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Green businesses have an edge: Grace Fu

SINGAPORE — Businesses with a well-executed environmental strategy will have an edge over others, as they would have stronger consumer branding, better relations with stakeholders and a greater readiness for a resource-constrained future.

SINGAPORE — Businesses with a well-executed environmental strategy will have an edge over others, as they would have stronger consumer branding, better relations with stakeholders and a greater readiness for a resource-constrained future.

Speaking at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development yesterday, Second Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Grace Fu made this point as she called on businesses to work alongside the Government to ensure economic development does not come at the expense of the environment.

She said environmental sustainability has to be featured in business decisions and discussed in boardrooms. “You’ll find that many of the good tips to conserve energy and water do not require many resources. It requires a change in processes,” said Ms Fu, who is also Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office.

She suggested, for instance, that a company’s management team take the lead in monitoring energy and water consumption so employees could follow suit and reduce wastage.

WWF Singapore’s chief executive officer Elaine Tan, who was also speaking at the forum, urged businesses to take bold action in the name of sustainable development.

“Sustainable development is not just about saving the forests and oceans. It is about your licence to operate in a society, your business operations and your brand reputation,” said Ms Tan. “There is going to be a lot more risk and uncertainty, and it’ll be more important than ever to ensure that your business can stand up to the new challenges and new consumer demands.”

Mr Kurt Wee, president of the Association of Small and Medium Enterprises, said small and medium businesses (SMEs) here are already practising more sustainable initiatives.

“At the end of the day, having good sustainable practices is good for business, because if you’re more conscious about the environment, it makes your business more palatable for people to deal with,” he said.

Still, SMEs are encountering difficulties along the way, given their lack of knowledge in operating in a more environmentally-friendly way. What various businesses could do is to come together as an industry to collectively find a solution, said Mr Wee.

The three-day forum, in its third edition this year, is being held at Marina Bay Sands. About 650 people from government bodies, businesses and civil society came together to discuss the implementation of sustainable solutions to global challenges.

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