Unilever Asia emerges top among Singapore’s sustainability leaders

The Sustainable Business Awards held for the first time in Singapore honoured ten local and multinational companies, which have been implementing sustainable business practices in Singapore and the region.

sba spore uni
Vice-president of communications and sustainability David Kiu received the recognition for his firm, Unilever Asia, after being awarded the overall winner of the inaugural Sustainable Business Awards Singapore, which was held at the Marina Bay Sands on November 25. Image: Global Initiatives

Unilever Asia has been recognised as the most sustainable business operating in Singapore along with nine other local and multinational firms on Tuesday at the inaugural Sustainable Business Awards (SBA) held in the city-state.

The awards were presented by Singapore-based events firm Global Initiatives and global advisory firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers during a gala dinner, which capped the first day of the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development at the Marina Bay Sands.

The SBA, which are also held in Indonesia and Philippines, aims to recognise sustainable business practices that benefit the environment and all stakeholders, with an emphasis on integrating these goals into a business’s long term strategy.

The award was also designed to build a global knowledge network of best practices, which will allow businesses to benchmark themselves against peer groups and improve their performance, said its creators.

Tony Gourlay, chief executive of Global Initiatives, commented: “The awards both validate the companies which are leading the way in sustainable business whilst also aiming to inspire all businesses, large and small, to make sustainability the foundation of their corporate mission and brand.”

Unilever - known for its ‘Sustainable Living Plan’ initiative, a blueprint for sustainable growth based on three main goals: improving health and wealth being, reducing environmental impact and enhancing livelihoods, including a commitment to end deforestation in its supply chain - was chosen as the overall winner for its robust management system in tracking the progress of its sustainability goals, which it has embedded within its business strategy.

The organisers also highlighted the firm’s community engagement and commitment to sustainable agriculture by sourcing raw materials from certified sources, particularly for its tea and ice cream brands.

All the ten winners were judged across 12 categories: vision and strategy; workforce; CSR in the community; energy management; water management; waste and materials productivity; climate change; supply chain management; land use, biodiversity and the environment; business responsibility and ethics; and environmental disclosure.

Local firms that made it among the winners were telecoms group Singtel for its strong commitment to employee welfare and fair employment practices, and property developer City Developments Limited, which earned the environmental disclosure award for transparently evaluating and measuring the most significant impacts of the company.

Meanwhile, global carpets maker Interface was recognised for its climate change initiative, which reduced the firm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 71 per cent for every unit of its product from 1996 to 2014. The US-based firm has been implementing various strategies including process efficiencies, energy efficiency and switching to renewable energy.

The full list of winners in each category are:

  • Strategy and vision: Unilever Asia
  • Workforce: SingTel
  • CSR in the community: Loola Adventure Resort and Unilever Asia (Joint winners)
  • Energy management: DHL and Keppel Land Limited (Joint winners)
  • Water management: Heineken Asia Pacific
  • Waste management and materials productivity: Ricoh Asia Pacific
  • Climate change: Interface Singapore
  • Supply chain management: Unilever Asia
  • Land use, biodiversity and the environment: Loola Adventure Resort
  • Business responsibility and ethics: Swire Pacific Offshore
  • Environmental disclosure by Trucost: City Development Limited

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