Commercial success and environmental friendliness can go hand-in-hand

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam speaking at the fourth FutureChina Global Forum gala dinner on July 8, 2013. Mr Tharman said there need not be trade offs between commercial success and environmental friendliness
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance Tharman Shanmugaratnam speaking at the fourth FutureChina Global Forum gala dinner on July 8, 2013. Mr Tharman said there need not be trade offs between commercial success and environmental friendliness if companies were to employ some innovative methods. -- FILE PHOTO: ZAOBAO

There need not be trade offs between commercial success and environmental friendliness if companies were to employ some innovative methods. Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said this on Thursday at the opening of sustainable packaging firm Greenpac's new 18,000sqm premises in Boon Lay.

Greenpac, which produces packaging for high-tech, often delicate equipment like large surgical microscopes, reduces the use of materials like styrofoam, cardboard and wood. This is not only environmentally friendly but it also saves its clients shipping costs as the packaging weight and size is cut.

Chief executive Susan Chong has turned her start-up into a company with more than 30 staff members and a turnover of $70 million a year "while showing that companies can get commercial advantage through environmental value", said Mr Tharman. "SMEs can do well through innovation with all the support the Government is providing," he added.

He added the Government has several schemes to help small- and medium-enterprises improve technology and efficiency as well as industrial parks like Tukang Innovation Park, where Greenpac is, for specialised firms to share services and collaborate. Greenpac's $20 million 'Green Factory' also features natural skylights, 454kwp of solar panels and a rainwater harvesting system that waters a roof garden.