Ricoh Asia Pacific (Ricoh), the Japanese multinational imaging and electronics company, brought together Government, senior business, and academic leaders to examine how the full potential of sustainable industrialisation and infrastructure development will contribute to Singapore’s greener future during the 12th edition of the annual Eco Action Day campaign.
Entitled “Industry Innovation in the Year of Climate Action,” this year’s Eco Action Day Industry Roundtable focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (UN SDG) 9: to build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialisation, and foster innovation. Participants convened to discuss how companies can apply the principles of SDG 9 in a Singapore context.
The roundtable concluded the 2018 Eco Action Day campaign, in conjunction with the annual World Environment Day held every 5th June, which encourages corporations, schools, and individuals to pledge to take greener actions. Each pledge contributed to the Climate Action Pledges by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).
The Roundtable follows last year’s focus on SDG 12 which tackled how companies in Singapore can apply circular economy principles and business models in practice.
Kaz Goto, managing sirector, Ricoh Asia Pacific, said: “The challenges the world faces today range from climate change, globalisation, and environmental degradation, to energy resource supply issues. The operating climate has changed over the years. At Ricoh, our operation continues to evolve as we align our commitment in excellence to improve the quality of living and drive sustainability.”
As of 31 May 2018, 314 organisations, 16 schools and 1220 individuals have pledged their eco actions for a sustainable Singapore. The pledges are approximately 30 per cent more than 2017, highlighting the increase in national awareness and alertness to take environmental action. The final number of pledges will be reported after 5 June.
Gracing the annual Industry Roundtable was Guest-of-Honour Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, MEWR & Ministry of Health. She noted, “The response from businesses in making pledges in support of the Year of Climate Action has been truly heartening, and shows that the corporate world is as passionate as the public sector about creating a more sustainable Singapore.”
Focus on sustainable industry, infrastructure and innovation
The topic of innovation in infrastructure development and sustainable industrialisation have become buzzwords to achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. According to the UN, companies have to go beyond previous and current models, individual areas of expertise, separate locations and institutional frontiers.
In doing so, the full potential of infrastructure development and sustainable industrialisation can be unleashed to generate growth and employment, while preserving planetary boundaries.
Singapore as a model example
Singapore is often cited as a model example of how investment in industry, infrastructure and innovation has created one of the world’s safest, most efficient and prosperous cities. But the rapid growth of these sectors has impacted the environment greatly, from energy and resource consumption to waste and greenhouse gas emissions.
“Singapore is further ahead than most countries towards achieving SDG 9—but there’s still work to do,” said Eco Action Day industry roundtable moderator Robin Hicks, Deputy Editor of Eco-Business. “Much depends on the government to ensure the right policy framework is in place to enable businesses to flourish, and on businesses to innovate to push their industries in the right direction.”
Hicks added: “Eco Action Day is about finding the ideas that will enable Singapore to create more sustainable, resilient and inclusive industries and infrastructure over the next 12 years.”
The panel consisted of J.D. Kasamoto, General Manager of Service and Environment Division of Ricoh Asia Pacific, Crystynna Ewe, APJ Regional Director Global Takeback of Dell, Maggie Lee, Corporate Partnership Strategist of WWF and Professor Seeram Ramakrishna, Chair of Circular Economy Taskforce of National University of Singapore.
The following points were raised during this year’s roundtable discussion:
- Both the private sector and government need to work hand in hand to achieve industry innovation and infrastructure development.
- Upstream processes in manufacturing are important to ensure that products are designed to be recycled to reduce waste.
- With the Internet of Things (IoT), the average lifecycle of products is extended. Corporations can consider shifting towards being service providers, instead of manufacturing with obsolescence and increasing the amount of waste generated.
- Within companies, leaders and management need to ensure their sustainability goals are communicated throughout the company, driving green innovation.
- As environmental awareness is increasing, information needs to be more comprehensive to increase their participation.
- Products must be designed with end-of-life in mind. Materials for products can be standardised to facilitate the recycling process.
- Regulations by the government need to be enforced and not just implemented.
Driving the circular economy
- Businesses should be utilising waste as a resource
- Recycling should be made accessible for consumers, to make it more convenient
- The circular economy concept should be implemented by all industries, accelerated by collaboration between businesses.
- Those who champion green initiatives and push the frontiers with regards to sustainability, should be rewarded as they set the standards for their industry.
- As Governments create legislation that provides conditions for circular economy practices, individuals and corporations should embrace the principles of the circular economy.
- In addition to producer responsibility, members of corporations should start with being ambassadors and advocates of sustainability practices.
- Manufacturers and producers should be more responsible for where their materials are sourced from and where they go to make sure waste is reduced.
What the future will look like
- In the age of hyper consumerism, if SDG 9 is neglected, the amount of waste the society generates will be unsustainable.
- Singapore will trend towards a high-density metropolis like other developing Southeast Asian cities if unchecked, rapid urbanization continues at the expense of the environment.
- For us to realise what the future will look like, it pays to revisit past processes and learn from them.
- Corporations, Government and society must have the next generation in mind to be able to build the best and most livable city.
Eco Action Day has gained the support of many public and private sector organisations since 2007. This year’s partners include MEWR, the National Environment Agency (NEA), Mitsubishi Electric, the Singapore Environment Council, Keppel Land, Keppel REIT, Deloitte and Singapore Pools, among others.
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Ruder Finn Asia
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About Eco Action Day
Eco Action Day is a national public awareness campaign organised by Ricoh since 2007, in partnership with key NGO, government and private sector partners in Singapore. It is held on 5 June every year, to commemorate the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Environment Day, which seeks to raise global awareness on the need to take positive action for the environment. Every year, Ricoh, along with various supporting partners, engages its employees, customers, corporate neighbours and government organisations and the wider public to take steps to reduce their impact on the environment.
To date, more than 1,100 organisations, including multinational corporations, government agencies, private companies and tertiary institutions have participated in Eco Action Day.
For further information, please visit www.ecoaction.sg
Ricoh is empowering digital workplaces using innovative technologies and services enabling individuals to work smarter. For more than 80 years, Ricoh has been driving innovation and is a leading provider of document management solutions, IT services, commercial and industrial printing, digital cameras, and industrial systems.
Headquartered in Tokyo, Ricoh Group operates in approximately 200 countries and regions. In the financial year ended March 2018, Ricoh Group had worldwide sales of 2,063 billion yen (approx. 19.4 billion USD).
For further information, please visit www.ricoh.com
About World Environment Day
World Environment Day (WED) is the biggest annual event for positive environmental action and takes place every 5 June. Since it began in 1972, global citizens have organised many events as they celebrate, engaging millions across the globe through events on the ground in over 70 countries. Every year, participants, young and old, organise many events. These include neighbourhood clean-ups, action against wildlife crime, replanting forests, art exhibits, concerts, dance recitals, recycling drives, social media campaigns, all themed around caring for the planet.
WED has grown to become one of the main vehicles through which the United Nations encourages positive action for the environment. Through WED, the UNEP enables everyone to realise not only the responsibility to care for the Earth, but also reminds one and all of their individual power to become agents of change. Every action counts, and when multiplied by a global chorus, becomes exponential in its impact.
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