A company has become the first to succeed in getting its products certified under the stricter guidelines of an enhanced green labelling scheme by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC).
Consumer goods giant Kimberly-Clark Professional, which produces items such as Scott tissues, was the first firm whose products were awarded the enhanced version of the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme, out of a total of 13 companies that had applied.
The company does not source pulp from South-east Asia and none of its suppliers comes from peat lands. Most of its pulp for products here comes from Canada and South America, said Mr Chris Messer, its sustainability business partner for the Asia-Pacific.
Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings (April), one of the two firms linked to the haze that hit Singapore previously, has applied but is still awaiting certification. The other, Asia Pulp and Paper (APP), is in the process of applying.
Yesterday, the SEC announced the products awarded the enhanced green label at an event at One Farrer Hotel and Spa.
Twelve items from Kimberly-Clark Professional were awarded this label under the SEC scheme, which helps consumers choose environmentally friendly products.
SEC chairman Isabella Loh said: "Companies which embrace sustainable and ethical practices will do better in the long run as more Singaporeans choose their products and services over their competitors."
In January, SEC launched the enhanced eco-labelling scheme for pulp and paper products in response to the haze problem. Singapore suffered its worst haze on record in 2015. Under the scheme's stricter rules, firms have to ensure that there is no burning on plantations, and that they quickly detect and put out fires when they occur.
Yesterday's event also saw the launch of a revamped SEC Green Map app, which lets people know where the nearest recycling points are and provides information on upcoming green activities. The app is an update of the SEC's Green Map of Singapore launched in 2000.
Ms Zhang Wen, executive director of People's Movement To Stop Haze, said Kimberly-Clark's certification was a good first step, but it would be more relevant to Singaporeans if firms such as APP and April received the label, to show their practices have improved.
"If Singaporeans want to know a company has robust practices, they should look at other international labels too, like the Forest Stewardship Council label," she said, referring to the global organisation that promotes environmentally sound management of forests.