EB Impact launches a second edition of ‘Sustainability Exchange’ with Facebook and OCBC Bank
Following a highly successful pilot programme, Singapore’s first of its kind youth-mentorship initiative on sustainable development is back.
19 October 2021, Singapore – EB Impact, the non-profit sister organisation of Eco-Business, has launched the second edition of Sustainability Exchange , a youth-mentorship programme aimed at solving sustainability challenges and advancing the Singapore Green Plan.
The programme is launched in partnership with strategic partners Facebook and OCBC Bank, and is also supported by the Climate Action SG Alliance, and academic partners from the National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University (Centre for Business Sustainability), Singapore University of Social Sciences, Singapore Management University and Singapore Polytechnic.
Facebook has continued to support this programme for the second year, specially curated to match youths with seasoned professionals according to their areas of interest. The three-month programme provides guidance and expertise for youths to work on solving sustainability challenges faced in Singapore.
Since establishing its presence in Singapore in 2010, Facebook has been committed to exploring ways to help drive sustainability efforts in the region through a combination of major investments and projects with local partners.
This year, OCBC Bank has also joined the programme as strategic partner to commit to funding the top five selected projects under its #OCBCCares Environment Fund. The Bank had announced in 2020 that its Fund would focus on identifying gaps where sustainable and strategic support is needed; and funding projects that can directly mitigate climate change issues.
Launched in 2017, #OCBCCares Environment Fund initially supported community sustainability projects before it shifted focus after observing over time that it received more applications for awareness of environmental issues than lifestyle changes or adoption of environmentally responsible behaviour.
The more targeted approach of the Sustainability Exchange - in addressing climate change challenges to address the five pillars of the Singapore Green Plan – fits the objective of the #OCBCCares Environment Fund.
Besides providing financial support, OCBC Bank will also conduct workshops on budgeting and presentation skills for all participants – to help them prepare robust proposals and present well.
To mark the official launch of the second edition of Sustainability Exchange, EB Impact hosted a hybrid forum on 19 October where representatives from government, academia, businesses, and the youth community gathered to share their insights on climate action and the path towards a green economy in Singapore.
About 40 guests attended in person at Crane, Singapore while 240 participated online.
Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, who was guest-of-honour at the event, shared: “The Sustainability Exchange is a meaningful programme to bring together various partners, including our youth, who are naturally quite passionate about fighting climate change, as well as our business leaders and academics.”
“I want to encourage all present and future participants of the Sustainability Exchange to seize this opportunity to have conversations on the trade-offs and opportunities in sustainability, as we move to a low-carbon economy. I hope you will gain a better understanding of the underlying climate-related issues and necessary trade-offs in driving sustainability solutions.” added Tan.
Relevance of Sustainability Exchange
The Covid-19 pandemic has shifted the focus on the sustainability of businesses, with a growing number of organisations acknowledging that sustainability practices drives business resilience and greater innovation.
Youths today play a pivotal role in addressing sustainability-related issues. The younger generation are increasingly vocal with their concerns and are increasing their engagement in global and local policies and societal trends.
This mentorship programme will help youths develop critical-thinking capabilities in the area of sustainability, and it also serves as a thought leadership platform for youths and mentors to exchange ideas and to accelerate sustainability innovation in Singapore.
Earlier this year, the Singapore Green Plan was unveiled, highlighting Singapore’s national sustainable development targets for the next decade.
The Green Plan acknowledges that climate change is a ‘critical global priority’ and charts targets over the next decade, positioning the nation in achieving our long-term net-zero emissions goal, as soon as viable.
To enhance climate and economic resilience, the Green Plan sets out five key pillars – such as City in Nature, Energy Reset, Green Economy, Resilient Future and Sustainable Living.
In this second edition of Sustainability Exchange, its steering committee – comprising of strategic and academic partners – have carefully formulated a set of problem statements that closely aligned to the five pillars of the Singapore Green Plan.
These problem statements will be released alongside the application forms for youths and mentors to indicate their interest in a specific problem statement of choice to solve. The youths and mentors accepted in this programme will be matched according to their interests in the specific problem statement.
“After the initial pilot and overwhelming response, EB Impact has continued to improve the programme by convening a steering committee to provide technical expertise and guidance to come up with a set of problem statements that we believe will be exciting and meaningful for participants,” said Jessica Cheam, EB Impact board member and Chair of the Climate Action SG Alliance.
“We are also excited to be partnering Facebook and OCBC Bank on this second edition. The #OCBCCares Environment Fund will provide the critical resources needed for youths to turn their ideas into reality. The time for awareness is over, what we need today is action,” Cheam added.
“Facebook is proud to continue our commitment in partnering with EB Impact for this meaningful programme, helping youths to accelerate their understanding and take action towards sustainability issues. Over the years we’ve been helping partners with their community building and education efforts,” said Gavin Chua, Head of Infrastructure Engagement in APAC for Facebook.
“Alongside our own sustainability efforts, such as the construction of our first data centre in Asia which will be supported by 100% renewable energy when operational, we are committed to exploring ways to help drive sustainability efforts and supporting the local communities we serve,” added Chua.
Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Head of Group Brand and Communications shared: “The Sustainability Exchange programme fits the bill for our #OCBCCares Environment Fund as it takes an actionable approach towards getting people like you and me not to just talk green but also do green. We are glad we can fill in the funding gap to support the implementation of winning solutions, assessment of tangible outcomes and possibly scaling up of proven solutions.”
“No effort is too small, and no one is too young when it comes to taking action for the environment. It is all in our hands to act now – collectively – for a more sustainable future. The solutions developed by the youths can spur results-driven action and encourage them to lead the climate change fight.”
S. Viswanathan, Professor of Operations Management and Corporate Sustainability at Nanyang Business School, Nanyang Technological University, observed: “While there is greater attention to climate change and other global challenges now than ever before in the past 30 years, it does not mean that we have overcome or will easily overcome the challenge. For example, in the past week, there has been news that the demand for coal has actually gone up with the increased post-Covid-19 economic growth in many countries.
“In Singapore, there is long-term collaborative research efforts between corporate, academia and top universities through the support of the National Research Foundation (NRF). However, bringing greater awareness about the challenge and instilling responsible consumption amongst all of us is still the need of the hour,” he added.
“Sustainability Exchange is a very welcome initiative and should inspire more among the youth as well as corporates and academia to pursue a range of projects and activities to address this seemingly insurmountable challenge,” Viswanathan added.
Bryan Goh Zheng Ting, a current computer science undergraduate at the Nanyang Technological University, who will be participating in this year’s programme, shared: “I’ve always wanted to do my part for the environment ever since becoming aware of sustainability and climate change issues. I hope to learn more from like-minded individuals and mentors about the current sustainability landscape, and more importantly, look for an opportunity to put what I have learnt over the years into action and make an impact.”
More details of the #OCBCCares Environment Fund can be found in its media release dated 19 October 2021.
Sustainability Exchange starts accepting applications today. Interested mentors and youths are invited to apply for ‘Sustainability Exchange Season 2’ from now till the application closes on 30 November 2021.
It is highly recommended that interested applicants submit their application as soon as possible as there are a limited number of spaces. Successful applicants will be notified of the subsequent steps via their registered email.
Read more about the application criteria here.
To apply as a youth participant, please click here.
To apply as a mentor, please click here.
Note to Editors:
All media coverage on the event should include a mention of Sustainability Exchange, an initiative by EB Impact, in partnership with Facebook and OCBC Bank, supported by Climate Action SG Alliance.
View the full programme here.
Full list of speakers:
- Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, Republic of Singapore
- Jessica Cheam, Board of Directors, EB Impact
- Gavin Chua, Head of Infrastructure Engagement, APAC, Facebook
- Isabella Chia, Vice President, Group Brand and Communications, OCBC Bank
- Daniel Lim, Public Policy Manager, Facebook
- Vish S. Viswanathan, Professor of Operations Management & Corporate Sustainability, Nanyang Business School
- Andre Stolz, CEO EcoWorth Tech, Managing Director, Budding Innovations
- Bryan Goh, Undergraduate, Nanyang Technological University
List of problem statements:
City in Nature
- How might we encourage a more human and nature-centered smart city?
- What role can Singapore play in implementing nature-based solutions, locally and regionally?
- Singapore is alternative energy disadvantaged, having limited sources of renewable energy. How might we enable the country to get to net zero emissions?
- How might we accelerate the adoption rate of electric vehicles and infrastructures in Singapore for a cleaner transport system?
- SMEs are the backbone of the economy yet many of them are limited in resources or understanding of sustainability issues. How might we improve SME’s accessibility to tools and resources to help them accelerate the adoption of green technologies?
- How might we further engage the youth population to explore opportunities in the STEM field and increase the uptake of green jobs?
- There are a number of reporting frameworks to guide companies increase their level of ESG disclosure. How can we encourage companies – not just public listed ones - to adopt these frameworks and increase their disclosure and performance on sustainability issues?
- The circular economy is fast gaining traction around the world as an important mechanism for us to become responsible stewards of our precious resources. How might we incorporate the concepts of circularity into companies’ long term business strategies and how will we measure its progress?
- Singaporeans have one of the highest carbon footprints per capita. In the recent OCBC Climate Index survey, it revealed that our awareness levels are high, but it does not translate to high levels of adoption of sustainable living. How might we encourage this shift from awareness to adoption, and how might we measure it?
- From an urban planning perspective, while designing the future of the nation, how can we enhance liveability in Singapore?
- As the world continues to feel the impacts of climate change, how might we design our city such that it is climate resilient?
- To mitigate the effects of supply-chain disruptions, Singapore aims to produce 30% of its nutritional needs by 2030. How might we increase community awareness and support for locally produced food?
- How can we give citizens a greater stake in decision-making on climate action so that solutions and policy can be co-created and result in better outcomes?
The Sustainability Exchange Steering Committee comprises representatives from corporates and IHLs in Singapore who are partners of the programme.
Members of the steering committee:
- Jessica Cheam, Founder and Managing Director, Eco-Business; Board of Directors, EB Impact
- Gavin Chua, Head of Infrastructure Engagement APAC, Facebook
- Isabella Chia, Vice President, Group Corporate Communications, OCBC Bank
- Gadgil Abhiruchi, Research Fellow, NTU (Cambridge CREATE Centre for Carbon Reduction in Chemical Technologies)
- Ted Tschang, Associate Professor of Strategic Management; Course Coordinator, Sustainability, Singapore Management University
- Melissa Low, Research Fellow, Energy Studies Institute
- Chan Mun Wei, Associate Lecturer, Singapore University of Social Sciences
- Joyce Tan, Associate Faculty and Specialist, Office of Career Development, Singapore University of Social Sciences
- Yina Chua, Business Development Manager, Singapore Polytechnic
- Carol Tan, Singapore Polytechnic
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About EB Impact
EB Impact is the non-profit arm of Eco-Business, focused on delivering training and programmes to Asia Pacific’s underserved communities with a focus on youth to generate positive sustainable development impact. We are headquartered in Singapore and our three strategic areas of focus are: Education, Youth, and Nature-based solutions. All our programmes are designed to directly generate positive environment and social impact for society.
Founded in 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Facebook’s apps and technologies to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses. Facebook is a trademark of Facebook, Inc.
About OCBC Bank
OCBC Bank is the longest established Singapore bank, formed in 1932 from the merger of three local banks, the oldest of which was founded in 1912. It is now the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets and one of the world’s most highly-rated banks, with an Aa1 rating from Moody’s. Recognised for its financial strength and stability,
OCBC Bank is consistently ranked among the World’s Top 50 Safest Banks by Global Finance and has been named Best Managed Bank in Singapore and the Asia Pacific by The Asian Banker.
OCBC Bank and its subsidiaries offer a broad array of commercial banking, specialist financial and wealth management services, ranging from consumer, corporate, investment, private and transaction banking to treasury, insurance, asset management and stockbroking services.
OCBC Bank’s key markets are Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China. It has over 610 branches and representative offices in 18 countries and regions. These include the more than 330 branches and offices in Indonesia under subsidiary Bank OCBC NISP, and 100 branches and offices in Hong Kong, China and Macau under OCBC Wing Hang.
OCBC Bank’s private banking services are provided by its wholly-owned subsidiary Bank of Singapore, which operates on a unique open-architecture product platform to source for the best-in-class products to meet its clients’ goals.
OCBC Bank’s insurance subsidiary, Great Eastern Holdings, is the oldest and most established life insurance group in Singapore and Malaysia. Its asset management subsidiary, Lion Global Investors, is one of the largest private sector asset management companies in Southeast Asia.
About Climate Action SG Alliance
Climate Action SG Alliance comprises of a group of 17 NGOs and business leaders to advocate climate action and raise public awareness on climate issues.
About Sustainability Exchange
Sustainability Exchange is a youth-mentorship programme by EB Impact which facilitates knowledge-sharing between corporates and the youth community. This initiative allows for youths to tap on the mentors’ vast industry experiences and to gain valuable insights in the sustainability space, while allowing for corporate mentors to work alongside the youth talents, generating innovative solutions that seeks to address Singapore’s climate and sustainability issues.