Archive for the ‘Express 202’ Category

Sustainable Forests Can Enhance Communities as Deforestation Continues

Posted by Ken on November 22, 2013
Posted under Express 202

Forests play an important role not just as a carbon sink and habitat for wildlife, but for the communities that live around them. In fact, the connection is so tight such that if the communities that depend on the forests cannot survive, the forests themselves will not last, according to the Chairman of the Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC). This spells bad news for the people living around the forests of Indonesia which, in a novel study on deforestation using Google Earth, was shown to have the highest rate of deforestation in the past twelve years. Read more

Report from PEFC (15 November 2013):

“If the people who work in and depend on the forests cannot survive, then the forests themselves will perish.”

“We believe that the well-being of the people who own, live in and depend on forests is the single most important criteria to determine if a forest is being sustainably managed,” said William Street Jr., PEFC Chairman, at the PEFC General Assembly yesterday. “If the people who work in and depend on the forests cannot survive, then the forests themselves will perish.”

In his remarks welcoming the Malaysian Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities YB Datuk Amar Douglas Uggah Embas to the General Assembly, Mr. Street reminded the audience of the importance of the economic and social dimensions of sustainable forest management.

“We believe that both poverty and profit seeking endangers natural and human resources. The poor need to sacrifice the forest in order to survive. Any forest management plan that ignores this reality is doomed to fail. Likewise we recognize the difference between poverty driven deforestation and profit driven deforestation. Forest land use decisions are subject to the demands of the market and of the profits derived from markets. But this cannot be the only driver or the sole determinant of how we manage our forests,” Mr. Street said. “The way forward [...] is to find the balance point, a balance point between making a sustainable economic contribution to society and no economic contribution to society. If forests cannot make a substantial economic contribution to society they will be replaced by palm oil plantations, soy bean fields, cattle pastures, golf courses, and destination resorts.”

Mr Street highlighted that PEFC’s unique, inclusive bottom-up approach is well-suited to balancing the environmental, social and economic dimensions of sustainability: “We believe that the best way to achieve these goals is through an inclusive process that recognizes that there is no single way forward for every forest type. We believe there is not even a best way applicable to all forests, but rather that the process of bottom up, stakeholder involvement that gives voice to those who rarely have an opportunity to be heard is the only way forward. Smallholders, native and indigenous populations, workers, women, minorities, as well as Fortune 500 multi-nation corporations and government land owners must all have a seat at the table where the decisions are made as to how to manage a specific forest.”

PEFC Forest Certification Week, which in addition to the PEFC General Assembly also features the currently ongoing PEFC Stakeholder Dialogue, demonstrates the wide variety of stakeholder groups present in PEFC processes, with more than 300 people from very different backgrounds participating.

“We celebrate the diversity that such an approach empowers. We celebrate as the outputs of a rich, diverse, multi-cultural process,” noted Mr. Street.



Map shows deforestation in Indonesia is world’s fastest

By Nadya Natahadibrata in The Jakarta Post (16 November 2013):

Indonesia has the fastest rate of deforestation in the past 12 years, according to a new global map on deforestation.

A team of researchers from 15 universities — led by the University of Maryland and assisted by Google and NASA — has created the first high-resolution global map on Google Earth that maps forest cover.

In a study that was published in the journal Science on Thursday, the researchers reported a global loss of 2.3 million square kilometers of forest between 2000 and 2012 and a gain of 800,000 square kilometers of new forest, with an increase of 2,101 square kilometers of forest loss each year.

Indonesia, according to the study, has experienced the highest rate of deforestation between 2000 and 2012, from around 10,000 square kilometers per year between 2000 and 2003 to around 20,000 square kilometers of deforestation per year between 2011 and 2012.

During the latest period, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono actually initiated the forest clearance moratorium to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions and rate of deforestation.

The country has lost 15.8 million hectares in total between 2000 and 2012, ranking fifth behind Russia, Brazil, the United States and Canada in terms of forest loss, the study reports.

It finds that Brazil is doing well compared to the other most densely forested countries. It managed to cut its deforestation rate from around 40,000 square kilometers per year to around 20,000 square kilometers per year. But Brazil’s success is, however, offset by the increasing deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, Paraguay, Bolivia and Zambia

“This is the first map of forest change that is globally consistent and locally relevant,” University of Maryland professor of Geographical Sciences Matthew Hansen, team leader and corresponding author on the Science paper said in a statement.

“Losses or gains in forest cover shape many important aspects of an ecosystem including, climate regulation, carbon storage, biodiversity and water supplies, but until now there has not been a way to get detailed, accurate, satellite-based and readily available data on forest cover change from local to global scales,” he said.

The government was quick to deny the results of the study.

Forestry Ministry secretary-general Hadi Daryanto said that researchers had miscalculated the loss of forest cover, because, according to the data from the ministry, Indonesia only lost around 450,000 hectares of forest every year.

“The scientists only look at satellite images of areas where logging activities are taking place, without putting the country’s temporary deforestation into consideration,” Hadi said on Friday.

“Temporary deforestation is, for example, logging activities within the HTI [Industrial Forest Permit] areas, which will be restored after the timber harvesting period concludes. The country harvests only 200,000 hectares of HTI area per year,” he said. “They should not classify timber harvesting as forest loss,” he continued.

Hadi said that the Forestry Ministry had succeeded in reducing the country’s rate of deforestation from 3.5 million hectares per year between 1996 to 2003 to only 450,000 hectares, since the log exports ban was enacted in 2001 and the forest clearance moratorium was introduced, which prohibits the issuance of new licenses for the conversion of primary forests and peatlands in both protected forests and productive forests.

“We also did not issue HTI permits as much as we used to during the forest clearance moratorium. Between 2011 and 2012 the government only issued 250,000 hectares of HTI,” Hadi said. “Therefore, I don’t think this study is stating the truth,” he said.

Hadi said that the government under the Geospatial Information Agency (BIG) would launch the forest clearance moratorium evaluation report in January next year.

As previously reported, Yudhoyono had signed Presidential Instruction No. 6/2013 to continue the forest moratorium for two years in May this year, that was initially introduced in 2011 after Indonesia and Norway signed a US$1 billion deal for Indonesia to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and rate of deforestation.


Responsible Business is Serious Business For Jeans Maker Levi Strauss

Posted by Ken on November 22, 2013
Posted under Express 202

The Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development is set to take place in Singapore this year on the 25th and 26th of November. Themed “Transformation, Growth and the Green Economy”, the forum will bring together business leaders, NGOs and policy-makers from around Southeast Asia to discuss commitments and policy recommendations to increase sustainability across various sectors. A company taking responsible business seriously is clothing company Levi Strauss, which recently launched a line of clothing committed to durability and responsible manufacturing. Read more


Media registration is now open

Singapore, 4 November 2013 – The Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development (RBF) returns to Singapore for the second year with the theme “Transformation, Growth and the Green Economy”. The forum, which will be held at Marina Bay Sands, will feature thought leaders, senior government and business leaders speaking on the latest trends in sustainable development from policy and industry perspectives.

Singapore’s Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Vivian Balakrishnan, is the guest-of-honour and opening keynote speaker.

By 2050, the global population will hit 9 billion people and the increased demand for water, food and energy will exceed our current capacity to provide. This will be the defining challenge of the 21st century, but also its greatest economic opportunity. To face this global challenge, it is clear that governments and businesses must embark on a different approach and transform their operations to embrace the green economy.

RBF will bring together about 500 senior leaders comprising government officials, global experts, policymakers and business leaders to engage in high-level discussions, and to emphasise action oriented policy and business commitments across six sectors – agriculture & forestry, palm oil, consumer goods, financial services, building & urban infrastructure and energy. The recommendations will then be presented to decision and policy-makers at a series of regional meetings in 2013 and 2014.

Some of the confirmed speakers include:

• Choi Shing Kwok, Permanent Secretary, Ministry for Environment & Water Resources, Singapore

• Dorothy Maxwell, Director, TEEB for Business Coalition

• Usha Rao Monari, Director, Sustainable Business, International Finance Corporation

• Ernst Ligteringin, Chief Executive, Global Reporting Initiative

• Jessica Fries, Executive Chairman, HRH The Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Project and Board member of the International Integrated Reporting Council

• Johann Clere, Global Environmental Strategy Officer, Veolia Water

• Lynelle Cameron, Senior Director for Sustainability, Autodesk

• Paul Gilding, Environmentalist, Consultant, and Author

• Peter Holmgren, Director-General, Centre for International Forestry Research

• Kara Hurst, CEO, The Sustainability Consortium

• Philippe Joubert, Senior Advisor, World Business Council for Sustainable Development

• PJ Simmons, Chairman, Corporate Eco Forum

• Ron Popper, Global Head of Corporate Responsibility, ABB

• Tan Tian Chong, Group Director, Technology Development, Building & Construction Authority, Singapore

• Toh Wee Khiang, Director, Environment & Technology, National Environment Agency, Singapore

• Limin Hee, Acting Director, Centre for Liveable Cities

A full list of confirmed speakers and the forum agenda can be found at:


Responsible Business Forum Young Leaders Dialogue

A key highlight of the forum this year will be the inaugural Responsible Business Forum Young Leaders Dialogue hosted by Eco-Business, Global Initiatives, The Straits Times, Eco Singapore and City Developments Ltd. A group of 100 young leaders from polytechnics, universities and young professionals in the field of sustainability will be given the opportunity to discuss sustainability issues with other young leaders, and convey a message to the current global leaders at the event.

Launch of new TEEB for Business Coalition Natural Capital project for Business

The natural capital agenda to account for the value of nature to the economy is growing and adds value to sustainability approaches for business and investors. The TEEB for Business Coalition and members including WBCSD, IFC, World Bank, The Prince’s Accounting for Sustainability Project, GRI, Ernst & Young, Deloitte and FMO Development Bank will showcase the latest innovations on natural capital at the Responsible Business Forum. TEEB for Business Coalition are inviting businesses to participate in a new project to develop and pilot test valuation of natural capital and the role it plays in business and investor applications e.g. supply chain management, financial accounting and corporate reporting. This project will be launched at the Responsible Business Forum.

About Responsible Business Forum:

The Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development is a global series of interactive events where experts, industry and government leaders offer practical ways to accelerate solutions for a more sustainable world. Food, water and energy security, poverty, environmental sustainability and economic competitiveness are among the many global challenges discussed. Leading companies and visionaries share innovative approaches to solving these problems with a focus on higher-level collaboration, growth and commitment to action.

Co-organised by Global Initiatives,, TEEB for Business Coalition, World Business Council for Sustainable Development and WWF, the forum is also supported by the Singapore Tourism Board, National Environment Agency, Building and Construction Authority, Centre for Liveable Cities, Singapore Business Federation and media partners The Straits Times and Bloomberg Television.

Corporate partners include ABB, Autodesk, Aviva, CIFOR, City Developments Limited, Credit 360, DNV KEMA, Marina Bay Sands, Monsanto, OCBC Bank, Ricoh, South Pole Carbon, Veolia Water and Wilmar International.


Levi Strauss seeks to slow down fast fashion with sustainable practices

Levi Strauss launches a new line of clothing committed to durability and responsible manufacturing. Will consumers buy it?

By Marc Gunther in The Guardian (6 November 2013):

Sixteen years of work as a fashion designer in New York was enough for Paul Dillinger. He quit and took a job teaching design at his alma mater, Washington University in St Louis. “I had become somewhat disillusioned – really challenged morally or ethically – by the industry,” he says.

Then a friend recruited Dillinger to work for Levi Strauss & Co. Today, he’s leading a cutting-edge initiative to take sustainable design to new heights at the 160-year-old company: a Dockers line of clothes called Wellthread. The line brings together the best practices in materials sourcing and garment manufacturing, providing social and economic benefits to factory workers in Bangladesh and delivering durable khakis, jackets and T-shirts to consumers.

Dillinger wants to weave responsibility into every stage of design, manufacturing and usage, from the cotton fields to the factories to the market and beyond.

“I saw all these different nodes of activity in the company that were tackling different problems,” Dillinger said, when we met this week at Levi’s Eureka Innovation Lab, a research and development unit near the company’s headquarters in San Francisco. “The opportunity, to me, was to string all of these ideas together and create a systems approach to change.”

Michael Kobori, vice-president of social and environmental sustainability at Levi Strauss – a speaker at the Global Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development – describes the Wellthread collection as “the second generation of sustainable product because it is focused on both the environmental and social aspects of sustainability”.

There’s just one catch, and it’s a big one: for now, at least, there are no plans to sell Wellthread at retail outlets in the US when the collection is released next year. In a move that appears to reflect uncertainty about whether sustainability can be effectively marketed to US consumers, the line will be sold online and in stores in Europe.

In a business-case study of Wellthread, the company explains:

So far, all these changes are being implemented at a relatively small scale to explore the results in terms of social and business value. Wellthread will make its debut in the spring, and the company is exploring how future Dockers and Levi’s collections can capitalize on the process.

“By having this little lab to test and substantiate ideas at small-risk scale, we’re then able to deploy these new best practices at large scale,” Dillinger says.

What’s clear, nevertheless, is the seriousness of thought that has gone into Wellthread. It aims to be the antithesis of fast, cheap throwaway fashion.

“The fashion cycle that seeks to reinvent itself every six months? It doesn’t ask, ‘How do we improve the lives of the people we touch?’” Dillinger told me.

On the contrary, he said, as a New York designer for American Eagle Outfitters, Calvin Klein and DKNY, he saw brands join a race to the bottom to deliver cheap clothes in ever-changing styles. That forced brands to compromise on the quality of their products and to squeeze costs out of their supply chain at workers’ expense.

Dillinger, who is 41, has devoted his life to design. “I saw a fashion show on Donahue when I was 12 and I said, that’s what I want to be,” he said. He got a sewing machine for his 16th birthday and still keeps one on his dining table at home.

When he arrived at Levi Strauss, he found a company with a history that demonstrated a belief in durability – the company secured the first patent for the riveted pockets that help blue jeans last longer – and a commitment to an ethical supply chain. Levi Strauss was one of the first companies to set labor, health and safety standards for its global suppliers.

As senior director of color, concept and design for Dockers, Dillinger devised the plan for Wellthread. Last year, he became the first fashion designer to be awarded a First Movers fellowship at the Aspen Institute, where corporate executives develop ways to integrate social and business value.

He designed Wellthread to last for years, using a long-staple yarn grown in Pakistan (some of it under the auspices of the Better Cotton Initiative) that he expects will hold up through numerous washings and, eventually, recycling. Buttonholes and pockets are reinforced to make them more durable.

The manufacturing process will use roughly 30% less water and energy than conventional methods. Factory managers from a trusted Bangladesh suppler were flown to San Francisco to participate in design decisions. “Once we gave them permission to make suggestions, they were abundant,” Dillinger said. Too often, he said, designers simply dictate specs, by email, to the factory floor.

Meanwhile, Levi Strauss – working with partners including its foundation, BSR and Ceres – also has been developing a program to improve the finances and wellbeing of workers in its supply chain. The Bangladesh factory that makes the Wellthreads line is participating in the program.

These clothes, of course, don’t come cheap. Pants cost $140, T-shirts $50 and jackets $250. And Levi Strauss faces a big challenge of finding ways to market Wellthread to mainstream consumers so that the principles involved in its design can be deployed throughout the company.

Beyond that, the company must figure out to reconcile a commitment to long-lasting clothes with a desire to grow revenue by selling more stuff. Levi Strauss is a private company, albeit a big one, with $4.6bn in revenues in 2012. “We want to think about what thoughtful, intentional, restrained growth would look like,” Dillinger said.

Yet Dillinger also wants his ideas to spread and to change the very terms of the conversation about fashion. As he once put it: “Maybe one day, discussions of the celebrities’ red carpet choices will be go beyond daring color and revealing neckline to include the use of sustainable fibers and natural dyes. If you’re going to dream, dream big, right?”


Sustainability Awards Give Recognition Where It’s Deserved

Posted by Ken on November 22, 2013
Posted under Express 202

Companies in Singapore have been recognised for their efforts in sustainability. The Singapore Business Federation recently awarded 14 companies from a wide range of industries with the Singapore Sustainability Award for exemplifying Singapore’s business excellence in embracing sustainable practices. The award rewards companies for their effort in paying greater attention to inclusive growth whilst pursuing productivity and innovation improvements to underpin the competitiveness of their industries. Read more

Ricoh receives the Singapore Sustainability Award recognition

Singapore – Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd receives the Singapore Sustainability Award recognition under the Green Technology category presented by the Singapore Business Federation during the Singapore Sustainability Award Ceremony 2013. This award recognizes organizations for demonstrating strong and compelling green technology solutions, while ensuring a high level of commitment and performance to other criteria of corporate environment responsibility, measurement of impact and innovation.

Ricoh is the only organization in the office and printing solution industry to be awarded for its Quick Start-up (QSU) energy saving technology, which enables printers and copiers to start up quickly from the sleep mode. Since 2001, Ricoh has been constantly improving this technology – from 30 or more seconds to start up from energy saving mode, to reaching its current achievement of just 10 seconds. The development of energy saving technology is one of Ricoh’s positive contributing factors to CO2 reduction in the customer premises and thereby minimizes the environmental impact.

Ricoh stands firm on its three mottos – Never compromise on the environment, user-friendliness and quality, that differentiate its energy saving technologies from the rest.

“Ricoh is honoured and encouraged to receive this recognition from Singapore Business Federation as our continued effort in creating a sustainable environment for everyone has gained consensus. At Ricoh, development of environmental technologies is one of the most significant effort made to realize sustainable environmental management.” said Mr. Nobuaki Majima, Managing Director of Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd.

Ricoh’s sustainability commitment has stepped up to Corporate Shared Value (CSV) which focuses on three principles – Good for “Environment”, “Economy” and “People”. This new approach comes together with a clear objective of maintaining competitiveness to the customers’ benefits while promoting sustainable development.

Ricoh has been committed to sustainable environmental management back in 1970s. This commitment is put into practice throughout the product life cycle from product design, production, marketing activities and customer services to end-of-life product. Such practices reduce the environmental impacts, and at the same time, create economic value for the investors, clients and employees.



Singapore Business Federation:

Singapore Business Federation recognises 14 organisations from a spectrum of industries exemplifying Singapore’s business excellence in embracing sustainable practices  •The Awards recognise enterprises across construction, infocomm, electronics, chemical, waste treatment, marine, oil and gas and industrial estate sectors with outstanding sustainability processes and initiatives.

•Reinforcing Singapore as a clean technology hub, the awards saw winning enterprises coming from diversified countries with regional headquarters in Singapore, UK, US, Netherlands, Japan, and Hong Kong etc

•A record of five SMEs (30% of winners) won the Singapore Sustainability Awards, which reflects a strengthening capabilities and depth of sustainable technological research amongst the SME business community

Fourteen organisations will be recognised this evening for their innovative sustainable business practices at the 2013 Singapore Sustainability Awards. An initiative of the Singapore Business Federation (SBF), the Awards are into their fourth season.

The winners were judged on their sustainability excellence and innovation by an independent panel of judges from Autodesk, Economic Development Board, IE Singapore, Institute of Technical Education, National Environment Agency, National University of Singapore, Singapore Compact for CSR, SIMTech, SPRING Singapore, and knowledge partners KPMG Advisory LLP and Frost & Sullivan. The winners will represent Singapore at international arena and be showcased at the China ASEAN Exposition 2014.

Comprising the Sustainable Business Awards (SBA) and the Green Technology Awards (GTA), this year’s top winners are:

Sustainable Business Awards (SBA):

•Top Honour (Large Enterprise segment): Keppel Land Limited

•Top Honour (Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) segment): ECO Special Waste Management Pte Ltd

Green Technology Awards (GTA):

•Top Honour (Large Enterprise segment): Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd

•Top Honour (Small & Medium Enterprise (SME) segment): Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd

Held at Resorts World Sentosa, and graced by Mr. S. Iswaran, Minister, Prime Minister’s Office, Second Minister for Home Affairs and Second Minister for Trade and Industry, these companies were lauded for their sustainable business practices, pro-environment operations and performance management systems, corporate responsibility, innovation and green technology implementation.

In his opening remarks, SBF CEO, Mr. Ho Meng Kit noted that sustainability is intertwined with organisational success and has become a key criterion for a growing number of stakeholders when determining whether or not they wish to invest in or be associated with an organisation. Other issues are also expected to have as significant an impact on businesses – the way they operate, and the products and solutions in their offering.

Mr Ho shared that this year’s Singapore Sustainability Awards attracted quality submissions spanning a spectrum of industries from chemicals and paints to logistics, construction to marine and property to consumer products. “The award categories have been structured to emphasise on social and innovation aspects to encourage companies to demonstrate strengths in these areas. This is in line with the government’s call for businesses to pay greater attention to inclusive growth whilst pursuing productivity and innovation improvements to underpin the competitiveness of their industries.” he added.

The Federation will also be organising a series of sustainability diagnostic workshops, to enable companies to benchmark their sustainability efforts vis-a-vis other Singapore companies and industry best practice. This knowledge will help businesses improve their environmental impact, and move industries forward as a whole in terms of sustainability.

Continuing its collaboration with the National University of Singapore, SBF has also produced the 3nd edition of the Singapore Sustainability Awards 2012 Winners’ Case Study Handbook. Entitled “Converging Towards a Sustainable Future”, the handbook provides insights on the motivations and experiences of the previous year’s awards winners, and is intended to serve as a source of reference to spur businesses to follow in the footsteps of green pioneers.

The winner of the Top Honour for Sustainable Business Award (SME), ECO Special Waste Management Pte Ltd CEO Mr Rick Reidinger said “The Singapore Sustainability Awards an important recognition of our hard work over the years to reduce our environmental footprint, maximise resource recovery, and in other ways achieve the ultimate goal of sustainability.”

Echoing similar sentiments, winner of the Top Honour for Sustainable Business Award (large enterprises), Keppel Land Ltd’s Director of Corporate Services Mr Choo Chin Teck said that there is a call for higher sustainability standards among companies especially in the areas of environmental, social and governance issues as well as financial transparency.

“We will continue to benchmark ourselves against leading sustainable companies, actively engage various stakeholders in our sustainability journey, building knowledge and promoting the exchange of ideas and industry best practices,” he said.


Sustainable Business Awards (SBA)

Small & Medium Enterprises

 ECO Special Waste Management Pte Ltd*

Large Enterprises

 Keppel Land Limited*

 Gammon Pte. Limited

 Keppel Telecommunications & Transportation Ltd

 Swire Pacific Offshore Operations Pte Ltd


Green Technology Awards (GTA)

Small & Medium Enterprises

 Greenpac (S) Pte Ltd*

 Biomax Technologies Pte Ltd

 Sunseap Leasing Pte Ltd

 Third Wave Power Pte Ltd

Large Enterprises

 Panasonic Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.*

 Akzo Nobel Paints (Singapore) Pte. Ltd.

 Carrier Singapore (Pte) Ltd

 Eltek Power Pte Ltd

 Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte. Ltd.