New standards being developed for businesses in post-Covid-19 economy

The Singapore Standards Council said that it will work on standards this year that help to mitigate the disruptive impact of Covid-19. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - New standards are being developed for the sustainability and resilience of businesses in a post-coronavirus economy.

They are expected to guide companies in areas like healthcare solutions, business continuity and supply chains and infrastructure development.

The Singapore Standards Council (SSC) said at a media briefing on Wednesday (June 24) that it will work on standards this year that help to mitigate the disruptive impact of Covid-19 and bolster recovery efforts.

SSC was set up by Enterprise Singapore (ESG) and works with industry, academia and government organisations to review and develop standards in Singapore.

In the past year, both agencies have developed and reviewed over 168 standards and technical references, impacting 13,000 organisations.

Around 90 of these standards are new, with about 70 per cent focusing on emerging areas such as smart manufacturing to support the adoption of Industry 4.0.

ESG director-general Choy Sauw Kook said: "Standards also keep Singapore connected with the rest of the world. It helps our businesses adopt best practices and meet the requirements and expectations of overseas markets."

She added that the pandemic has brought to the forefront the importance of business resilience. In response, ESG released a guide on business continuity planning at the end of January. The guide has since seen about 14,000 downloads and has been circulated to about 70 trade associations and chambers to disseminate to their members.

With the widespread use of e-commerce, ESG also recently announced standards on how to set up and build user-centric business policies and processes to enhance consumer confidence and trust so they will want to shop online.

Last year, it also developed a standard on the supply and delivery of medication to ensure consumers can get medicine sent safely to their homes.

SSC chairman Robert Chew noted that this standard has supported telemedicine during the pandemic, especially for elderly patients who were unable to go to pharmacies to collect their medication.

He added that SSC is also working on other standards to support the post-pandemic economy, such as revising a code of practice for air-conditioning in buildings to reduce virus spread indoors.

Besides pandemic-related standards, the council is also developing more green guidelines to help Singapore meet its sustainability targets by 2030.

An example is the new standard that is being created to help developers, engineers and regulators deploy floating solar photovoltaic plants in Singapore's reservoirs and seas near the shore.

It is also looking into guidelines for renewable energy certification, to measure and verify if a company is generating renewable energy.

Other upcoming standards focus on urban farms and good agricultural practices, as Singapore moves towards being more self-sustainable in food.

Mr Chew said: "Our standards development efforts have changed over the years, (such that we are) not just creating standards after new technologies have emerged, but also developing standards alongside current advancements in science and technology. This allows the standards to plug market gaps and support the commercialisation or use of new products, services and systems.

"We encourage more enterprises to adopt standards as tools that support them, and also help develop standards in their respective fields."

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