impact of climate change, and businesses can play a part by being environmentally conscious, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli last night.

This is why the Government has the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint and the recent national movement towards a sustainable nation, "which aims to rally Singaporeans to take action towards environmental stewardship", he noted.

For instance, he said firms can adopt "more responsible modes of operation to reduce their environmental footprint" and design processes to reduce waste or resource consumption.

Mr Masagos was speaking at the Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards held at Parkroyal on Pickering, an apt venue for the event with its vertical garden that helps save costs by cooling surface temperatures.

The awards, organised by national corporate social responsibility agency Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), recognises firms that lead sustainability efforts.

Telco Singtel received the top award as the so-called Apex winner in the sustainable business category for large organisations.

GCNS executive director Wilson Ang said: "The final decision to award Singtel the Apex title for its category is because it has demonstrated corporate social responsibility and (its) sustainability plans are closely tied to its business strategy." Such initiatives include tracking its employees' travelling carbon footprint.

Besides the sustainable business category, the awards also recognise firms - under the clean technology category - using innovative developments that bring about environmental and social benefits.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) such as clean-tech firm En-trak, which designs cloud-based energy and resource management software, took home awards in the clean technology category, while LooLa Adventure Group, which runs an eco-adventure resort in Bintan, was one of the winners in the sustainable business category.

Mr Masagos said En-trak and Nan Hua High School worked together to manage the school's energy consumption, and En-trak's system has even been incorporated into the school's curriculum.

He said LooLa championed waste minimisation, as can be seen by the resort's practices such as collecting rainwater for its water supply. "Such initiatives taken to reduce waste not only benefit the environment, but also provides cost savings to the organisation," he added.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 27, 2016, with the headline 'Firms can play a part in climate change battle, says Masagos'. Print Edition | Subscribe