Vital for companies to go green to stay relevant, says Grace Fu at S'pore Business Awards event

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu suggested changes that businesses can make to remain relevant and competitive. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Businesses must embrace sustainability to keep up with the effects of climate change on supply chains and rising consumer demand for greener goods and services, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu at the annual Singapore Business Awards (SBA) presentation ceremony on Thursday.

"Governments around the world are ramping up their climate ambition. For example, the World Bank reports that there are currently 68 carbon pricing initiatives implemented in 46 national jurisdictions around the world... Businesses that are unable to keep up with changing demands may find themselves unable to compete," she said.

Ms Fu, the event's guest of honour, suggested changes that businesses can make to remain relevant and competitive.

"Businesses must proactively integrate sustainability into their business decisions... For example, PUB is scaling up the use of solar energy in its water operations. The 60 megawatt-peak Sembcorp floating solar farm at Tengeh Reservoir, which was opened last year, generates enough energy to power all of Singapore's local raw water waterworks," said Ms Fu.

The annual SBA - jointly organised by The Business Times and DHL Express Singapore - recognises business leaders who have made a difference in their industries and created value for their stakeholders.

The ceremony was held at The Ritz-Carlton, Millenia Singapore after two years of it taking place in a hybrid format because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mr Wee Ee Cheong, deputy chairman and chief executive officer of United Overseas Bank (UOB), was named Businessman of the Year.

"I see my role as that of a steward - entrusted with building a business, and importantly, a mindset and culture that is progressive," said Mr Wee, adding that he hopes UOB can continue to contribute to the growth of Singapore and the region.

CapitaLand Investment group CEO Lee Chee Koon received the Outstanding Chief Executive Officer of the Year award, while the Outstanding Overseas Executive award was presented to Mr Lee Yuan Siong, group CEO and president of AIA Group.

Mr Ian Ang, co-founder and CEO of gaming chair company Secretlab, was named the Young Business Leader of the Year.

(From left) Young Business Leader of The Year Ian Ang, Businessman of The Year Wee Ee Cheong, Outstanding Chief Executive Officer of the Year Lee Chee Koon and TDCX chief executive Laurent Junique with the Enterprise Award given to his company. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

This year's Enterprise Award went to TDCX, a business process outsourcing company listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

The SBA winners were decided by a panel of 12 judges drawn from the political, business and academic fields. The panel was chaired by Mr Stephen Lee, former chairman of Singapore Airlines.

Mr Christopher Ong, senior vice-president and managing director of DHL Express Singapore, said: "By recognising organisations and leaders that have made a difference, especially during such unprecedented times of the pandemic, we hope to reinforce Singapore's position as one of the top business destinations in the post-Covid world."

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