Green Labelling Scheme beefed up to tackle business practices that cause haze

Singapore skyline covered in haze that hit Singapore in October 2015.
Singapore skyline covered in haze that hit Singapore in October 2015.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - A revamped certification and labelling scheme, aimed at tackling business practices that cause the haze plaguing much of the region each year, will be launched in January.

The enhanced Singapore Green Labelling Scheme for pulp and paper products will have more rigorous criteria benchmarked against environmental practices used in the European Union, Australia, New Zealand and Japan, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) said in a release on Thursday (Dec 15).

Assessment criteria for certification will now include the way companies prevent the outbreak of fire on their plantations, as well as how they manage their environmentally sensitive peatlands.

Companies already on the Green Labelling Scheme will be given time to comply with the new criteria when the scheme gets beefed up, such as to put in place environmentally friendly and sustainable business practices, including effective measures for fire control, said the SEC.

SEC chairman Isabella Loh said the enhanced scheme will provide consumers with a more reliable green label when shopping for environmentally sustainable paper products.

"The effects of the haze each year can be felt right across Singapore and the region - from the impact it has on our respiratory health through to the millions of dollars it costs our economy. The enhanced eco-label for paper products gives consumers the ability to register their opposition to environmentally unfriendly practices that cause the haze," she said.

"Importantly, the enhanced green label will help profile responsible businesses that are doing the right thing. SEC is encouraging all paper product companies to apply for this enhanced labelling scheme."

Consumers Association Of Singapore executive director Seah Seng Choon said consumers have a vital role to play in changing the business practices that contribute to the haze.

"If everyone in Singapore purchased products produced in a sustainable manner, it would send a clear signal to paper companies across the region," he said.

To help companies understand the new criteria, the SEC will be conducting a workshop for paper manufacturing companies on Jan 10. Companies can register their interest at greenlabel@sec.org.sg.