Reduce and reuse for good: Singapore's first EcoBank launched

Launched in support of the 50 For 50 initiative, EcoBank aims to increase public awareness on sustainable consumption and also raise funds to support disadvantaged and vulnerable women and children in Singapore.

City Developments Limited (CDL), Singapore’s leading eco-developer, and Eco-Business are launching a new initiative to mark the arrival of 2016 and to help Singaporeans celebrate the holiday season more sustainably.

Called EcoBank, the initiative aims to raise funds for disadvantaged and vulnerable women as well as their children in Singapore by collecting pre-loved items such as clothing, toys and books from the public.

Organised under Phase 2 of the 50 For 50 programme, a youth-led initiative to raise funds for less-known charities in Singapore, EcoBank will feature a collection drive from 26 December to 13 January. 

Capping the campaign will be the EcoBank Bazaar held on 16 and 17 January at City Square Mall – Singapore’s first eco-mall - where carefully curated items will be sold to the public to raise funds for the Singapore Council of Women’s Organisations (SCWO).

The initiative will increase public awareness of sustainable consumption in Singapore by encouraging the public to buy responsibly during the festive season – then extending the lease of daily items they no longer need by donating them.

EcoBank complements Singapore’s sustainable development strategy to reduce energy use, increase recycling rates and change public behaviour, among others.

Jessica Cheam, Founder and Editor, Eco-Business, said: “EcoBank is a ground-up initiative that fulfils two objectives at the same time. One is driving the message of sustainable consumption – buy only what you need, and extending the lifespans of items; and the other is raising funds and awareness for the activities of SCWO on the great work they do. We are very excited to be working on this project with CDL, 50 For 50 and SCWO.”

Esther An, CDL’s Chief Sustainability Officer, said: “With economic and population growth, the amount of waste disposed in Singapore has increased tremendously. It is high time to rethink our consumption habits to reduce waste as relying on our only landfill is not a long-term solution. As an extension of CDL’s commitment to environmental sustainability, we are glad to work with Eco-Business and like-minded NGOs to inspire the community to ‘Reduce and Reuse for Good’ through EcoBank.”

Money raised will support the activities of SCWO including Star Shelter, a refuge and crisis centre for women and children who are victims of family violence.

Apart from providing meals and lodging, the Star Shelter also provides trauma and crisis counselling and case management. Through the “Rebuild” programme, it also provides a one-time financial aid to assist victims to pay for transport expenses while looking for employment, as well as a no-interest home loan, which enables victims to set up new homes.

The Fund also sponsors programmes that assist women in need such as volunteer-run legal clinics, a maintenance support centre, and the Women’s Register, a platform for mentoring, networking, education and inspiration for the younger women.

It also runs programmes such as the IT Hub, Board Agender which promotes gender balanced business, as well as Singapore Women’s Hall of Fame, which celebrates the outstanding women who have made or are making an impact on our nation.

Donors can bring their pre-loved clothes, toys and books anytime from today to City Square Mall, where designated collection bins have been set up. Any unsold items will be donated to the Star Shelter’s New2U Thrift Shop at SCWO’s headquarters at Waterloo Street.

Malathi Das, President of SCWO, said: “This is a very meaningful collaboration, especially with its underlying message to reduce waste in today’s disposable world. By raising funds for charity through encouraging us to recycle and up-cycle, we are reinforcing a life lesson to use things to their maximum potential as long as they can make a useful contribution.

We are indeed happy and grateful to be the beneficiary of this wonderful eco-friendly charity initiative. Our heartfelt thanks go to CDL, Eco-Business and 50 For 50 for their tireless efforts to fund raise through this thoughtful bazaar selling pre-loved items, which parallels our own New2U Thrift shop initiative.”

As part of phase 2 of the 50 For 50 project, CDL will also be making a S$10,000 pledge to the SCWO Service Fund as co-organiser of the EcoBank initiative. This contribution and the funds raised from the sale will be matched by the Singapore government under the Community Chest’s dollar-for-dollar Care & Share movement. The organisers are aiming for EcoBank to raise at least S$40,000 for SCWO.

Care & Share is a national fund-raising and volunteerism movement led by Community Chest for the social service sector, in celebration of SG50 this year. The matched amount will go towards building the capabilities and capacities of the social service sector and supporting social services to meet rising needs.

Cheryl Chong, Co-Founder of 50 For 50, said: “After a successful phase 1, 50 For 50 phase 2 has a stronger focus on sustainable projects with specific actionable items that help meet the needs of charity organisations as well as raise awareness.”

50 For 50, a youth-led initiative which started in October 2014, completed a successful phase 1 which raised S$3.6 million in just three months for 50 charities in all causes. Phase 2 is a curated list of 50 independent projects led by 50 project leads.

To participate in EcoBank and to learn more about the event, please visit the event’s site: www.eco-business.com/EcoBank. 

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