Eco-Office expands into Southeast Asia

While the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) has awarded the Eco-Office certification to offices in Singapore, it announced today that offices in Malaysia and Indonesia have, for the very first time, been slated to be Eco-Offices by the end of the year.

This was announced on March 2o at the annual Project: Eco-Office presentation ceremony held at the Singapore Post Centre, which was officiated by Mr Desmond Lee Ti-Seng, Minister of State for National Development.

Sky Creation Design Pte Ltd, an interior design and renovation company in Singapore which have pursued a strategy of sustainable design and the use of sustainable materials actively, plans to have its regional office in Kuala Lumpur Eco-Office certified too.

Holcim, a global company with production sites spanning around 70 countries, has had its local arm, Holcim (Singapore) Ltd, Eco-Office certified in 2010 and Green Label certified for 17 products since 2011, both of which are administered by SEC. Holcim is preparing its office in Indonesia for Eco-Office certification by the end of this year.

“Project: Eco-Office inspires and guides offices to balance both business operations and environmental sustainability. Companies outside of Singapore which see the value of our programme and the significance of the label, understand environmental sustainability to be a beneficial long term business strategy. Without doubt, this regional venture is in line with the SEC’s objective to expand our programmes into the region,” said Mr Jose Raymond, Chief Executive Officer of the SEC.

“We see interior design as a balanced and holistic approach that utilises sustainable materials and environmentally-sound designs. Our customers have seen that our eco-friendly approach does not cost any more than a conventional design. The Eco-Office certification adds to the testament of our commitment to the environment and we want to extend this assurance to our regional customers,” shared Dr Sky Tan, Chief Executive Officer of Sky Creation.

Ms Devina Raditya, Personal Assistant to Strategy, Business Development & Innovation Director at Holcim Indonesia Tbk, sees the Project: Eco-Office programme as a natural progression of greening their own premises. “When we first implemented a switch-off-lights initiative in the Singapore office, we achieved an instant reduction of approximately 30 per cent in electricity consumption. Project: Eco-Office inspired us to further set similar reduction targets for our paper, water consumption and even our carbon footprint in terms of operational trips. We aim to complete the external audit for the office in Indonesia by October 2014,” said Ms Devina.

Launched in 2002, the Project: Eco-Office programme is a collaboration between SEC and eco-developer City Developments Limited (CDL) to encourage sustainable practices within offices. Eco-Office certificates were presented to 79 new offices today, covering 18,000 staff in fields as varied as education to manufacturing to interior design.

CDL participated in the presentation ceremony as an honoured recipient. “As a pioneer and firm advocate of sustainability, CDL has been committed to green buildings and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for close to two decades now. Environmental sustainability is deeply embedded in CDL’s corporate culture and operations. Project: Eco-Office was conceptualised over a decade ago, when little was being done to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly habits at the workplace.

As a major landlord in Singapore, we recognised the important need to change the way businesses work, think and manage resources at the workplace. As a partner and initiator of Project: Eco-Office with SEC, CDL is heartened to see how the programme has expanded and achieved behavioural change within the business community, and especially how it has grown from a local initiative to a regional initiative,” said Ms Esther An, Head of CSR, CDL.

Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd, who is no stranger to green practices, produces environmentally-friendly packaging, and sees the Eco-Office certification as a best practice for the Company and other companies to follow. “The Eco-Office programme is an effective outreach programme that raises awareness and cultivates environmentally friendly practices in our workplace.

The Eco-Office Label certification is a testament to our efforts in advocating the importance of saving and protecting the environment. With this certification and the building of Greenhub, the first ‘green’ factory in Southeast Asia, Greenpac has come a full circle in embracing the green concept holistically to support environmental protection among our business, infrastructure and building, and people,” shared Ms Susan Chong, Chief Executive Officer of Greenpac.

Changi Airport Group (CAG) goes a step further by having active staff participation and engagement. Its Eco-Office includes out-of-office programmes that let staff participate in fun and experiential activities and pick up environmental concepts. Employees better understand the logic and rationale behind environmental practices implemented. CAG even has a portal accessible to all employees, which provides comprehensive green guides and handbooks, with tips on going green both in the office and at home.

In addition, CAG champions the green cause among its airport partners and has recently introduced an airport-wide recycling day to encourage recycling of office waste.

Ms Ng Bee Kay, Assistant Vice President Corporate Development and International Relations of CAG said, “Changi Airport Group is cognisant of the impact of its operations on the immediate environment. We have started engagement efforts with our airport partners to understand their green policies, and work closely with them to discuss environmental plans and joint initiatives that we can embark together. Over at Changi Airport’s three terminals, we have also introduced creatively designed recycling bins to encourage passengers and airport users to recycle waste through these bins.”

Within our island state, even charity organisations and Institutions of Public Character (IPC) will benefit from the programme. The Project: Eco-Office certification will be made available to these organisations on a complimentary basis, with costs borne by SEC and CDL.

“Charities and IPCs are our local counterparts, whom we want to certify them for free so they can benefit from the cost savings offered by Project: Eco-Office. These savings can be better channelled towards more important areas, significant to the organisation’s cause,” added Mr Raymond.

2014’s Project: Eco-Office programme comes with a newly-revamped online audit protocol which provides assessments and environmental performance statistics at a single glance. Companies can now monitor and track electricity, water and paper consumption within the organisation and identify areas of improvement. This allows for a complete review of their performance and sets more realistic targets and goals.

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