Singapore’s growing expertise in the area of devising policies and processes for sustainable urban living could put local firms working in the sector in pole position for contracts overseas, according to Ms Grace Fu, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.
Ms Fu told the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development yesterday that there is “business potential in exporting such solutions to the region and beyond”.
She cited the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark Scheme, which has been adopted in Indonesia and China.
“This allows some of our architects and engineers, consulting businesses… to bring their experiences (with the certification framework) out to the region as well,” added Ms Fu, who is also the Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.
The BCA Green Mark Scheme was launched in 2005 to recognise best practices in environmental design and performance.
Ms Fu pointed to Singapore’s potential role as a “test bed for smart urban solutions”, adding that collaborations among the Government, the private sector and research institutions are expected to raise the country’s capabilities in domains such as water, energy, mobility and other urban solutions.
The minister also urged businesses to do their part, along with the Government, in ensuring that economic development does not come at the expense of the environment.
“Environmental sustainability has to feature in business decisions and be discussed in boardrooms,” she said, noting that the exponential increase of the urban population and global development has come with an “irreversible” impact on the environment.
“(But) companies that understand the environmental impact of their activities derive competitiveness from it,” added Ms Fu.
She also said that “a well-executed environmental strategy will bring about stronger consumer branding, better relations with stakeholders and greater readiness for a resource-constrained future”.
The three-day forum at Marina Bay Sands, which ends today, was organised by five partners, including Singapore-based media firm Global Initiatives, online publication Eco-Business and the World Wide Fund for Nature Singapore. The Straits Times was an official media partner.
Last night, 10 companies were honoured at the inaugural Sustainable Business Awards in Singapore. The event was organised by Global Initiatives and PricewaterhouseCoopers to recognise companies that have instilled sustainable best practices in their long-term business strategies.
Unilever Asia was crowned overall winner for its robust approach to sustainability and its commitment to enhancing livelihoods, caring for the natural environment and improving health and well-being across its supply chains.
Other winners included telco SingTel for its fair workforce strategy and Loola Adventure Resort in Bintan, which was cited for its commitment to land use, biodiversity and the environment.
Developer City Developments was also recognised for its work in evaluating and measuring the most significant environmental impacts of its work.