SEAA 2014 expands reach into South Asia

The Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has opened its doors to applications for the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards (SEAA) 2014. Into its 17th year, the awards will now reach out to organisations from South Asia as part of a longer-term objective to reach out to all of Asia over the next three years.

The expansion into South Asia seeks to encourage environmental excellence among businesses in this region, in line with the introduction of the SEAA’s regional award category in 2012. To date, the SEAA has seen the participation of organisations from South East Asia including Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia.

Mr Jose Raymond, Executive Director of the SEC said: “The expansion into South Asia is a strategic move by the Council bearing in mind that countries in the South Asian region such as India – a manufacturing giant with one of the highest populations globally – are in the thick of economic development. Environmental issues arising from this region can create ripples and affect air quality not just within South Asia, but on a global scale. Environmental issues have no boundaries and with Singapore as a hub for the awards, we aim to provide a platform for the sharing of best environmental practices for businesses here in Singapore, as well as to our spokes in the region.”

Mr Raymond added: “SEC’s longer-term vision for the awards over the next three years is to expand our outreach to the entire Asian continent. For a start, we will harness pre-established networks that have been built through existing programmes like the Singapore Green Labelling Scheme and Asian Environmental Journalism Awards.”

The SEC also felt that the need to expand into South Asia was timely as in 2012, scientists working with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) released findings which indicate that the spectacular economic growth seen in South Asia in the past decade may soon falter as a result of the “Asian Brown Haze”, a vast blanket of pollution comprising ash, acids, aerosols and other particles stretching across South Asia which is damaging agriculture, modifying rainfall patterns, and putting hundreds of thousands of people at risk.[1]

The award categories for SEAA 2014 are:

a) SEC-Setsco Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Manufacturing)

b) SEC-Kimberly-Clark Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Services)

c) SEC-Lee Foundation Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Public Sector)

d) SEC Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Regional)

e) SEC-Senoko Energy Green Innovation Award

f) SEC-CDL Outstanding Singapore Environmental Achievement Award

In 2013, 3 of the 21 applicants were from regional countries, with KUB-Berjaya Enviro Sdn Bhd, operator of the Bukit Tagar Sanitary Landfill earning the SEC-CDL Outstanding Singapore Environmental Achievement Award as well as the SEC-Singapore Environmental Achievement Award (Regional). This is the first time a regional company clinched two awards, in not only the regional category, but the overall highest accolade, the SEC-CDL Outstanding Singapore Environmental Achievement Award.

“As a pioneer and firm advocate of sustainability, CDL has been committed to green buildings and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for close to two decades now. With growing awareness of the importance of sustainability amongst businesses, we hope to encourage more companies to embrace responsible corporate citizenry. We are glad to support SEC in the SEAA to discover and honour corporations like KUB-Berjaya who have successfully implemented a holistic sustainability strategy that has positively impacted the wider community and the environment,” said Ms Esther An, CDL Head of CSR.

Setsco, the award sponsor for the manufacturing category, wants to continue the momentum of seeing more international participation. Ms Elizabeth Lee, the Divisional Director of Setsco said: “As an active player in the regional environmental scene, it is vital that we highlight various companies that have in place stellar environmental initiatives, to serve as role models and facilitate sharing of best practices.”

Ms Lydia Aw, the General Manager of Kimberly-Clark Professional* Singapore & Malaysia, the award sponsor for the services category said: “As the leading provider in professional health and hygiene solutions, we are committed to sustainability principles in all we do. With this sponsorship, we hope to influence and impact the ecosystem that we participate in through our thought-leadership, best practices, smarter solutions and processes.”

The SEAA is part of SEC’s ongoing efforts to enhance Singapore’s sustainability landscape. Local SEAA participants will be invited to participate in the national ENVisioning Dialogue Sessions, which was announced on 24 January 2014, over the next two months.

“Spearheaded by SEC, these Dialogue Sessions are part of the ground-up movement to establish a collective vision for the future environment that we want Singaporeans to have and hopefully in future, turn into a reality. We want to reach out to as many people possible, from various walks of life and hence this is an added opportunity for agencies or businesses to not just showcase their work in protecting the environment and in embracing sustainability, but also in having a part to play in providing their thoughts and visions for Singapore’s future in the environmental realm,” added Mr Raymond.

The awards ceremony will be held on 21 August 2014 and the Guest-of-Honour for the event will be Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources.

Workshops for interested applicants will be available on 20 February 2014 and 4 March 2014 and the deadline for applications is 31 March 2014. Interested parties should visit www.sec.org.sg/seaa for more information on eligibility, application guidelines, award categories, and to submit applications.

About the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards

SEAA was launched in 1997 by Mr Yeo Cheow Tong, Singapore’s former Minister for the Environment. Presented by the Singapore Environment Council, the SEAA aims to inspire Singapore-based and regional organisations to become more committed to environmental and social responsibilities. It is the only local award that
addresses overall environmental initiatives and awareness within an organisation. The criteria for the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards focuses on assessing the leadership displayed by the company, the real environmental improvement made as well as the ability of an organisation to establish procedures, train staff and innovate in order to achieve breakthroughs in environmental performance. For more information, please click on the following link http://www.sec.org.sg/seaa.

[1] National Geographic, Pollution Cloud over South Asia threatens economies: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2002/08/0812_020812_asianhaze.html

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