Janet Neo, a board director at the philanthropic arm of Singapore state investment company Temasek, has joined Lazada to spearhead the e-commerce firm’s sustainability ambitions.
Neo has relocated from Seoul to Singapore to be Lazada’s vice president of corporate sustainability and government affairs.
She is the e-commerce firm’s first sustainability executive and will be formulating the company’s sustainability strategy, reporting to the chief strategy officer.
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Neo joins a firm that is new to sustainability, having been focused on hyper-growth since its founding in 2012 and sale to Alibaba in 2016.
A 2018 Eco-Business study of the e-commerce sector highlighted that Lazada does not have a sustainability policy. Its sustainability efforts have focused on economic inclusion, supporting small-to-medium sized businesses and entrepreneurs.
Lazada’s mission is create 20 million e-commerce jobs and serve 300 million customers by 2030, by encouraging 8 million people to become e-commerce entrepreneurs.
Neo said that as well as the economic inclusion work, she would be working on improving the sustainability of the firm’s supply chain and logistics, and working with consumers, sellers and brands towards Sustainable Development Goal 12 — sustainable consumption and production.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital retail. I look forward to working with Lazada management and country teams in the region to make a meaningful impact in sustainable e-commerce,” Neo told Eco-Business.
She joins Lazada after a year in Korea as global strategy head for Global Green Growth Institute, an intergovernmental green economic growth organisation.
She will remain on the board of directors of Temasek Foundation Ecosperity, a role she has performed since 2018.
Over a career that started out as a banker at OCBC, Neo has worked in senior corporate sustainability roles for Heineken and Fuji Xerox based in Singapore.
Neo was a sustainable business taskforce member for United Nations Economic & Social Commission for the Asia and the Pacific, and also a council member of sustainability reporting framework Global Reporting Initiative.
Now running communications and engagement at Temasek Foundation is Jennifer Lewis, who moved into the role after 12 years running communications for Singapore sovereign wealth fund GIC in April this year.