Archive for May, 2014

Role in new Asian chapter of Climate Markets & Investment Association

Posted by Ken on May 9, 2014
Posted under Armstrong EnergEyes May 2014

The Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA) is pleased to announce the creation of its new Asia regional chapter. The chapter will be co-chaired by Assaad Razzouk, CEO of Sindicatum and Andrew Affleck, managing partner at Armstrong Asset Management.  CMIA recognises that South East Asia is a key part of the emerging market landscape and could serve as a benchmark for other developing country policy and business model initiatives. Read More


The Climate Markets & Investment Association (CMIA) is pleased to announce the creation of its new Asia regional chapter. The chapter will be co-chaired by Assaad Razzouk, CEO of Sindicatum and Andrew Affleck, managing partner at Armstrong Asset Management.

CMIA recognises that South East Asia is a key part of the emerging market landscape and could serve as a benchmark for other developing country policy and business model initiatives. The CMIA Asia Chapter will work with Development Finance Institutions and others to design, promote and implement in collaboration with its members, public private partnership schemes to address funding gaps and establish successful benchmarks with the aim of catalyzing greater institutional investment in the region.

Based in Singapore, the chapter will engage with regional policy makers in Asia generally, but principally in Thailand, The Philippines, Indonesia, China, India and Vietnam. CMIA’s Asia Chapter’s focus is to provide input regarding market based mechanisms to support the further investment in climate change mitigation projects. The chapter will access and provide constructive feedback, based on practical experience, regarding policy initiatives addressing carbon pricing, Feed-In-Tariffs, Renewable Energy targets and quotas, Fossil fuel subsidies and project permitting processes.

Through this chapter, CMIA has already participated in/organised 2 events:

-              5 March 2014 – Beijing: A joint China Carbon Forum, ASrIA and CMIA event on “Stabilizing Carbon Markets: Lessons learned and applicability for China’s Nascent Carbon Markets.” A summary of this event can be found here.

-              19 May 2014 – Manila: Via a panel discussion followed by a dinner, CMIA launches its thought leadership paper assessing renewable energy regimes in Indonesia, Thailand and The Philippines.

Anthony Hobley, CMIA President says “Once again this is an example of CMIAs membership leading the association into new and exciting territory.”

Miles Austin, Executive Director at CMIA states “Asia is fast becoming the focus of a new wave of mitigation investment, prior to the CDM there were almost no project developers focused on low/no carbon projects present, on the back of the CDM a wave of new companies sprung up who are now expanding their business model into complimentary financing mechanisms, this is a very exciting time for the region which has huge untapped potential”.

Andrew Affeck is the Founder and Managing Partner of Armstrong Asset Management. He has 24 years of asset management and investment banking experience in the Asian region, and has specialized in climate change mitigation investments for the last 8 years. He comments “I am delighted to have the opportunity to co-Chair the newly launched Asia chapter of the CMIA. We aim to leverage the experience and success from other parts of the organization globally, to accelerate this region’s progress with mitigating climate change.”

Assaad W. Razzouk is a clean energy entrepreneur, investor and commentator on climate change, natural capital and clean energy. He is Group Chief Executive and Co-Founder of Sindicatum Sustainable Resources, a global clean energy company headquartered in Singapore; a Board member of the Climate Markets & Investment Association and of the Association for Sustainable and Responsible Investment in Asia. He is a graduate of Syracuse University (Summa Cum Laude) and holds an MBA from Columbia Business School.

About the CMIA

The Climate Markets and Investment Association (CMIA) is an international trade association representing companies that finance, invest in, and provide enabling support to activities that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Solely representing organisations that provide services to and invest in the environmental sector, the CMIA’s membership does not include any entities with compliance obligations under cap-and-trade schemes. This results in a unique advocacy platform with emphasis on the environmental integrity of market mechanisms and climate change policies.


Green Growth and Business Forum in Singapore

Posted by Ken on May 9, 2014
Posted under Armstrong EnergEyes May 2014

Green Growth and Business Forum in Singapore 

Andrew Affleck is one of the speakers covering financing green growth in the two-day event (3/4 June) which runs in conjunction with Singapore International Water Week. Organised by the National Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and the British High Commission Singapore, it will bring together high-level policy-makers, business leaders, and the research and innovation community to present and discuss the importance of green growth, and the opportunities and benefits it presents for business. Read more

Andrew Affleck is one of the speakers covering financing green growth in the two-day event (3/4 June) which runs in conjunction with Singapore International Water Week. Green Growth & Business Forum is organised by the National Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of Trade and Industry, Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and the British High Commission Singapore and will bring together high-level policymakers, business leaders, and the research and innovation community to present and discuss the importance of green growth, and the opportunities and benefits it presents for business. Green Growth & Business Forum

The Green Growth & Business Forum is a joint initiative by the UK Government and Singapore Government agencies. The Forum seeks to promote the economic and business benefits of low carbon growth. The event will bring together high-level policymakers, business leaders, and the research and innovation community to present and discuss the importance of green growth, and the opportunities and benefits it presents for business.


Day 1     The importance of green growth and energy efficiency for business

High-level business panel: the benefits of green growth

Opportunities in energy efficiency, renewable energy & waste-to-energy

Financing schemes & private sector experience

Evening networking reception


Day 2     The role of Government in promoting green growth and importance of collaboration with research and business communities

Towards 2050: enabling policy frameworks and low carbon technologies

Making it happen: developing sustainable energy systems with successful financial solutions (linking the public and private sectors)


Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore


3rd June 2014

0815-0900 Event registration & networking breakfast

0900-0915 Opening keynote: the importance of green growth

Rt Hon Greg Clark, Minister of State for Cabinet Office (Cities & Constitution), UK

0915-1030 Walking the talk – business benefits of green growth

Discussion with leading multinationals embracing the low-carbon agenda: benefits and challenges.

Chair: Constant Van Aerschot, Executive Director, BCSD Singapore


 Peter ter Kulve, EVP, Southeast Asia and Australasia, Unilever

 Ms Esther An, Chief Sustainability Officer, City Developments Limited

 Monica Hira, Partner, Risk Assurance & Sustainability, PwC

 Sadashiv K, Partner, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, Ernst & Young

1030-1100 Networking coffee/tea break with business showcase

1100-1115 Keynote: To be advised

Singapore Minister (TBC)

1115-1230 Green growth and the energy efficiency opportunity

The importance of energy efficiency in reducing energy consumption and carbon emissions whilst generating financial savings and improved growth prospects.

Chair: Ken Hickson, Chairman & CEO, Sustain Ability Showcase Consultancy Asia


 Kavita Gandhi, Executive Director, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore

 James Rawlins, Associate Director, Carbon Trust, UK

 Ken Tun, CEO, Parami Energy Group, Myanmar

 Speaker from Department of Energy & Climate Change, UK (TBC)

1230-1330 Lunch

1330-1445 Green growth and renewable energy solutions

Renewable energy developments, opportunities and challenges in Singapore and Southeast Asia.

Chair : Edwin Khew, Chairman, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore


 Lawrence Wu, Director & Co-founder, Sunseap, Singapore

 Mathias Steck, Regional Manager Asia Pacific, Energy & Renewables Advisory, DNV GL

 Derek Ong, Managing Director, Neste Oil Singapore

 Dr. Nguyen Anh Tuan, Director of International Cooperation Department, Institute of Energy, MOIT, Vietnam (TBC)

 Speaker from Department for Energy & Climate Change, UK (TBC)

1445-1530 Waste management & waste-to-energy: opportunities in the making

Waste as a resource: opportunities for growth and investment.

Chair: Ken Hickson, Chairman & CEO, Sustain Ability Showcase Consultancy Asia GREEN GROWTH & BUSINESS FORUM – DRAFT AGENDA UK & Singapore Government event


 James Rawlins, Associate Director, Carbon Trust, UK

 Dr Mervyn Jones, Head of Collaborative Programmes, WRAP UK

 Steve Peters, Director, Stratcon Singapore

 Rick Reidinger, CEO, ECO Special Waste Management, Singapore

1530-1600 Networking coffee/tea break with business showcase

1600-1700 Financing schemes: private sector experience

Financial solutions for green growth and energy efficiency: examples from the private sector.

Chair: William Choong, Director, Government & Resources, PWC Singapore


 Glen Plumbridge, Managing Director, Sustainable Development Capital (Asia) Limited

 Andrew Affleck, Managing Partner, Armstrong Asset Management

 Jerome Ortiz, Director, Clean Energy, Standard Chartered Bank

 Assaad Razzouk, Group CEO, Sindicatum Sustainable Resources (TBC)

 Mek Meksarikul, Vice President, Kasikorn Bank, Thailand (TBC)

 Asian Development Bank (TBC)

1700-1730 Day 1 summary and close

1800-1830 Buses to Eden Hall

1830-2030 Evening reception at Eden Hall (drinks & canapés, address by UK Minister)

— END OF DAY 1 —


4th June 2014

0900-1000 Opening keynotes: Towards 2050, challenges and opportunities

Challenges and opportunities in meeting increasing energy needs whilst addressing carbon emission reduction targets; working together across borders and disciplines (Government, research & business) has never been more important.

Anthony Phillipson, British High Commissioner to Singapore

Mr Niam Chiang Meng, Permanent Secretary, National Climate Change, Singapore (TBC)

1000-1030 Networking coffee/tea break with business showcase

1030-1200 Reaching the target: enabling policy frameworks for Green Growth

Enabling policy frameworks and technological innovation for Green Growth requires strong Government leadership.

Chair: Arab Hoballah, Chief of Sustainable Consumption and Production, UNEP

Speakers :

 Isabella Loh, Chairman, Singapore Environment Council

 Kevin Austin, Director of Initiatives, Regions and Events, C40

 Dr Piyasvasti Amranand, Chairman, Energy for Environment Foundation, Thailand

 Dr Channa Gunawardena, Senior International Expert , SCP Policy Support Project, Malaysia

1200-1300 Lunch GREEN GROWTH & BUSINESS FORUM – DRAFT AGENDA UK & Singapore Government event

1300-1430 Making it happen: energy efficiency in practice

Success stories linking research, government and business sectors

Chair: Victor Tay, Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Business Federation

Speakers :

 Mr Chee Kiong Goh, Executive Director, Clean Tech, Building & Infrastructure, Economic Development Board, Singapore

 Stephen Kang, VP Sales & Channels, Green Koncepts

 Prof. Markus Kraft, Director, Cambridge Centre for Carbon Reduction in Chemical Technology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (TBC)

1430-1500 Networking coffee/tea break with business showcase

1500-1630 Making it happen: developing sustainable energy systems with successful

financial solutions

Collaboration between research, Government and business to develop renewable energy generation and storage technologies with innovative financing schemes to bridge the public and private sectors.

Chair: Professor Brian Collins, Director, International Centre for Infrastructure Futures, UCL


 Dr Ryutaro Yatsu, Vice-Minister, Ministry of Environment, Japan

 Prof Teddy Puttgen, Senior Director, Energy Research Institute at Nanyang Technological University, Singapore

 Yanis Boudjouher, CEO, Re-Ex Capital Asia

 Hoang Van Tam, Head of Climate Change Division, Industrial Safety Techniques and Environment Agency, Vietnam

1630-1700 Event summary and closing remarks

1700 Event close




What is included?

There is no fee for attending the seminar. Refreshments, lunches and the evening reception are included. You will be responsible for booking your own flights and accommodation.

Places at this seminar are limited so please RSVP as soon as possible by clicking on the links below. A detailed agenda will be sent in due course. For any queries please email

Please visit for the latest agenda and further information on the event.           

Source: www.



NTU aims to be most environmentally-friendly campus in the world

Posted by Ken on May 9, 2014
Posted under Armstrong EnergEyes May 2014

A new initiative will turn the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) campus in Singapore into a test bed for green ideas, and in doing so, reduce NTU’s energy and water consumption by 35 per cent by 2020. NTU said it hopes this move will transform it into one of the most environmentally-friendly campuses in the world. Read More

By Monica Kotwani for Channel News Asia Reports (30 April 2014):

SINGAPORE: A new initiative will turn the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) campus into a test bed for green ideas, and in doing so, reduce NTU’s energy and water consumption by 35 per cent by 2020.

NTU said it hopes this move will transform it into one of the most environmentally-friendly campuses in the world.

The EcoCampus initiative was launched by Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office, S Iswaran, on Wednesday.

Typically, the temperature in a room in one of NTU’s buildings would be turned up when it is empty, to save electricity.

But the seven chillers which remove heat from buildings on the campus continue to circulate a constant amount of cold water.

In doing so, each chiller consumes about half of a building’s total electricity.

A patented technology by Siemens called ‘Demand Flow’ would regulate the water flow, and improve the chiller plant’s efficiency.

It also maximises the amount of cold air generated for air-conditioning, while using the least amount of electricity.

While the technology is in use in temperate climates, Siemens is testing the technology in NTU for use in tropical countries.

Peter Halliday, senior vice president (Middle East and APAC) of Building Technologies at Siemens, said: “In the tropics, we have got cooling all year round. (For) maybe a month in a year… we don’t have cooling.

“So then the demands of that system are different (from) a system installed in New York where half the year it is cooling and half the year it is heating. So we need to optimise the solution for the subtropics.”

He added the system could reduce electricity consumption by between 10 and 20 per cent for NTU.

Mr Halliday said the technology can also be applied to existing systems without replacing chillers, which means additional savings to companies.

The project is one of 12 green ideas — out of 33 submissions — to be rolled out at JTC’s Clean Tech Park, as well as on NTU’s campus. But over the next two years, more such innovative projects could see the light of day in being chosen to be demonstrated.

Nilesh Jadhav, programme director of the EcoCampus at the Nanyang Technological University, said: “What we trying to do is to have demonstration projects in phase one, which will last for about two to three years. After that, we are going to have phase two, which will be a massive implementation of these technologies on the campus within all the buildings in the campus.

“So in the campus, we have more than hundred buildings and we have road ways and different types of buildings. So we are going to implement these technologies in phase two in a very big way in the buildings to achieve 35 per cent savings.”

Mr Iswaran, who is also Second Minister for Trade and Industry, said: “The EcoCampus will create exciting green-collar jobs, raise our international standing and inspire Singaporeans to adopt sustainable practices.

“Many companies are keen to tap on the opportunities in the EcoCampus to refine new technologies and solutions before they scale them up for markets in Asia and the rest of the world.”

The S$20 million initiative is a collaboration between NTU, the Economic Development Board and JTC Corporation.

Companies and organisations will also be involved at the projects level.



Divided We Fail To Deliver

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Divided We Fail To Deliver

I cannot stop myself from delivering a little lecture – more an alert – to none other than the United Nations. How much more could be achieved if our only truly international body – for the good of all people and the planet  - showed more signs of willingness to work with the private sector, with the many worthy not-for-profit organisations and engage with business and the media to more effectively communicate what it’s up to?

I have referred before to the “Sustainable Energy for All Campaign” which, in my view, failed to deliver because it did not effectively engage with relevant businesses, NGOs or media. Is the latest – the Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme – heading in the same direction?  Read More

The SPP Programme, the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP), is reported in this issue, looks like it has not attempted to bring on board existing and relevant organisations. The International Green Purchasing Network (IGPN), for example, which has been going for the best part of ten years – largely under the patronage of the Japanese agencies – and is representative of at least 20 countries/economies around the world.  It has been effective in spreading the word on sustainable purchasing and procurement, so much so that a number of Asian countries, like Japan, have introduced “green” procurement policies into law. Yet, in spite of the fact that UN representatives have been on the IGPN advisory board, there doesn’t seem to be any attempt by UN to draw on the effective Network or work with its officers.

We just learn this week that the IGPN  HQ office in Tokyo  will no longer get support from Japan Fund for Global Environment and will have to source for funding elsewhere. As a more recent member of the Network – based in Singapore – I welcome the opportunity to trumpet the cause of green purchasing, sustainable procurement and supply chains. This newsletter issue, which focuses its attention on these various issues and opportunities, is an example of this. I have attended and spoken at IGPN events in Kuala Lumpur and Taipei, and I was recently asked to speak about “Green Procurement & Leadership” at a well-attended Singapore event, which I also report on in this issue. I am more than happy to wave the IGPN flag, just as I carry its logo on this newsletter, and reach out to all – UN included – to give support to a movement that addresses the very serious issues relating to consumption, green growth, responsible production, purchasing and procurement, and getting supply chains to be more sustainable in every way.  – Ken Hickson

Towards a More Resource Efficient World

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 205

Towards a More Resource Efficient World

A roadmap for sustainable consumption and production in Asia and the Pacific – the first of its kind across the world – was launched in Jakarta late April on the fringes of the ASEAN Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP). It follows hot on the heels of the new global programme, launched in New York on 1 April 2014 to harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world. The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme aims to assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits. Read More


Roadmap for Unprecedented Shift Towards Sustainable

Consumption and Production Launches in Asia and the Pacific

Jakarta/Bangkok, 28 April 2014 – A roadmap to press forward the shift to sustainable consumption and production in Asia and the Pacific – the first of its kind across the world – was launched in Jakarta today on the fringes of the ASEAN Forum on Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP).

The Asia Pacific region is the first in the world to develop such a roadmap, complete with indicators and comprehensive outputs to mainstream SCP in different sectors such tourism, buildings and construction, public procurement, product sustainability information, lifestyles and education for sustainable consumption.

The 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production, or “10 YFP”, as it is known, is a global framework of action to enhance international cooperation to accelerate the shift towards SCP in both developed and developing countries.

“The 10YFP Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific will provide a clear blueprint for the region in shifting towards more resource efficient and sustainable production and consumption patterns for the coming years,” said Yong-Joo Kim, President of the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute and member of the 10YFP Board.

“The Republic of Korea wishes to support putting in place the roadmap and making an economic case for SCP. As a co-lead of the 10YFP Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme, we also hope to create synergies between the global SPP programme and Asian regional activities under the Roadmap,” he added.

10YFP was established after Heads of State at the 2012 Rio+20 meeting agreed that SCP is a cornerstone of sustainable development and an important contributor to poverty alleviation and the transition to low-carbon and green economies.

UNEP host the Secretariat of the 10 FYP.

The 10YFP Roadmap for Asia and the Pacific was developed through consultations that began November last year and concluded last week. More than 100 Government officials, civil society, academia and businesses along with experts from 25 countries in the region have contributed to the Roadmap. The development of the Roadmap has been technically and financially supported by the European Union via the Regional Policy Support Component of the SWITCH-Asia Programme.

“Indonesia welcomes and celebrates the launching of the roadmap today. This roadmap will embrace and unite the region as a big family in its journey towards Sustainable Development, with support from the UN system and international partners,” said Henry Bastaman, Deputy Minister for Development of Technical Infrastructure and Capacity Building of the Indonesian Ministry of the Environment, and Co-Chair of the UN 10YFP Board.

“At the national level, Indonesia is implementing its 10-Year National Framework Programme on SCP Implementation, launched on 5 June 2013. At the international level, Indonesia is committed to serve co-leadership with Mexico in the UN 10YFP Board, coleadership with Korea in the Asia and the Pacific Region, and leadership in the ASEAN Forum on SCP,” he said.

“At the Rio Summit in 2013 Heads of State recognized that urgent action on unsustainable patterns of production and consumption is fundamental in addressing environmental sustainability and promoting sustained, inclusive and equitable global growth.,” said Kaveh  Zahedi, Director of the UNEP Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “The Asia Pacific region has turned this vision into a clear action agenda to decouple growth from resource use and environmental degradation and benefit the economies, people and countries across this region.”


New York, 1 April 2014 – A new global programme, launched Tuesday, will harness the power of the trillions of dollars that governments spend on public procurement each year towards a shift to a more resource-efficient world.

The Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP) Programme – the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP) – will assist governments to redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits.

“The Organization of Economic Co-operation and Development nations spent an average 13 per cent of Gross Domestic Product on public procurement in 2011, while in some developing nations this can hit 20 per cent. This adds up to trillions of dollars globally, demonstrating the scale of the opportunity ahead,” said Achim Steiner, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and UNEP Executive Director. “Governments can use this potential to lead markets onto a sustainable path by demanding goods and services that conserve natural resources, create decent green jobs, and improve livelihoods around the globe.”

The SPP Programme – co-led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability, and the Korea Environmental Industry and Technology Institute (KEITI) – will enable this shift by improving knowledge of sustainable procurement’s benefits and supporting implementation through access to experts and tools.

Existing initiatives from around the globe prove that sustainable procurement transforms markets, boosts eco-industries, saves money, conserves natural resources and fosters job creation. For example:

Indian Railways replaced more than one million incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient fluorescent lamps in 400,000 employees’ homes, saving more than 100,000MWh of energy and reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 90,000 tonnes each year.

In Brazil, the Foundation for Education Development saved 8,800 cubic metres of water and 1,750 tonnes of waste by using notebooks made from recycled paper in Sao Paulo schools.

In France, a contract for the purchase of toner cartridges was awarded to an organization that, between 2009 and 2011, recovered 11,500 kilogrammes of waste, saved the government 30 per cent in costs and created nine full-time jobs for disabled people.

Many other nations, including the Republic of Korea, have created sustainable public procurement policies that will bring further such benefits in the near future.

In the United States – where the federal government procures more than US$500 billion a year in goods and services – the Federal Government has incorporated sustainability requirements into purchasing regulations. Additionally, an Executive Order stipulates that 95 per cent of all new contracts use products and services that are energy- and water-efficient, environmentally preferable, non-ozone depleting, and contain recycled content.

Chile’s public procurement and contracting bureau set a target of 15 per cent of procurement orders meeting sustainability targets by 2012. This goal was fulfilled a year ahead of schedule: 17.2 per cent of orders included sustainability criteria by the end of 2011. The bureau oversees US$8 billion in transactions, accounting for more than 3.2 per cent of GDP.

In Japan – where a 2010 study found that government bodies spent US$672 billion (17.6 per cent of GDP)- green purchasing laws now require ministries, provisional governments and an increasing number of cities to make 95 per cent of their purchases from designated “green product” categories.

The programme, by working to ensure such purchasing decisions are the norm rather than the exception, aims to play a vital role in transitioning the globe to an inclusive Green Economy.

The launch comes just a few months ahead of the first United Nations Environment Assembly, when the world’s environment ministers will meet to discuss the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, with a special focus on sustainable consumption and production.

“A rapid transformation, which will support the post-2015 Sustainable Development Agenda, is eminently possible,” said Mr. Steiner. “Governments from across the globe signed up to the UNEP-led Sustainable Public Procurement Initiative at Rio+20, and are backing this commitment with action. This demonstrates that the political will is already in place.”

The programme is also supported by the European Commission, the Swiss Federal Office for the Environment, the China Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Republic of Korea, ISEAL Alliance, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Swedish Ministry of the Environment, and the United States Environmental Protection Agency.


Asia & Europe Leadership by Interface

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Asia & Europe Leadership by Interface

Interface becomes the first global manufacturer to offer customers carpet tile recycling in Asia. The  fully localised ReEntry programme is yet another key milestone in Interface’s journey towards its Mission Zero  goal – a commitment to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by the year 2020. And in Europe, Interface manufacturing has achieved a 90% impact cut, with greenhouse gas emissions around 10% of what they were when Ray Anderson, Interface’s founder, issued this challenge in 1996. Read More

Radical Industrialists

Interface: How our engineers slash massive waste, emissions

By Peter Vogel in GreenBiz (17 March , 2014)

What happens when a team of European engineers take Ray Anderson’s vision of “radical industrialism” to heart? Interface’s factory in Scherpenzeel, The Netherlands.

GreenBiz readers are probably familiar with our sustainability plan at Interface, Mission Zero. Scherpenzeel, our main European manufacturing site, just reached 90 percent of the goals laid out in this plan. GHG emissions are now around 10 percent of what they were when Ray Anderson, Interface’s founder, issued this challenge.

Scherpenzeel is a full-scale carpet tile factory producing around a third of the company’s global output. Although it is a constant test-bed for new ideas, it definitely is not a small-scale pilot plant. Everything done there is proven at full scale and ready to be shipped to numerous clients and projects. Since 1996, the company has cut absolute GHG emissions by 90 percent and water use by 95 percent, while waste sent to the landfill has been eliminated altogether.

Most of this progress is owed to engineers. Where existing technology hasn’t provided the environmental performance needed, they’ve looked elsewhere for answers.

New technology drives progress

For example, the conventional carpet tile cutter produced an unacceptable amount of trimming waste, and nothing available in the industry significantly could reduce this. So engineers had to go outside of the carpet industry. The outcome was a bespoke ultrasonic cutting machine, using NASA technology from the aerospace industry. Waste from trimming was reduced by 80 percent.

As another example, the backs of carpet rolls need to be coated with a water-based plastic solution in order to hold the yarn. The conventional dryer for the process is energy intensive, running on natural gas. Engineers knew they had to find a better way than the 20 percent more efficient technology originally proposed by the suppliers. So a solution devised with a drier manufacturer used the moisture in the pre-coat to improve heat transfer and energy efficiency. The result was an energy savings of 40 percent from day one. There is even more potential, being explored now, which should lead to gas savings of more than 50 percent.

Usually, if you ask suppliers to improve their product, they will propose efficiency gains in the 10 to 20 percent range. By sending Interface engineers to work directly with supplier’s engineers, we’ve been able to jointly identify new approaches to the process, typically leading to 50 to 80 percent gains.

Working toward a new industrial model

The advantage of reducing energy use so much is that it makes it feasible to pay more for energy. This means all the energy at Scherpenzeel is sourced from renewables, including gas for the dryer made by anaerobic digestion of fish, chocolate and bread waste. This costs more per unit of energy, but there’s still a big overall savings compared with the conventional dryer.

The trade-off between a major energy saving achievement and approval to pay more for a sustainable energy source is a vital part of Mission Zero. If accountants “banked” the energy cost savings and declined the expensive new energy, it wouldn’t be possible to achieve zero environmental footprint. This approach to financing sustainability is discussed in our report “The New Industrial Model,” written in collaboration with Lavery/Pennell.

Sometimes, engineers cannot identify alternative technology and have to seek efficiency gains from what’s available. Here, obsessive attention to detail pays off. A heat scanner is used to show where to insulate heating equipment, which is wrapped up like a baby in winter. In the compressed air room, twice a year a microphone is used to listen for the “hiss” of air leaks — literally the sound of sustainability escaping, because air leaks are wasted energy.

Many of these energy saving projects pay back relatively quickly, and we believe that this approach is transferable to many industries. Carpet tiles are a relatively simple product, and a 90 percent impact cut has been achieved. Imagine the possibilities if this same culture shift were applied to other industrial processes.

Lessons for other companies

1. Big challenges empower employees.

2. Create a sense of urgency: Why wait if we can do it now?

3. Celebrate engineers and encourage them to get out of the factory and talk to other engineers. Listen to them tell their story below.

4. Create an engineering culture that believes “there has to be a better way,” using both big technology shifts and an obsession with small improvements.

5. Make a deal with finance: Some of the process savings must be reinvested in sustainable innovations that are in themselves not economic, such as a long return on investment items or more expensive raw materials.

6. Re-allocate most of the PR budget to achieving real progress; then the story sells itself (save just enough PR budget to give the engineers the credit they deserve). 

Peter Vogel is the European director of technology at Interface, where he is responsible for engineering, maintenance and process, and material research for Europe. He has a chemical techology background and experience in product development and process design, and has spent the last 15 years at Interface.



Getting closer to reaching its Mission Zero® goal, and extending its service offering in Asia, Interface enable carpet recycling through ReEntry™.

 (SINGAPORE, April 28, 2014)— Interface, a worldwide leader in the design and manufacture of carpet tiles, becomes the first global manufacturer to offer customers carpet tile recycling in Asia. Strategic partnerships ensure that carpet tiles suitable for recycling are diverted from landfill, allowing customers to recycle within the region. The announcement of a fully localised ReEntry™ program is yet another key milestone in Interface’s journey towards its Mission Zero® goal – a commitment to eliminate any negative impact it may have on the environment by the year 2020. 

In 2007 Interface, Inc., in Atlanta USA, became the first carpet tile manufacturer to implement a process for the “clean separation” of carpet fibre from backing, allowing for a maximum amount of post-consumer material to be recycled into new products with minimal contamination. In efforts aimed at reducing overall environmental impact, Interface continuously source recycled content for its products regionally, and has been looking for alternatives to recycling regionally as well.

In 2013, just two years after opening its manufacturing base in China, Interface created an exciting industry first by announcing the launch of ReEntry in China, enabling Interface to become the first global carpet tile manufacturer in Asia to offer its customers recycling in Asia. The company is currently well down the road to develop a similar recycling facility for its manufacturing plant in Chonburi, Thailand, following extensive work with local partners there.

At the recycling plant in China, used carpet is received and those tiles that are not made by Interface are tested for recycling suitability. In the recycling process the yarn is separated from the vinyl backing and cleaned yarn is then sent to the yarn manufacturer for recycling into new yarn. Yarn with high levels of impurity, also known as “fluffy” yarn, is sent to the engineering and plastic materials industry for downcycling into new material. The recycling process also includes turning the old backing into new backing. By processing the backing into crumbs and then combining it with Interface’s fibreglass sheets in the calendaring process, old backing is turned into new GlasBac™RE backing.

Interface Chairman and CEO Dan Hendrix states, “China is obviously a key growth market for Interface and as the global leader in modular carpet, we are committed to blending innovation and the best ideas from China and around the world. The launch of ReEntry in China is a true landmark for Interface because it is a further step towards the realization of our global aim to attain Mission Zero, and it also reinforces our belief that ground-breaking solutions can be achieved through truly ‘glocal’ partnerships.” 

Interface is a longstanding environmental pioneer, and is also working closely with fibre suppliers to continually reduce the virgin content in the nylons purchased. This has resulted in new and innovative technologies that significantly increase the recycled content of Interface products; currently reaching a total recycled content of up to 85%, including 100% recycled content Type 6 Nylon.

Since 1995, Interface has globally reclaimed more than 118 million kilograms of carpet through ReEntry, and by efficiently recovering type 6 and 6,6 nylon fibre Interface takes a giant step forward in carpet recycling and in the company’s ultimate mission to get off oil. Reflecting Interface’s Mission Zero goal, ReEntry will keep more carpet out of landfills while providing a steady stream of post-consumer recycled materials across the industry.


Oceans to treasure and not to trash!

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Oceans to treasure and not to trash!

That’s the theme of two big events coming up. One in Japan and one in America. On June 24, the Plasticity Forum will be coming to New York City to share the wealth of knowledge from the leading edge of those who are facilitating a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. Ocean Recovery’s Doug Woodring provides us with a preview.  Meanwhile in the city of Munakata, on the island of Kyushu, the Eco-100 International forum on 30 May to 2 June explores “Oceans of the Future”, co-hosted by UBrainTV. Read More

The city of MUNAKATA in Kyushu, Japan, hub of international exchange since ancient times, will play host to the first annual MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum in the spring of 2014, focusing on themes of environmental conservation and the education of the next generation.

Throughout history, humans have by turns given thanks for the gifts of nature and lived in awe of its power.

The Japanese are no exception, and have revered nature since time immemorial. This forum will discuss what kind of shift in values is required if we are to solve the environmental problems caused by the damage done to nature in recent times.

The forum will bring together environmental leaders from around the world including academics from the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities, representatives of international organisations, businesses, financial institutions and national and local governments, activists, and cultural figures. Participants will discuss possible solutions to some of the problems facing the global environment, coming up with practical suggestions that can be shared globally.

At the same time, university students, including international students, will be invited to Munakata with the aim of increasing their environmental knowledge and awareness, and nurturing the global citizens of tomorrow.

The First MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum

Theme: “Oceans of the Future”

May 30th ~ June 2nd, 2014 (4 days)


1. Giving the ocean back its power to nurture life

Clean up the oceans, protect the earth

2. Reverence for nature

How ancient spiritual and moral worldviews can help solve contemporary environmental problems

3. Oceans of cultural exchange

Aiming to promote international exchange and nurture a new generation of global citizens

4. Oceans of new ideas

Aiming for new developments through international, cross-sector interaction


The prioritisation of economic growth in recent times has led to marked environmental degradation. Not least is the damage humans have done to the planet’s life-supporting oceans by polluting them with waste, chemicals etc.

The 2014 MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum will focus on the theme of “Oceans of the Future”, seeking to come up with ways of cleaning up the oceans.

1. Marine pollution survey

Survey and report on pollution levels in the sea around Munakata with the support of international research institutes, Fukuoka Prefecture and Munakata City.

2. Proposing concrete strategies to clean up the ocean

Eminent academics, activists and corporate representatives from inside and outside Japan will discuss ways of cleaning up the sea around Munakata, with the aim of replicating these methods across polluted oceans world-wide.

3. Spreading the word

Discuss what is needed in order to clean up the oceans and protect the environment, and share the process globally.

4. Nurturing the next generation

Nurture a new generation of leaders capable of participating in environmental activities on an international level.

Organiser: MUNAKATA Eco-100 International Forum Executive Committee

Co-hosts: Munakata City, Munakata City Board of Education, UBrainTV JAPAN Co., Ltd.

Source: and




Published on 25 April 2014

Plasticity NYC 2014

On June 24th, the Plasticity Forum will be coming to NYC to share the wealth of knowledge from the leading edge of those who are facilitating a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. What does this mean? It means all of the benefits of light-weighting, durability, flexibility, and color, without the hangover. The hangover comes in the form of plastic pollution, which no one enjoys, and where some get seriously penalized from having it, but which has not seemed to yet inspire the world audience to create ground breaking innovations that can harness the resource value that this material has, in a long term, circulatory fashion. And fashion is just where some of this material is going for its second or third life, instead of the circulatory currents that many now know exist in our major oceans, dispersing the artifacts of our waste creation to the places we flock to for “escape” and revival.

First launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit, and subsequently held in Hong Kong, the Plasticity Forum is a cross section of thinkers, solution providers, brands, users and those who appreciate scale, to expedite the solutions and innovations that exist today to keep plastic from becoming a problem for our society. This problem, however, can be a huge opportunity, if that “scale” can come into play. Plasticity brings together the leaders in innovation, design, packaging, materials, recycling, and solutions, all of which are needed in a resource constrained world. Those who are at the front of this discussion, will win, with consumers, clients, and host governments. The latter is important, because waste is a sidelined discussion with often does not get much attention, but which increasingly burdens our societies, economies, and ecosystem. Tapping into this resource offers a world of opportunities.

The World Bank estimates that due to population growth, the world’s municipal solid waste (MSW) footprint could double by 2025. By 2050, it could triple to 6bn tons/year. However, there are few cities and countries which will be able to handle a doubling of MSW by 2025. To put this into perspective, today’s global waste footprint of MSW would cover the same land mass of California or Japan, at 10 meters (32 ft) deep. Wow. If it triples, that would be the same as covering all of New Zealand, California and Spain in 32 ft deep of trash per year. Almost all of this has value, but it is simply not being tapped.

Plastic is light weight, and lasts a long time, but its content and configuration are often not standardized across products or industries, creating gap in scale-optimization in term of encouraging re-circulation within products. Those who can resolve these issues within their production and recovery operations, with their consumers, and with their recipient nations, will open long-term business opportunities that fit within the needs of a globally alert, resource constrained environment of commerce and societal gain. The Plasticity Forum helps drive and inspire this discussion, to scale, where it is needed.



Innovations and Scalable Solutions for Plastic – Creating a World Without the Plastic Footprint


On the 24th of June, 2014, the 3rd annual Plasticity Forum will be hosted in New York City.  Following on from the success of the previous forums in Rio 2012 and Hong Kong 2013, this year’s forum will concentrate on “Innovation and Collaboration in a Material World”.  A showcase of ideas in motion, Plasticity will include the latest developments in waste as a resource,  scalable innovations in plastic that save money, use of new materials, designing for sustainability and solutions for a world where plastic is used, but without the footprint. 


Each year, Plasticity gathers together leading experts in the field include innovators, entrepreneurs, industry leaders, brand managers, educators, think tanks, government agencies, designers, angel investors and service industries to share their learnings, experience and future strategies. This year’s forum is proud to announce that Mr. Ron Gonen, Deputy Commissioner of Sanitation, Recycling & Sustainability for New York City & Founder of Recyclebank, will be one of the keynote speakers talking about the challenges and opportunities for cities and engaged recycling programs. Other speakers include:


             Mike Biddle, Founder and Director – MBA Polymers, Winner of the Gothenburg Sustainability Prize in 2012 – “How to Scale, Sort and Drive Value”

             Steve Davies, Director, Marketing/Public Affairs, Nature Works “Plastics – Rethinking Where They’re From, What They Do, and Where They Go”

             Robert McKay, Senior Business Manager, Global Sustainability – SABIC Innovative Plastics “Design and Sustainability for Scale in a Changing World”

             Steve Russell, Vice President, Plastics Division, American Chemistry Council “Too Valuable to Waste: Rethinking Used Plastics”

             Richard Mattison, CEO, Trucost, “Valuing Plastic – The Business Case for Measuring, Managing and Reporting”

             Elizabeth Balkan, Manager Solid Waste Policy and Sustainable Procurement, City of New York, “How Cities are Changing, and Where Companies can Play a Role”

             Steven Clambaneva, Director and Design Business Consultant, Design Studio, “Design and Sustainability for Scale in a Changing World”

             Sam Harrington, Product Design Manager, Ecovative Design, “A Kingdom of Possibilities – and a Growth Market you Won’t Believe”

             Gary Bencheghib, Film Student and Ocean Ambassador, “Leadership from our Youth”

 According to Doug Woodring, Founder of Plasticity, “Plastic doesn’t need to be a problem. There are solutions out there that can keep it from becoming waste, but we are not focusing on them in a scalable manner. The aim of Plasticity is to show who’s already doing it, how you can do it, and how you can make it commercial.”

The Plasticity Forum was originally launched at the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, as a platform to elevate the issues and discussion at large multi-lateral environmental events about plastic pollution.  The event was since hosted in Hong Kong, and will be held this year in New York City.  This one day business event is about the future of plastic and where the leaders are going with innovation, design, materials, recycling, and solutions, so that plastic does not become a waste product an impact our communities and environment.  Some estimates, including from the World Bank, estimate that the world’s municipal solid waste generation could double by 2025.  Few countries or cities are capable of handling this waste stream, of which plastic makes up an increasing percentage, due to the fact that recycling infrastructure in most countries cannot keep pace with the wide variety of materials and products.  

The Plasticity Forum is a cross section of thinkers, solution providers, brands, users and those who appreciate scale, to expedite the solutions and innovations that exist today to keep plastic from becoming a problem for our society. This problem, however, can be also be a large opportunity, if “scale” can come into play.  In a resource constrained world, those who are at the front of this discussion will win, with consumers, clients, and host governments.  Plasticity offers a global discussion and perspective on solutions, how to standardize across products or industries, and how to bring about new opportunities in production and recovery operations.


Your Choice: Green Wash or Green Wise

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Your Choice: Green Wash or Green Wise

On the important topic of “Green Procurement and Leadership”, Ken Hickson says there are signs that things are happening around the world “and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work, change mind sets and behaviours”. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to green wise. Read More

Article based on a presentation by Ken Hickson on “Green Procurement and Leadership” at the  “Purpose Matters” forum organised by  Hall & Partners in Singapore on 26 March 2014.

Green Procurement & Leadership

By Ken Hickson

There are signs that things are happening around the world and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work, change mind sets and behaviours. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to green wise.

The subject of the forum was “Purpose Matters” and when Arnaud Frade of Hall and Partners asked me to take part, I willingly took up the mantle on the subject he pointed to: “Green Procurement and Leadership”. Mainly because I had given two talks recently around the same topic and it was close to my green and blue heart.

To procure, according to my reliable Oxford dictionary, is to “obtain by care or effort, acquire or bring about”.

But how much care and attention goes into procurement and purchasing decisions whether by companies, large and small, by Government purchasing officers or by the consumer?

Price is important and whether a product, machine or piece of equipment does the job it is made for.  But how much more important is it for us to know how it is made, what does into its manufacturer, where it comes from and who produced it.

Rather ambitiously I offered to come up with best practices and case studies from Europe, America and Asia Pacific. I also agreed to cover:

             Perceptions of Green Purchasing

             Status of Public Procurement

             Examples of Education and Engagement

             From Green Washing to Green Wise

             Case studies of Industry Leadership

             Opportunities for Green Purchasing Network

For me, no matter what colour you give it, Green Purchasing means six very important things:

             It must incorporate Ethical Production, both in terms of what is produced, where and how,  like the classic Nike case years ago – denied at first but later admitted to and now changed – of using sweatshop labour practices in factories ; 

             It involves Responsible Management, with corporate social responsibility and transparency uppermost. We can think of “sustainable” palm oil and paper products in this regard;

             Sustainable Supply Chains mean just that, and some companies, like Walmart, have gone to a lot of trouble to get every aspect of the supply chain and delivery systems in order;

             How can we create and maintain Consumer Demand for products and services which are “green”, responsibly produced and shipped?  How to produce a discerning consumer?

             Government can have Procurement Policies in place which stress the importance of these factors and produce guidelines for industry and the retail sector.

  • Standards and certification are vital and we are seeing it more and more. Look at the energy mark and safety certifications on electrical appliances.

So we are seeing a movement towards Green Procurement around the world:

•A Government Policy for Green Procurement is a Vital Starting Point

•Some internal policies evolving in Ministries & Agencies in Singapore

•Local & regional encouragement from NGOs, Green groups & industry bodies

•Possible support from European chambers & Japanese companies

The United Nations has just announced a global programme and campaign on Sustainable Public Procurement (SPP), following on from its Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) efforts.

It has set up an information hub or clearing house which refers to “the use of services and related products, which respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life while minimizing the use of natural resources and toxic materials as well as the emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle of the service or product so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations”.

Japan has provided some distinct leadership in this area with its Public Procurement Policy, which is in reality a Basic Philosophy for Procurement of Eco-Friendly Goods. It includes:

             Environmental attributes in addition to price and quality considerations

             Consideration from environmentally diverse viewpoints:

– Products that contribute to the formation of a socio-economic system through an environmentally sound material cycle

– Products that contribute to reducing greenhouse gases

             Consider reducing environmental impacts throughout the product’s lifecycle, from manufacture to disposal.

             Commit to long-term use, correct utilization, and appropriate disposal of procured goods and services

Japan has made this into Law and requires manufacturers to meet these strict standards and provide information on their products.

It regularises various eco-labelling organisations and maintains international standards.

And Government Ministries and agencies have to incorporate these standards into their purchasing decisions as well as police the regulations.

Of course it goes beyond regulation and enforcement to the very necessary education and engagement required to get everyone on board and to understand why we need to go in this direction.

We could learn from Canada where they have set up the Sustainable Procurement Institute (see to serve the needs of all who buy goods and services and who need to learn how to do this in an environmentally and socially responsible manner and for the lowest life cycle cost. It clearly states:

“Sustainability will be the defining issue in the 21st century in the world of business as organisations recognise competitive and efficiency advantages”.

Its outreach is for purchasing professionals, project managers, property managers, maintenance managers and those entering the purchasing profession.

In addition it can help professional buyers and those who purchase goods in the public, private and non-profit sectors to find sustainability tools and techniques.

It sets out to deliver the highest quality training relating to green procurement, ethical procurement and sustainable procurement, including lowest life cycle cost.

The Institute specialises in sustainability and its connection with procurement. Continuous improvement as new fields in sustainability unfold and new ideas in sustainable procurement emerge internationally.

Working hard behind the scene and spreading the word effectively, in Asia particularly, has been the International Green Purchasing Network. It has been quietly working away for the past ten years and involves at least 20 countries and economies, with worthwhile input from some European countries, the US as well as some representatives from the UN. It’s mission:

•Globally promote the spread of environmentally friendly product and service development and Green Purchasing activities

•Internationally share information and know-how on Green Purchasing and environmentally friendly products and services

•Harmonise the efforts of Green Purchasing and the development of environmentally friendly products and services from a global viewpoint

Europe has set some very high standards for environmentally friendly and ethically produced products and services. It has standardised a European wide labelling systems – see – and covers a vast range of labelled products and services. It is approved and maintained by the European Commission.

From the US we see a very well run programme from the National Kitchen and Bath Association, an industry body which cares about its members and the consumer. It says:

             Consumers want to purchase products that are safe and reliable and good for the environment

             Do business with companies that are committed to protecting the global environment.

             Mission to enhance member success and excellence, promote professionalism and ethical business practices, and provide leadership and direction for the kitchen and bath industry worldwide.

             Become a primary force in the field of sustainability, or green design. We’re expanding our educational programs in this area.

             Committed to helping consumers and professionals understand their options for creating more energy-efficient living spaces, we’ll increase our focus on environmentally friendly products and practices.

For more go to the National Kitchen & Bath Association

Green Wise Not Green Washed

In all this it is important not to be fooled by those who try to cash in on this move to green and try to promote goods and services which are a pale imitation of what they should be.

A definition of green wash: Disinformation disseminated by an organisation so as to present an environmentally responsible public image… but perceived to be unfounded or intentionally misleading.

From the UK I came up with 10 signs of greenwash which included:

1.            Fluffy language

2.            Green product versus dirty company

3.            Suggestive pictures

4.            Irrelevant claims

5.            Best in class

6.            Just not credible

7.            Jargon

8.            Imaginary friends

9.            No proof

10.          Outright lying.

Check out the work of BSR – About BSR (Business for Social Responsibility), whose mission is to work with business to create a just and sustainable world. We envision a world in which everyone can lead a prosperous and dignified life within the boundaries of the Earth’s natural resources. See

Also look at the work of Futerra. Its mission is to make sustainable development so desirable it becomes normal. Futerra was founded over a decade ago as a crazy new idea. Today we are the industry leading sustainability communications agency (with the odd crazy idea still).Read about our decade of work and dip into our thought leadership.

Is anyone out there listening? Is anyone doing something about green purchasing, procurement and supply chains? Does it really matter to brands and business?

For some it definitely matters. Marks and Spencers is a very good example:

Plan A is about doing the right thing:

•We launched Plan A in January 2007, setting out 100 commitments to achieve in 5 years.

•We’ve now extended Plan A to 180 commitments to achieve by 2015, with the ultimate goal of becoming the world’s most sustainable major retailer.

•Through Plan A we are working with our customers and our suppliers to combat climate change, reduce waste, use sustainable raw materials, trade ethically, and help our customers to lead healthier lifestyles.

•Explore our Plan A commitments for 2010 – 2015, and watch our Plan A film for 2012 here.

We looked at other case studies of industry leadership from around the world.

From Australia, the work of Ecospecifier Global :

•Home of the Planet’s Leading Certified and Verified Sustainable Products.

• has over 6,700 sustainable products, materials and technologies, making it one of the world’s most expansive sustainable knowledge bases.

•As a Leading Global Source of life-cycle assessed product information, links independent information with a powerful search interface.

• promotes all sustainable products from around the world, specialising in categorisation of products into Building, Hospitality, Health & Beauty, Personal Care and Cleaning Products.

•The database also provides extra categorisation according to the World’s Best Building Rating Schemes such as Green Star and LEED. helps reduce the time and costs of researching the World’s Best Sustainable Products.

We looked at Certified Forests and the work of PEFC, FSC, Double Helix and the printing industry to make people aware of the importance of only buying pulp, paper and timber products from reliable, responsible, environmental and ethical sources.

One of the best examples in the world is still Interface, the world’s leading carpet tile producer:

1.Eliminate Waste

Our goal is to reduce, and where possible, eliminate waste. We define waste as anything that does not add value for our customers.

2. Benign Emissions

We aim to eliminate all emissions that may have a negative impact on natural systems.

3. Renewable Energy

We harness renewable energy sources such as solar, wind and landfill gas in order to reduce our dependency on fossils fuels.

4. Closing the Loop

We redesign processes and products so they can be recovered to make new products. Customers can return their used carpets at their “end of life” to create new carpets.

5. Resource-Efficient Transportation

Through proper planning, our goal is to transport goods and people efficiently and to keep waste and emissions at a minimum.

6. Build Sustainable Communities

We help to create communities that understand the importance of sustainability.

7. Redesign Commerce

With a sustainability-based business model, we aim to influence the entire business world into building a better environment for everyone.

Walmart has set itself apart from others by “Working together for a safe, responsible supply chain”.

The foundation of Walmart’s business has always centered on helping people live better. Applies not only to our customers and associates, but also to the workers who make our products.

WalMart’s Sustainability Index projected to include 300 product categories, engage up to 5,000 suppliers by end of year 2013.

Closer to home, I set out a 12 point plan for what I feel needs to happen in Singapore and elsewhere to make real progress:

1.            Define green purchasing

2.            Promote approved standards, marks, certification

3.            Follow Europe’s example – agree on one unified standard

4.            Follow Green Building Councils– maintain & share standards

5.            Communicate effectively – make your voice heard

6.            Upgrade international website & newsletter

7.            Replace green wash with green wise

8.            Encourage adoption of green procurement policies

9.            Work with manufacturers, distributors, supply chain and retailers

10.          Praise and promote responsible and sustainable producers

11.          Collaborate with NGOs, Government, industries & business

12.          Educate for green consumerism

There are signs that things are happening around the world and we can, through effective communication, advocacy and sheer hard work change mindsets and behaviours. The branding industry can help by seeing that this is the responsible and ethical way to go. To lead clients beyond green wash to greenwise.

I see the importance of partnerships and  performance. Private and public sector co-operation. The involvement and NGOs and community groups. Leadership by manufacturers, suppliers and retailers. A new era of green consumerism.

Ken Hickson is Chairman of the Green Purchasing Network in Singapore, as well as Chairman and CEO of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia – SASA – and Regional Director Asia for Be Sustainable. He is also a Governor of WWF Australia and author of the 2013 book “Race for Sustainability”.



Procure Astutely & Make Everyday Products Sustainable

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Procure Astutely & Make Everyday Products Sustainable

Positive Impact, operating in Australia and Singapore, teams up with the Asia’s leading sustainable manufacturer with over 15 years research and development experience to bring scalable eco-solutions, going beyond supplying he eco-products to inspire industry to nurture talent, procure astutely and develop best practices for a sustainable and healthy business. Meanwhile, The Guardian bring us convertible designs, which can make products more durable, reducing consumption and waste. Here are 12 of the most intriguing, interlocking consumer products on the market or coming soon. Read More

What or Who is Positive Impact

Positive Impact launched in Australia in 2008 and the Singapore subsidiary followed in January 2013.  The company has evolved from an eco merchandise company into a full service corporation solutions organisation helping businesses design and implement their projects relating to all areas of Corporate Social Responsibility.

In December 2013 Positive Impact teamed up with the Asia’s leading sustainable manufacturer with over 15 years research and development experience to bring scalable eco-solutions.  The products service a range of industry sectors including hotels, hospitals, schools, conferences, events and the products are made from materials such as bamboo, rice husks, wheat straw, PLA (corn), organic cotton, biodegradable plastic, E-Leather and basgasse.

Positive Impact is an enabler, a facilitator and a connector.  Our mission is to create social and environmental change by cultivating business partnerships. We want to inspire industry to nurture talent, procure astutely and develop best practices for a sustainable and healthy business.

Employing and implementing a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) program is a big job.  We are here to help you through the process, one step at a time.

Miki Massey is the Founder of Positive Impact.   After 10+ years working in sales and marketing Miki transferred her skills across to follow her passion of developing environmental and social impact partnerships.  Initially she worked for Australian environmental firm Neco and then launched her own business in 2008.  

Our Services

Sustainable Sourcing

We are committed to supplying our customers with quality, affordable, innovative and sustainable products.

Our objectives are to:

             Deliver a comprehensive range of sustainable products enabling our customers to minimise their requirements for raw materials and toxic plastics

             Single supply chain with simple re-ordering processes with quality control procedures

             Engage with our suppliers to ensure they operate within our code of conduct and strive to continually make improvements

             Encourage a our customers to green their supply chain

             Help our customers design communication strategies detailing objectives, efforts and achievements

In addition, Miki has expanded her offering now to also make sure Positive Impact can support organisations large and small with:

             People Development – We design tailored training, development, health and wellbeing programs

             Community Engagement – We connect businesses to charity, social enterprise & environmental programs

             Environment – We are passionate about protecting our environment and aim to encourage businesses to take holistic approach to enhancing corporate cultures



Modularity gone wild: making everyday products sustainable

Convertible designs can make products more durable, reducing consumption and waste. Here are 12 of the most intriguing, interlocking consumer products on the market or coming soon

Sarah LaBrecque in The Guardian (3 April 2014)

Modular playhouse from Play Modern.

Modular playhouse from Play Modern: Looking for a customizable and safe playhouse for your child? This US-based company’s outdoor structures are all made with FSC certified materials, and have non-toxic finishes, including one that is made from whey, a byproduct of cheese-making. They are also certified by the California Air Resources Board which means they meet stringent formaldehyde emissions standards for composite wood products.

To add to their sustainability credentials, the structures have no added urea-formaldehyde (common in most engineered wood products) and the railings are made from part-recycled aluminum and can be 100% recycled. They fit together in a one or two story configuration, with the option of a slide or personalized lettering.

Fantasia lamp

Fantasia lamp by Manifattura Italiana Design: This lamp can be propped up by anything you happen to have lying around which fits in the base, be it spaghetti, flowers, broom handles or carrots. The 3D printed base is made from bio-plastic, which is derived from renewable biomass sources, such as vegetable fats, corn starch, or microbiota. Although the bulb shown here is a low-watt incandescent light, it can be fitted with a more energy efficient bulb such as halogen or LED, up to 150W. The lamps will soon be available for order.

Interface carpet tile

Harmonize and Ground Waves carpet tiles by Interface: The global carpet tile company is known for its commitment to principles of sustainability, and strives for zero negative environmental impact by 2020. Tiles can be mixed and matched and have a simple, glue-free installation. They come in hundreds of colors and have 100% recycled content fiber that combines reclaimed carpet fiber with salvaged fishing nets. Carbon offsetting is also available for all lines, so you can go tile-neutral.

10-unit furniture system

Shigeru Ban 10-unit modular furniture system: Goodbye flatpack frustration. These L-shaped units can be combined to make different kinds of seating, from individual chairs to multi-seat configurations. You can make a stool, chair or table base with one pack of 10 pieces, or a bench, sofa or coffee table with two. The system is made from UPM ProFi, a durable, non-toxic composite made from cellulose based fibers and clean plastic polymers. These are by-products of other industrial processes so would otherwise be going to waste.


Indoor aquaponics garden by Aqualibrium: And you thought fish tanks were retro. All you need are a few fish to grow peppers, kale and eggplant. The units use a closed loop ecosystem whereby fish produce nutrients that are cycled up to feed the plants. The water is then cycled back down to the aquarium, fresh and clean for the fish. And if fish aren’t your thing, the system can act hydroponically, where pre-bottled nutrients are used instead.


Modular phone by Phonebloks: The current model of consumer electronics is that of planned obsolescence. Usually only one or two components in a phone will break, while the rest of the unit is still functioning, so consumers have no choice but to get a new phone. Phonebloks has designed a unit comprised of detachable blocks (battery, antenna, gyroscope, etc) which can be replaced when necessary, so the whole phone needn’t be discarded. It works on an open-source platform and was originally conceived to tackle problems of e-waste. Although not on the market yet, a prototype is currently being developed.

Energy Floors

Human powered interactive dance floor by Energy Floors: Don’t waste your energy. The potential power of human movement is huge. On these tiles, the kinetic energy of walking or dancing people converts into electricity which is used to power the floor’s LED bulbs. The modules of the dance floor flex slightly when stepped on which creates a movement that can be transformed into electric power by a small internal generator. Each module can produce up to 35 watts of sustained output and can be used to light up the floor or even fed back to the grid. Party on!

Daily Needs chicken coop

Daily Needs modular chicken coop & garden by Studio Segers: This indoor system provides all the components you need to assemble housing for chickens and small pets, raised beds for vegetables, a composting bin, and a tool shed in a configuration of your choice. Developed with social, ecological, and economic relevance in mind, the system was a recipient of the Ovam Eco Design Award Pro in 2013.

GreenGrid Modular Green Roof System by SealEco.

GreenGrid modular green roof system by SealEco: Extend your garden area, or even create one by using these sedum planted modules on your flat roof. Simply laid on your existing roof, these low maintenance modules will attract butterflies and bees and can help absorb heavy rainfall so it doesn’t reach your gutters. It’s colorful all year round with tiny pink, white and yellow flowers in the summer and is quite low-maintenance. The plants don’t need cutting, just a bit of a check once or twice a year.

Nula dress

Adjustable children’s clothing by Nula: Adjustable children’s clothing by Nula. Kids growing too fast and putting a hole in your pocket? This line of children’s clothing is designed to fit for three years and can be adjusted by adding or taking away pieces, or using straps to tighten or loosen. The clothes are manufactured in the US from sustainable materials such as organic cotton and help parents reduce the amount of clothing moving from factory to closet to landfill. Designs will be available from their website soon.

ecospace gym

Modular studio by Ecospace: Commute to the back yard instead of across the city. These customizable studios are made mainly from sustainable wood that comes from renewable, certified sources and are designed to maximize energy efficiency with high insulation values in floors, walls and roofs. Sedum roofs are optional and improve insulation while low-energy, under-floor heating keeps you warm in colder weather. It’s also possible to integrate renewable energy options into the design, including photovoltaic solar panels, ground and air source heat pumps, wind turbines, biomass boilers and log burning stoves.

Zeoze shoes

Zeoze shoes by Daniela Bekerman: Where mod meets modular. Daniela Bekerman is a freelance designer based in Madrid and specialises in graphic and industrial design. The shoes are available to order from her website.

Singapore Gives Urban Sustainability Prize to China’s Suzhou City

Posted by Ken on May 5, 2014
Posted under Express 206

Singapore Gives Urban Sustainability Prize to China’s Suzhou City

China’s Suzhou city, which has managed to avoid the worst impacts of urbanisation – pollution and traffic congestion – wins the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 which recognises liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world.  Singapore is once again taking the lead to encourage governments and industry to come together to share and co-create solutions with an integrated approach to urban sustainability at the World Cities Summit, along with the Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore from 1 to 5 June 2014. Read More

Suzhou City conferred Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014

Singapore, 24 March 2014 – Suzhou, Jiangsu Province, China, has been conferred the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize 2014 for its demonstration of sound planning principles and good urban management. Despite facing numerous challenges through Chinas rapid industrialisation and urbanisation processes, Suzhou has overcome difficulties through several stages of transformation to achieve remarkable economic prosperity, and preservation of its celebrated cultural and historic heritage concurrently.

The biennial Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is jointly organised by the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore’s land-use planning and conservation authority, and the Centre for Liveable Cities, to honour outstanding achievements and contributions to the creation of liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities around the world. The award seeks to recognise and celebrate efforts in furthering urban solutions and sustainable urban development.


This year’s Prize Laureate was selected from 36 nominated cities, through a rigorous two-tier process comprising a Nominating Committee and a Prize Council.

Chairman of the Nominating Committee, Kishore Mahbubani said, “Suzhou has always been one of China’s most beautiful cities. It could have been destroyed by modernisation and industrialisation. Instead, Suzhou’s leaders took a holistic approach and sought to achieve the triple goals of economic and social progress as well as the preservation of its significant historical heritage. It has been spectacularly successful in meeting these goals and it richly deserves the Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize.”

Mayor of Suzhou, Zhou Naixiang said, “We are honoured to receive this award. This is an affirmation of our effort in striving for excellence in urban planning and development. Winning this award is an enormous encouragement for us to push for more innovative solutions for Suzhou to develop in a sustainable way while preserving our treasured historic and natural heritage.”

We congratulate the city of Suzhou and its leaders on this well-deserved commendation. Mayor Zhou Naixiang and his team have spearheaded robust and practical measures to tackle the challenges of modern day urbanisation while upholding Suzhou’s rich culture and heritage. The foresight of Suzhou’s leaders in implementing the city’s reinvention and revitalisation is a quality that resonates strongly with Keppel, where we value sustainability as an intrinsic driver of positive urban development,” remarked Mr Loh Chin Hua, CEO of Keppel Corporation, who also affirmed the Company’s commitment and extension of sponsorship towards another five cycles of the Prize from 2020 to 2028.

Winning ingredients of Suzhou

The key to Suzhou’s rise is strong leadership and good governance in implementing a comprehensive Master Plan to develop the city. It has carried out good urban management practices, such as implementing a balanced and holistic urban development, achieving economic vitality while ensuring the preservation of its culture and heritage. Investments in physical infrastructure are complemented by effective social integration policies, enabling the city to manage rural-urban migration challenges well.

Extension of sponsorship

Keppel Corporation has extended their sponsorship of the Prize, doubling the current sponsorship amount by another S$1.75 million, up to year 2028. Keppel’s strong support as sole sponsor since the inaugural award in 2010 enables the continued recognition of cities who have taken bold and innovative steps to create liveable, vibrant and sustainable urban communities. The Prize provides a valuable platform for fostering knowledge transfer between cities, catalysing sustainable urbanisation through a rich exchange of ideas and experiences.

Prize Award Ceremony at World Cities Summit

The Lee Kuan Yew World City Prize is a key showcase at the upcoming World Cities Summit which will be held from 1 to 4 June 2014 at the Marina Bay Sands. The Laureate will receive the Prize at the Lee Kuan Yew Prize Award Ceremony and Banquet which will be held on 2 June 2014. The Prize comprises a gold medallion, an award certificate, and S$300,000 sponsored by Keppel Corporation.

The World Cities Summit is a premier platform for government leaders and industry experts to address the challenges of liveable and sustainable cities, share integrated urban solutions and forge new partnerships. Under the theme “Liveable and Sustainable Cities: Common Challenges, Shared Solutions”, the fourth edition of the Summit will seek to share new insights and best practices in urban solutions, explore opportunities and public-private partnerships and highlight new trends on urbanisation challenges around the world. For more information, visit

Singapore, 15 April 2014 – Singapore is once again taking the lead to encourage governments and industry to come together to share and co-create solutions with an integrated approach to urban sustainability. They will converge at the World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore that will be jointly held from 1 to 5 June 2014 at the Sands Expo & Convention Center at Marina Bay Sands, Singapore.

Leading integrated platform for urban sustainability

The World Cities Summit (WCS), Singapore International Water Week (SIWW) and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore (CESS) is the leading global platform for government and city leaders to discuss urban challenges and chart new directions and solutions for more liveable and sustainable cities of the future. Some 20,000 high-level delegates are expected to attend, including ministers, mayors, government and industry leaders, representatives of international organisations and academics. The involvement of key stakeholders across the spectrum of urban planning, water planning and waste management is critical, given the new and complex challenges facing cities.

According to the United Nations1, over five billion people – or 60 per cent of the world’s population – will live in cities by 2030. To meet this exponential growth, about US$57 trillion in investment is required globally in infrastructure such as water resource management, solid waste management, transport, energy and telecommunications2. This is nearly 60 per cent more than the US$36 trillion spent over the last 18 years. In addition, as resources become scarce, it is becoming increasingly apparent that a lack of regard for environmental sustainability could threaten long-term development.

The need for innovative and integrated urban solutions has always been imperative for Singapore. Given its small size and limited resources, Singapore has always adopted a forward-looking and integrated approach to urban planning and sustainable development to ensure a quality living environment for our people. Other cities are also adopting a more holistic approach to achieve sustainable growth – a key reason why mayors and government leaders from around the world are converging in Singapore in June to share ideas and solutions to tackle urban challenges effectively.

Integrated solutions for liveable and sustainable cities

Technology and innovation will also play a critical role to boost productivity in the infrastructure sector whilst governance will ensure that infrastructure deals are being structured for efficiency and effectiveness to meet the needs of residents. The events make it possible for the public and private sectors to engage in solutions- oriented dialogue that will attract investors, increase infrastructure investments, and promote beneficial partnerships to make cities liveable and sustainable.

Highlighting the need for an integrated approach to urban planning, Mr Khoo Teng Chye, Executive Director of the Centre for Liveable Cities said: “The interconnected nature of sustainable development calls for going beyond borders, both geographical and disciplinary, to coordinate strategies and make good decisions that benefit citizens. Problems are rarely contained within predefined jurisdictions such as one government agency or a single neighbourhood. This is a lesson that Singapore has learnt on its journey to urban sustainability. The World Cities Summit, Singapore International Water Week and CleanEnviro Summit Singapore demonstrate global thought leadership for a more holistic and sustainable approach to city planning.”

Representing the Singapore International Water Week, Mr Chew Men Leong, Chief Executive of PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, said, “With challenges such as extreme weather conditions threatening global water security, it is now more important than ever before for the world’s water ecosystem to pool resources and share best practices. Over the years, SIWW has established itself as a global platform for connecting the public sector with the private sector, water technology start-ups with potential investors, buyers with sellers, essentially to co-create water and enable solutions to meet these challenges.”

Mr Ronnie Tay, Chief Executive Officer of National Environmental Agency said, “As cities grow rapidly, business activity and consumption patterns drive up waste volumes. The World Bank has anticipated that by 2025, 4.3 billion urban residents will be generating about 1.42 kg/capita/day of municipal solid waste, making up an estimated total of 2.2 billion tonnes per year. Hence, many cities face the challenge of building a clean and liveable environment, and acquiring sustainable environmental solutions. We hope CESS 2014 will be a useful platform for environmental leaders, policy makers and industry captains to come together to discuss these important challenges and possible solutions.”

Mr Ng Lang, Chief Executive Officer of the Urban Redevelopment Authority, co- organiser of WCS 2014 said, “The theme for World Cities Summit – ‘Common Challenges, Shared Solutions’ – reinforces the importance of collaboration between all stakeholders in urban development. With more than 100 mayors and 1,400 business leaders and industry experts expected to attend WCS, it is a leading platform for global leaders who shape cities to come together to address liveable and sustainable city challenges, share integrated urban solutions, and forge high-level partnerships.”

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