10 receive EcoFriend Awards for doing their part in environment sustainability

Ms Melissa Low and Mr Lucas Glanville are among the award recipients.
Ms Melissa Low and Mr Lucas Glanville are among the award recipients.PHOTOS: NEA

SINGAPORE - To spur the youth to talk constructively about climate change and help them understand the global developments on this front, Ms Melissa Low has been organising training workshops on such negotiations since 2018.

The workshops include mock climate change conferences held yearly by the United Nations, known as the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP), which the research fellow at the National University of Singapore's (NUS) Energy Studies Institute has been observing for a decade.

"The purpose of this is to share that negotiation isn't easy, and one thing that I want them to learn is to think critically, ask informed questions, but most importantly, to come up with research-backed solutions to these problems," said the 34-year-old.

"The goal is for them to step up and take interest in climate change on their own terms."

For her contributions towards environmental sustainability, Ms Low was among 10 who received the annual EcoFriend Awards on Friday (Feb 5) from the Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu.

Now in its 14th year, the award ceremony was held at the Environment Building and organised by the National Environment Agency.

A total of 160 individuals were nominated for the award, with 90 per cent of them being first-time nominees, said Ms Fu.

Besides Ms Low, the other nine recipients were from private and public sectors, the grassroots, schools and non-governmental organisations.

Noting a "strong showing" of youth recipients, Ms Fu said this reflects the global trend of more young players stepping up to take action for environmental sustainability.

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu noted a "strong showing" of youth recipients. PHOTO: NEA

Ms Low said she is heartened to see the momentum building up among the youth here, with groups such as the Singapore Youth for Climate Action organising similar talks and workshops to empower more like-minded people.

Ahead of this year's COP26 climate change conference, Ms Low is currently working with NUS, the British High Commission and the Italian Embassy in Singapore, along with the National Youth Council, to facilitate a dialogue focusing on COP26, and what Singaporean youth can do to maintain their climate action momentum amid the ongoing pandemic.

Another award recipient, Mr Lucas Glanville, director of culinary operations at the Grand Hyatt Singapore, was recognised for his decade-long work in sustainable sourcing and food waste management, which has also helped to conserve the hotel's resources.

Cost savings to the hotel have amounted to around $100,000 a year.

Around 300kg of daily food waste from the hotel's five restaurants is processed through a food digester system, which converts it into organic pathogen-free fertilisers.

The fertilisers are then used for the hotel's rooftop garden, which currently supplies the kitchen with 30 per cent of its organic herbs.

To support the budding farming industry, the ingredients are sourced locally and from the region as much as possible.

In addition, the hotel has also cut down the number of seafood items from its menus, and also ensures that around 80 per cent of it is sustainably sourced.

On receiving the award, the 52-year-old said he felt "very honoured", and he hopes to continue supporting and collaborating with like-minded individuals and companies.