Environment council launches green training arm

Learn to turn waste into items like lamp shades or fashion accessories. Or go on water trails to learn about Singapore's reservoirs.

Company employees and students can look forward to more of such workshops and activities organised by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), which announced yesterday that it has set up a new training and education arm.

"The (activities)... will also provide companies with tools to start sustainability programmes in the organisation," said its chief executive, Mr Jose Raymond.

This initiative would not only meet the "huge demand" for such courses from the corporate sector, he said, but would also generate income for the non-governmental organisation.

"We are now relying less and less on government funding," he said on the sidelines of the SEC's 17th annual Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards ceremony.

Mr Raymond also gave details of its Green Stars programme, a campaign to promote conservation featuring celebrities such as former MTV video jockey Uttsada Panichkul, better known as Utt. It will be launched later this year. The "green stars" at yesterday's event, though, were eight organisations which clinched awards for their environmentally friendly programmes.

The top award went to Glaxo Wellcome Manufacturing, part of pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline Group.

It also won in the manufacturing category for a system that can cut the firm's carbon emissions by 30 per cent and save more than $600,000 in diesel costs.

Another winner was Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay, which won in the services category.

Besides investing in hardware, like energy-efficient models of chillers and heating systems, the hotel has also roped in its guests in its quest to go green.

It has saved almost $17,000 from its towel re-use initiative, and has recycled more than 150kg of soap.

Said its general manager, Mr Kevin Bossino: "We feel that the reduction of carbon emissions does not begin only with the hotel property. We will also need to undertake guest-oriented activities."