Forum: Companies should set up a sustainability committee

Recently, a study conducted by Schneider Electric revealed statistics of concern: Only a third of businesses in Singapore say they are "strongly aligned" to the Singapore Green Plan 2030, while less than half are operating sustainably (Only a third of firms strongly aligned with Green Plan: Study, Oct 13).

The main problems cited by the companies surveyed for the study are a lack of funding, made worse by the fallout from the pandemic, as well as difficulties in changing company culture.

While I empathise with the hurdles companies face, sustainability is becoming imperative for long-term growth.

Singapore's electricity prices have been rising. Hence, there is greater incentive to invest in sustainable solutions to reduce the risks of being affected by volatile global energy prices.

Companies stand to gain from a reliable energy source with lower operating costs though initial costs might be high.

Moreover, consumers and investors, who are important stakeholders funding the business, are becoming more discerning about ethical consumerism, choosing to put their money only in companies or products that minimise environmental damage.

To encourage more businesses to adopt sustainable practices, companies could establish a sustainability committee, comprising environment experts independent of the company, who provide unbiased business sustainability advice.

To alleviate any financial burden on the company, the sustainability committee could oversee the application for grants under the Enterprise Sustainability Programme.

The committee could also spearhead environmental initiatives in the company to inculcate a more sustainable company culture.

It could, for example, organise sustainability-themed events, such as potlucks of dishes created from leftovers or have employees bring their own containers.

It could also rank daily workplace activities based on how sustainable they are and have friendly competitions in the company.

Companies should start taking active steps towards becoming more sustainable, and setting up a committee is a good start.

Lang Si Han