Green transformation means more than just profit for these companies


Even as we grapple with immediate concerns like rising prices and economic uncertainty, a critical threat looms large – our ongoing climate crisis. Singapore’s susceptibility to its detrimental effects and limited renewable energy options calls for an urgent need to prioritise the sustainability agenda.

In response, the Future Economy Council’s newly-developed Resource and Environmental Sustainability Cluster will oversee industry transformation efforts to align with national priorities on sustainability. The cluster is co-chaired by Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment Koh Poh Koon and Sembcorp Industries group president and chief executive Wong Kim Yin.

But why should companies go green – especially when they’re recovering from pandemic-related shocks? Take a leaf from a homegrown environmental services company and a luxury hotel brand. Their sustainability strategy is clear: Going green can be win-win.

Walking the sustainability talk

A passionate advocate of sustainability, Mr Premkumar Retanamsamy believes that everyone has a part to play in reducing waste and unnecessary use of single-use products. He hopes that future generations can benefit from what we choose to do today.

The 36-year-old is the principal manager of operations at Chye Thiam Maintenance (CTM), an environmental services company. His job involves sharing the company’s sustainable practices when he trains new employees.

“When I tell them they should try to reduce plastic bag usage and only use what they need, their reaction is usually ‘I know la’,” he says.

It was initially challenging to get employees to adopt habits of reducing and reusing where possible. But he perseveres, encouraging his colleagues and leading by example.

In his primary role, he helps the company save storage space and reduce costs by only ordering what is needed on a monthly basis.

Even then, the items must come from green label companies. For instance, Mr Premkumar only orders paper from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)-certified companies. FSC is an international standard that ensures that products are from sustainable and responsible sources.

“As one of Singapore’s largest homegrown environmental services companies, sustainability is of utmost importance to us,” says Dr Adrian Ang, 39, CTM’s director of corporate development and new businesses.

“As our company grew, we decided to go into materials recovery and e-waste recycling as we realised how sustainability will benefit Singapore and future generations.”

Thinking long term for future benefits

With Pulau Semakau landfill forecasted to be full by 2035, CTM opened its first materials recovery facility in Sungei Kadut in 2018 to reduce incinerated waste by recovering reusable or recyclable materials.

By extracting items such as plastic bottles, aluminium cans, cartons and boxes, the company reduces the total amount of waste sent for incineration, and derives revenue from the sale of recovered materials to recycling partners.

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