Singapore, 31st May 2022 - EB Impact, the non-profit sister organisation of Eco-Business, has concluded its second edition of the Sustainability Exchange with strategic partners Meta (formerly Facebook) and OCBC. The Sustainability Exchange is a youth-mentorship programme aimed at solving sustainability challenges and advancing the Singapore Green Plan.
Jessica Cheam, EB Impact Founder and Eco-Business Founder and Managing Director, “EB Impact is thrilled to have convened a second successful season of Sustainability Exchange. This year, we had a new steering committee provide their technical expertise and guidance to come up with a set of problem statements that we believe were exciting and meaningful for participants. The 11 participating teams came up with strong and tangible solutions to the sustainability problems in our society.
The additional funding secured from the #OCBCCares Environment Fund has also helped to provide the resources needed for youths to turn their ideas into reality. We’re grateful to all our partners for making this programme possible, and we’re looking forward to helping and supporting young professionals solve real-world challenges with the guidance of our passionate mentors.”
The second season of the programme was launched with strategic partners Meta and OCBC Bank, with support from 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.
“Facebook/Meta is proud to continue our commitment to 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.
This year the focus of the problem statements was on the Singapore Green Plan, which 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 the city in Nature, Energy Reset, Green Economy, Resilient Future and Sustainable Living.
Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank Head of Group Brand and Communications shared that with the groundswell of climate change issues, the need for action has become increasingly urgent. She shared, “The purpose of our #OCBCCares Environment Fund is to motivate the community to drive projects that can empower the general public to implement sustainable and scalable climate action solutions that will benefit Singapore. That’s why this Fund supports projects that go beyond raising awareness and driving actionable impact on the environment. We need to rouse everyone to take action now.”
The 11 participating teams of the Sustainability Exchange worked on their problem statements to come up with viable solutions to be implemented. The teams presented their problem statements, at the Sustainability Exchange Season 2, Final Showcase on the 27th of May 2022. With around 70 guests including participating teams, mentors and other guests attended the in-person event at Crane, Singapore.
All 11 participating teams of the Sustainability Exchange were allowed to present their solutions to the panel of esteemed judges and received feedback on their proposals. The judges deliberated and came up with the five winning teams to receive funding from OCBC Bank of up to $100,000 SGD. The winning team included:
- Ecologue: Leverages technology to democratise climate decisions by tackling three key areas - participation, transparency and capacity building, they hope to empower citizens to share opinions, and co-create win-win solutions with corporations and the government, and vice-versa.
- ReuseOnly: This is a solution that provides convenience and enables users to build a sustainable lifestyle, by promoting the idea of sharing and reusing through the provision of a 2-in-1 vending machine.
- Agroath: This is a web-based educational platform with information on local production and a simulative game that aims to experientially educate around 50,000 unique individuals (youths) in its first year of operation.
- Bottles Out: This is a solution that brings in refillable vending machines to tackle PET bottle waste in Singapore. Consider a hybrid between water coolers and the typical vending machines you see daily, these refillable vending machines dispense your favourite beverages such as green tea to beat the heat in sunny Singapore.
- Ecomap: Is a one-stop solution platform that consolidates various resources and information (education, government assistance, and financing options), making it simple for users to navigate and find what they need.
The teams will use the OCBC funding to pilot their projects and create a roadmap for their work for the next year. The team leader of Ecomap Liu Jiahui shared, “My team and I are incredibly grateful to be one of the finalists of the Sustainability Exchange. We are excited to take our innovative idea, EcoMap, to the next stage of development. In time to come, we hope to contribute in small, meaningful ways to Singapore’s Green Plan.”
Although only 5 out of 11 teams received funding, all other teams will continue to get support from EB Impact and be part of the growing community of youths and professionals working towards tackling sustainability issues. A judge in the season 2 final showcase Meryl Koh, Director, Drew & Napier LLC and Board Member, EB Impact shared, “Sustainability Exchange is growing from strength to strength with such overwhelming response from youths and mentors alike. There was a palpable sense of urgency amongst the young participants who were clearly determined to make a difference as future custodians of our Earth and their proposals showed that.”
With the successful end to season 2 of the Sustainability Exchange, EB Impact will continue to support the youths and begin to plan for season 3 of the programme. With Singapore’s transition to a Green Economy, a pillar in Singapore’s Green Plan 2030, the guest of honour Desmond Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment, shared, “Regardless of our experience in the workforce, there is potential for each and everyone to be a part of this transition. Institutions and companies have rolled out programmes to equip our workforce with the necessary skills for the future. For example, the Singapore Motor Workshop Association has worked with various agencies to train technicians in servicing electric and hybrid vehicles as we phase out internal combustion engine vehicles. Across our tertiary institutions, there are more than 100 Continuing Education and Training (CET) courses for those working in industries facing a “green transition”.”
Note to Editors
All media coverage of the event should include a mention of Sustainability Exchange, an initiative by EB Impact, in partnership with Meta and OCBC Bank, supported by Climate Action SG Alliance.
Full list of speakers:
- Gavin Chua Head of Stakeholder Engagement, APAC, Facebook
- Amy Ho Director, Sustainability at National University of Singapore
- Koh Ching Ching OCBC Group Brand and Communications
- Meryl Koh Director, Drew & Napier LLC and Board Member, EB Impact
- Wang Weixiang Director, Environmental Policy Division, Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment
Guest of Honour
- Desmond Tan Minister of State for Home Affairs and Sustainability and the Environment
List of final proposals:
Click here to find all the proposals from season two of the Sustainability Exchange.
List of problem statements:
Click here to find out what are the problem statements for this season.
For media inquiries, interviews and photos, please contact:
Dian S Ander
The SDG Co, 2 Science Park Drive | 01-03, Ascent | Singapore 118222
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 into the sustainability space, while allowing for corporate mentors to work alongside the youth talents, generating innovative solutions that seek to address Singapore’s climate and sustainability issues.
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 a positive environment and social impact on society.
Founded in 2004, Meta’s (previously Facebook) mission is to give people the power to build community and bring the world closer together. People use Meta’s apps and technologies to connect with friends and family, find communities and grow businesses.
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 AsianBanker.
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 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.
Climate Action SG Alliance comprises a group of 17 NGOs and business leaders to advocate climate action and raise public awareness on climate issues.
Sustainability Exchange Season 2 participating teams:
- TEAM ECOLOGUE: Ecologue hopes to leverage technology to democratise climate decisions. By tackling the three key areas - participation, transparency and capacity building, in hopes to empower citizens to share their opinions, and co-create win-win solutions with corporations and the government, and vice-versa. In the long run, Ecologue also aims to increase and provide opportunities for mutual learning between people across different backgrounds and ultimately, the creation of a public think-tank.
- TEAM WESGATE: The solution is a web-based platform which aims to be “the first port of call” for companies fresh to sustainability reporting to kickstart their sustainability journey with us. Aiming to bring clarity of the risks and opportunities of sustainability reporting to relevant stakeholders. This platform also serves as an ecosystem aggregator to support key, overlapping vendors within the same industry to share their sustainability expertise.
- TEAM REUSE ONLY: ReuseOnly is a solution that provides convenience and enables users to build a sustainable lifestyle.ReuseOnly aims to challenge the status quo by promoting the idea of sharing and reusing through the provision of a 2-in-1 vending machine. Prioritising the reduction of waste and carbon emissions and the conservation of natural resources.
- TEAM ECO SCHOLAR: The project aims to deliver green education guided by the SG Green Plan 2030 to allow youths to appreciate the importance of sustainable urban planning and cultivate the next generation of eco-citizens. With the intent to extend the CCE curriculum by evolving the ESP to align with the Green Plan, to impact all secondary school students in Singapore, thereby creating a wide pool of youth with increased understanding and commitment to contributing to a more sustainable city.
- TEAM THE GREEN ALLIANCE: Private companies may be hesitant to invest/fund NBS projects as it is difficult to evaluate and therefore determine its ROI. To encourage companies to invest in the future, without a foreseeable ROI, in hopes to create a platform where companies can fund verified NBS projects/research. This aims to channel private funds to costly NBS projects, thereby reducing the funding gap.
- TEAM ECOMAP: The proposed solution is a one-stop platform that consolidates various resources and information (education, government assistance, and financing options), making it simple for users to navigate and find what they need.
- TEAM PORTZ: Portz, is aimed at increasing the adoption rate of electric vehicles in Singapore. Portz has identified the availability and convenience of using charging stations as key factors as to why Singaporeans prefer not to own and use EVs. Portz plans to do this by connecting EV owners to charging stations with unlimited charging for a monthly subscription fee. By making EV charging more convenient and versatile, it aims to increase EV adoption rates in Singapore.
- TEAM GREEN JOBS: The Green Jobs solution is a training programme for youths in STEM fields, targeting three areas: upskilling, practical application of content learnt and lastly work placements. Through a platform, in hopes to equip youths with the relevant skills for future green careers.
- TEAM SEE LEVEL: See Level believes that a climate-resilient city requires a resilient community, and this begins with an App. The See Level App aims to educate users of the app on the impact of rising sea levels and show how existing measures work. Through Augmented Reality and real-life examples, in hopes that users will learn and understand how cities can be designed to be flood resilient. The project does not just stop at building climate literacy. The aim is to encourage more bottom-up approaches when it comes to designing a city and aim to achieve this by engaging the residents of the targeted site to put what they have learnt to use by designing a flood resilient public space together as a community.
- TEAM AGROATH: Agroath is a web-based educational platform with information on local production and a simulative game that aims to experientially educate around 50,000 unique individuals (youths) in its first year of operation. It is Agroath’s mission to help make Singapore more resilient to foreign supply chain shocks and grow the market for local produce by educating the next generation of Singapore’s workforce.
- TEAM BOTTLES OUT: The solution is to roll out refillable vending machines to tackle PET bottle waste in Singapore. Consider a hybrid between water coolers and the typical vending machines you see daily, these refillable vending machines dispense your favourite beverages such as green tea to beat the heat in sunny Singapore. Furthermore, consumers can also help reduce environmental impact by dropping off used PET bottles to earn rewards. These PET bottles will be sold to other local enterprises that utilise PET bottles in their businesses.
Members of the Sustainability Exchange 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