Success of Eco Action Day in Singapore sparks regional initiative in Asia Pacific

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Ricoh Asia Pacific (Ricoh) kicked-off its annual Eco Action Day on 3 April last week in Singapore with an invitation to other organisations and individuals to pledge green actions for an ecofriendlier Singapore.

The annual event is held in conjunction with the United Nations Environment Programme’s World Environment Day (WED), which is celebrated on June 5 every year. The theme “Green the Red Dot, Join the Movement” aims to mobilise residents and businesses, and have them adopt green behaviours to effect positive environmental changes.

The annual nationwide campaign encourages awareness and action for the environment. In 2016, the number of pledges by organisations for Eco Action Day rose to 207, delivering energy conservation of 221,247kWh. These energy savings would be enough to power a block of flats for six months.

To reduce greenhouse emissions, the government recently announced in Parliament during the Budget 2017 speech that it will introduce a carbon tax in 2019 to reduce emissions intensity by 36 percent by 2030, following its commitment to the Paris Agreement. In the Agreement, Singapore also pledged to stabilise emissions by 2030.

Stating its commitment to a greener outlook, Ricoh and Eco-Business will be hosting the Eco Action Day Circular Economy Industry Roundtable with government, business, and civil society leaders on 1 June this year. The discussions will focus on how companies in Singapore can apply circular economy principles and business models in practice, and generate new revenue streams, while simultaneously building climate resilience.

Mr. Kazuhisa Goto, Managing Director, Ricoh Asia Pacific, said, “As a Group effort, Ricoh’s sustainable environmental management began as early as 1970s to engage and balance conservation activities with business sustainability. In Singapore, we embarked on the green journey as early as 2003, striving to become one of the leading companies that is committed to the environment. Since the inception of Eco Action Day, we have made great strides locally, and with the success of the campaign in Singapore, we are excited to launch the campaign as a regional movement this year. With a common platform for the region now, we hope that organisations and individuals can share with us their best practices for the environment. This will allow us to learn and grow together as we continue this sustainability journey.”

Winning teams from the Eco Action Day Circular Economy Challenge (Challenge) will present their ideas on the same day to leaders at the Roundtable, followed by the prize-giving ceremony. The overall champion will receive a sponsored trip to Japan, including a field trip to Ricoh’s Eco Business Development Centre.

The Challenge was launched on 22 February to engage youths and young professionals to develop a circular economy solution applicable for Singapore. Submission deadline for the challenge is 10 May. This initiative is in support of United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production.

Making the pledge at www.ecoaction.sg contributes to the national vision of the Singapore Sustainable Blueprint (SSB), which seeks to create a more sustainable and liveable Singapore for all.

This year, the Eco Action Day celebration is not limited to Singapore but will include nine other countries - namely Australia, Hong Kong, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam. The theme ‘Sharing eco-mind together’, aims to get members to embrace sustainability consciousness. Corporates and individuals residing in any of these nine countries can make their pledge at www.ecoaction-ap.com.

In Singapore, Eco Action Day has gained the support of several public and private sector organisations since 2007. This year’s partners include Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, National Environment Agency, Singapore Environment Council, Energy Market Authority, Building and Construction Authority, Keppel Land, Keppel REIT, Global Compact Network Singapore, SMRT, EcoBusiness, among others. Organisations and individuals can play a role in effecting positive environmental changes to complement other green initiatives in the city-state.

Mr Ang Wee Gee, CEO, Keppel Land, said, “At Keppel Land, sustainability is at the heart of our strategy and operations. We recognise the twin benefits of environmentally-friendly business practices on the environment and our bottom line. 2017 marks a decade since we formed a dedicated committee to lead in the setting of sustainability targets for our company as well as for our developments in Singapore and overseas.

He added, "Through our steadfast commitment as well as implementation of carbon reduction measures and green innovations in our buildings, we are on track to reducing our carbon emission intensity by 16% below 2010’s emission levels by 2020. This will in turn yield potential savings of over $12.4 million up to 2020. Through the support of initiatives such as Eco Action Day, we seek to raise environmental consciousness among our stakeholders to join us as we shape a cleaner, greener future for generations to come.”