Archive for the ‘Express 203’ Category

Palm Oil Companies Come Clean on Deforestation & Embrace Certification

Posted by Ken on December 16, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Palm Oil Companies Come Clean on Deforestation & Embrace Certification

The haze that choked Singapore this year reignited the debate on sustainable palm oil production, and the slash-and-burn method of land-clearing commonly used for oil palm cultivation. Responding to public and environmental pressures, Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader, has committed to a no deforestation policy that could pave the way to a more sustainable production of palm oil. Working towards the sustainability of the industry is the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) with its demanding supply chain certification system, the RSPO-RED Supply Chain certificate, recently awarded to its very first recipient, Neste Oil. See the Palm oil buyers scorecard from WWF. Read more

WWF and Palm Oil:

For a very full and frank assessment of the Palm Oil situation, access and download the latest Palm Oil Scorecard from WWF:

Neste Oil awarded the world’s first RSPO-RED certificate

27 November 2013:

Neste Oil is the world’s first company to be awarded an RSPO-RED Supply Chain certificate under the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil’s (RSPO) new, more demanding certification system. The certificate covers the production of NExBTL renewable diesel at Neste Oil’s refineries in Porvoo, Rotterdam, and Singapore.

The RSPO’s new RSPO-RED overall certification system calculates greenhouse gas emissions released over the entire life cycle of a product, in line with the EU’s Renewable Energy Directive (RED). Thanks to the certificate, Neste Oil will be able to offer its European customers NExBTL renewable diesel produced from RSPO-RED-certified palm oil.

“We commend Neste Oil’s efforts in obtaining their RSPO-RED Supply Chain Certification. They are the first in the world to do so and we expect many others to soon follow their lead”, says Darrel Webber, Secretary General of RSPO “This is not only a significant moment for Neste Oil but for RSPO as well. It marks the entry of RSPO into the biodiesel industry, especially in the European Union,” he says.

Neste Oil has been a member of the RSPO since 2006 and requires all its palm oil suppliers to be members of the organization and commit themselves to strict sustainability requirements. Neste Oil only buys certified palm oil that has been produced sustainably. Producing palm in a sustainable way protects biodiversity and carbon reserves, and prevents the destruction of rainforest and the creation of plantations in sensitive areas, such as wetlands that sequester large amounts of carbon. Sustainable production methods also protect human rights and the rights of native populations.

Palm oil is one of the many feedstocks that Neste Oil uses to produce NExBTL renewable diesel. Production currently uses more than 10 different feedstocks, including vegetable oil and various waste and residue inputs. Around half of the renewable inputs used by Neste Oil today comprise waste and residues, while sustainably produced palm oil makes up the other half.

Neste Oil in brief

Neste Oil Corporation is a refining and marketing company concentrating on low-emission, high-quality traffic fuels. The company produces a comprehensive range of major petroleum products and is the world’s leading supplier of renewable diesel. Neste Oil had net sales of EUR 17.9 billion in 2012 and employs around 5,000 people, and is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki.

Neste Oil is included in the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index and the Ethibel Pioneer Investment Register, and has featured in The Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable corporations for many years. Forest Footprint Disclosure (FFD) has ranked Neste Oil as one of the best performers in the oil & gas sector. Further information:

This announcement is distributed by NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions on behalf of NASDAQ OMX Corporate Solutions clients.

The issuer of this announcement warrants that they are solely responsible for the content, accuracy and originality of the information contained therein.


By Elga Reyes in (6 December 2013):

Wilmar commits to zero deforestation after year of intense pressure


World’s biggest palm oil trader Wilmar International, long criticised for its palm oil production, has announced a landmark no deforestation policy that could transform the industry, promote forest conservation, cut down emissions, and drive sustainable agriculture

Wilmar no deforestation policy


In a surprising yet welcome end to a year that has seen several controversies in the palm oil sector, Singapore-listed agribusiness Wilmar International announced on Friday that its entire operations worldwide, including subsidiaries and third-party suppliers, will now commit to a ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy.


This means the firm, which controls 45 per cent of the US$50 billion annual palm oil trade, is ensuring that the popular agricultural commodity found in numerous consumer products like chocolates, soaps and baked goods, will be produced sustainably – free from issues such as forest destruction, greenhouse gas emissions and human rights violations.


The nine-page integrated policy Wilmar issued contains an outline of actions concerning the three main points of no deforestation, no peat and no exploitation, such as:


no development in high conservation value (HCV) areas,

progressively reduce emissions on existing plantations,

explore options for peat restoration,

and to respect the rights of indigenous and local communities on their consent to operate on their lands.

They said “while plantation development has contributed significantly to economic development, deforestation and other unsustainable practices have many negative consequence for people and the environment”.


As such, they will be working in close partnership with growers, traders, processors, consumer goods companies, financial institutions and NGOs and other stakeholders relating to the palm oil supply chain to improve the industry.


Wilmar’s surprise announcement comes after months of intense campaigning for a no deforestation policy by Greenpeace International, a staunch advocate for palm oil sustainability and long critic of the firm. It welcomed the policy, saying it “has the potential to be a landmark win for the world’s forests and the people that depend on them for their livelihoods”.


“Six months ago, fires from out-of-control deforestation in Indonesia choked Singapore and much of Southeast Asia – fires made possible by a no-questions-asked palm oil sector. This agreement could mark the start of a new ‘Green Revolution’ that provides the deforestation-free agricultural goods global consumers are increasingly demanding

Glenn Hurowitz, Climate Advisers managing director

This year alone, the environmental organisation has issued a number of allegations against Wilmar: naming them as one of the culprits behind the worst haze in Singapore and Malaysia early in June; calling the company responsible for the loss of tigers and their habitats in a 25-page report titled “A License to Kill”; and most recently – by association with Bumitama, a subsidiary – clearing peatland forests near the Tanjong Puting National Park in Indonesia, among others.


Both Greenpeace and Wilmar and other palm oil industry stakeholders were part of the recently concluded Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development in Singapore, where a high-level palm oil working group session was held and recommendations for the sector were drafted.


Bustar Maitar, head of the Indonesia forest campaign at Greenpeace International, who was also at the event, said: “Wilmar’s policy shows that the sector has a massive problem, and while this policy is great news for forests and tigers, its success will be judged by Wilmar’s actions to implement and enforce it.”


Meanwhile, non-profit The Forest Trust and policy consultancy Climate Advisers were less cautious with their welcome of the policy.


The two organisations, along with Unilever, helped Wilmar develop the corporate social responsibility commitment. The policy was a result of a decade worth of “aggressive and effective” advocacy for responsible palm oil production by global non-profit and non-government groups, said the two partners.


“Six months ago, fires from out-of-control deforestation in Indonesia choked Singapore and much of Southeast Asia – fires made possible by a no-questions-asked palm oil sector. This agreement could mark the start of a new ‘Green Revolution’ that provides the deforestation-free agricultural goods global consumers are increasingly demanding,” said Glenn Hurowitz, managing director of Climate Advisers.


“Today’s announcement by itself transforms the industry,” added TFT executive director Scott Poynton.


“It dwarfs in ambition any previous joint commitment in the sector and raises the bar for responsible global agricultural production. We commend Wilmar for their strong new policy, and now is the time for transparent and verifiable implementation.”


Unilever, for its part, recently embarked on a sustainable palm oil plan in November. They committed that 100 per cent of the palm oil used in their supply chain will be traceable to known sources by the end of 2014.


Wilmar International and Unilever are some of the latest additions to an increasing list of global companies becoming dedicated to zero deforestation, like Nestlé and Ferrero.


“The gauntlet is thrown to other palm oil traders such as Cargill, Musim Mas and Sime Darby to release similar policies,” said Maitar.


Currently, 85 per cent of palm oil is grown in Indonesia, Malaysia and Papua New Guinea, where some of the largest remaining rainforests in the world are, noted TFT and Climate Advisers.


However, in Indonesia, the palm oil sector is the biggest single cause of deforestation, said Greenpeace. And as such, the country is also the third largest source of emissions, next to China and the United States, the eco-group noted.


Getting the Renewable Energy Ball Rolling to Attract More Investment

Posted by Ken on December 16, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Getting the Renewable Energy Ball Rolling to Attract More Investment

A sure sign of the increasing confidence in the financial and economic viability of renewable energy sources is in the investment attracted by clean energy funds. Singapore-based Andrew Affleck of Armstrong Asset Management, in a Bloomberg report,  has estimated investments from its first Southeast Asian clean-energy fund – which closed at $164 million last month – to effectively translate into a $1.2 billion investment. Another sign is the shift in the workforce from fossil fuels to renewables, with the solar industry in the US employing more workers than the coal industry. This XINHUA agency photo at left shows workers cleaning the water of a fish farm in Jianhu county of Yancheng city in eastern China, weaving between photovoltaic modules of a solar farm. A symbolic sign of how two important things – providing food and energy – can be done at the same time, involving the sun and water. Read more

Armstrong’s Asia Fund May Lure $1.2 Billion to Renewables

By Louise Downing for Bloomberg (9 December 2013):

Armstrong Asset Management, a Singapore-based private-equity company, expects investments from its first Southeast Asian clean-energy fund to total as much as $1.2 billion.

The fund will focus on the Philippines, Indonesia and Thailand where renewables policy support is “more advanced,” Armstrong Managing Partner Andrew Affleck said by e-mail. While chiefly interested in solar and mini-hydropower, it’s looking at about 30 projects that also span wind and energy efficiency.

Armstrong is seeking to exploit the growing market for renewables in Southeast Asia as more countries cement targets for emission reductions and incentives for clean-power output. Thailand in July started premium payments, or feed-in tariffs, for solar energy, a system already in place in Malaysia and the Philippines. In June Indonesia opened a solar auction program.

The company’s interest in the region is driven by the “clear need for capital and the gap in the market,” Affleck said. Government targets for clean power and policy measures to strengthen energy security amid rising costs for fossil-fuel power also make the countries attractive, he said.

Armstrong raised $164 million for the fund last month. That, combined with $164 million equity from other fund investors, about $70 million from developers and $800 million in project finance, represents about $1.2 billion of investment, Affleck said. It’s aiming for annual returns of about 20 percent.

The fund will probably invest in small hydropower in the first quarter in either the Philippines or Indonesia or both, Affleck said. It has already made two investments, in Annex Power Ltd. to finance the development of solar and biogas facilities, and in Symbior Elements Pte Ltd. for solar farms.

To contact the reporter on this story: Louise Downing in London at

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at


Moving Above Ground: From Coal Mines to Clean Energy

Emily Hois in Renewable Energy World
August 15, 2013  |

Note from the editor: we couldn’t resist using the article of a few months ago to highlight a very interesting trend in the energy and resources business.

As the number of coal mining jobs continues to decline throughout the U.S., more unemployed miners are finding work above ground — in the clean energy industry, ironically.

A group called The JOBS Project (now Sustainable Williamson) works throughout Central Appalachia to help local communities diversify its energy portfolio and help provide new business opportunities for workers. In February of 2011, the organization celebrated a milestone when a group of unemployed and underemployed coal miners installed rooftop solar panels on a doctor’s office in Williamson, WV. The array is expected to pay for itself within seven years.

Some coal mining families have been plagued with uncertainty since President Obama’s climate change proposal called for a reduction of coal-fired plants throughout the U.S. “It used to be you could do a dirty, hard job like coal mining and feel good about working hard and feeding your family. Now it’s like we’re doing some bad for the country,” a Virginia coal miner told The Daily Beast. As these workers become laid off from the coal mines, many struggle to find dependable work to support their families. This stresses the importance of having organizations step in to help these workers land on their feet in the push toward renewable energy.

Some coal-turned-clean-energy workers are realizing they can earn higher salaries than they did in the mines. Aside from more money, the health benefits of working in clean energy are an additional perk. A report by ScienceBlog predicts that a shift from coal to renewables like wind and solar energy could reduce as many as 1,300 job-related deaths in the next 10 years. Hazardous working conditions combined with the health risks associated with coal mining has made the profession the second most hazardous job in the U.S. with 27.5 deaths per 100,000 workers, ScienceBlog also reported.

In April 2013, the Solar Foundation released a report regarding solar jobs throughout the nation. The findings revealed that the solar energy sector employs 119,000 people in the U.S., and — using figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics — discovered that there are now more workers in the solar industry than there are coal miners.

“The question people in West Virginia keep coming back to has to do with scale,” reveals BBC World News. “Can renewable energy such as solar power provide the same number of jobs and the breadth of economic activity that coal has provided for so many years?”

Despite the resistance from some West Virginians who have relied on coal for economic prosperity for decades, even Williamson Mayor Darrin McCormick is considering solar panels on the city administration building to cut energy costs.

“I see it as a way of diversifying our economy, to increase job opportunities in the technology involved in installing [solar panels],” McCormick said. “Plus, you’re really lengthening our way of life by preserving our natural resources.”



Give it all you’ve got

Posted by Ken on December 16, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Give it all you’ve got

Christmas is a time for giving. Yes, but we don’t think we need to buy and spend excessively on gifts to demonstrate the spirit of Christmas. Let’s consider giving in the way Nelson Mandela has. A lifetime given for others. For peace, for harmony, for freedom and for a future. Some of us might feel we have given quite a lot already. Time and effort. Words and actions. Deeds and commitments. But there is always more to be done. So this last abc carbon express for the year, gives us the opportunity to draw attention to some strong stories – particularly in energy efficiency, clean energy and the business of sustainability – which reinforce the purpose of this publication. But it is also a time to celebrate the end of a fruitful year and to reflect on achievements, milestones and where we could have done more or done it better. But there’s always next year, which is full of promise and purpose, with new and renewed collaborations at home and around the world (see the Last Word for more) and to say thanks to all those we have enjoyed working with to help advance climate change awareness and action, sustainability in all its forms and functions, and a commitment to come clean for a low carbon future. As I have said more than a few times before: Warm Wishes for a Cool Change! – Ken Hickson

Last word: A Year of Wonders!

Posted by Ken on December 16, 2013
Posted under Express 203
Last word:
A Year of Wonders!

It has been a year of joining forces, clearing the air, making a statement (or two) and launching new endeavours. Joining the BE Sustainable Group, promoting the Green Purchasing Network, helping Direct Green get off the ground, forging a new partnership with Enterprise Promotion Centres in Singapore, developing a working relationship with Communicate Blue in Australia, connecting with Clean Tech Australia and ideaship (Ideas for Sustainability) in Japan. They are just some of the significant activities we managed to get underway in 2013. Besides, of course, producing a couple of books – Race for Sustainability and Forty (for Lend Lease) – speaking and attending a few dozen conferences and events, all the while drawing attention to clients like the Clean Energy Fund of Armstrong Asset Management and introducing International Green Innovation’s XFruit as a new bio fuel with great potential.  Talking of events, SASA is involved again as sustainability consultants for i Light Marina Bay (7-29 March 2014) and promoting what will be the very first Blue Cities Forum in Singapore (4-6 June), as a new critical component of Singapore International Water Week. Another new plan for 2014 is a partnership with to help enhance “Asia Pacific’s Sustainable Business Community”.  Read More


A Year of Wonders!

It has been a year of joining forces, clearing the air, making a statement (or two) and launching new endeavours. Here’s a round-up and a run through:

  •          Joining the BE Sustainable Group: After knowing and working with Martin Blake for a few years now, it was a pleasure to “tie-the-knot” and agree to be part of the Be Sustainable group which he founded with Phil Risby. I was asked to, and agreed to, become Regional Director Asia for Be Sustainable. I will do all I can through existing and new connections, to grow Be Sustainable into a force for good in Asia and further afield.
  •         Promoting the Green Purchasing Network: I was asked by Jan Tan if I would help provide some leadership and direction in Singapore for this Network, which has made great strides in Europe, Japan and Taiwan to advance green purchasing, responsible procurement and sustainable supply chains. Already I have spoken at its international conference in Kuala Lumpur and given a talk at the  2013 “Green Summit: The Rise of the Green Economy” in Taipei, Taiwan.
  •        Helping DirectGreen get off the ground: Working with Serve Sondeijker with his ideal to Make Shopping Green and start a sustainability programme that helps both shoppers and sellers work together to green purchases of goods and services and make an impact. Sellers pledge to invest a portion of their sales towards sustainable actions, either as a sustainable investment in their own business or a contribution to a DirectGreen Foundation project. See the article in this issue.  You’ll hear more about this.
  •        Forging a new partnership with Enterprise Promotion Centres in Singapore: We have known and worked with Jan Tan and EPC before, especially at the Eco Products International Fair (EPIF), which she and her team organised earlier this year. SASA and EPC are going to be working closely together to promote sustainable business and a range of activities and events. SASA will also be moving its office from Chinatown to Bukit Merah in February to further the working partnership.
  •         Developing a working relationship with Communicate Blue in Australia: Through Martin Blake and Be Sustainable, we have connected with Sarah-Jane Sherwood in Sydney who owns the specialist communications agency, Communicate Blue.  We have agreed to join forces, not only to promote the Blue Cities Forum, but to help each other in business development and communication programmes, in the process enhancing the reach and results for clients throughout Asia Pacific. The communications arm of SASA, H2PC Asia, will become very closely associated with Communicate Blue in many ways.
  •        Connecting with Clean Tech Australia: This was just part of it, as we also during the year learned of the work of Swiss Clean Tech, the international clean tech network and clusters and the plans for a Clean Tech Marketplace in Singapore. John O’Brien, Founder and Managing Director of Australian Clean Tech, visited Singapore and we learnt of the excellent work he has done at home and abroad to promote clean tech businesses. We are exploring the best ways to enhance the drive for Clean Tech in Singapore and throughout Asia Pacific. Watch this space.
  •         Connecting with ideaship (Ideas for Sustainability) in Japan: It was a pleasure to meet and talk with Daisuke Goto at the Responsible Business Forum. He is doing some great work in Japan as a sustainability consultant and we are exploring ways we can work together. He has already purchased extra copies of my book “Race for Sustainability” to share with important players in Japan.
  •          “Race for Sustainability” – this book came out in October and while I would not be so presumptive to suggest it is taking the world by storm, it is at least getting out there. Besides launches and sales in Singapore – you can buy it at Book Haven and Books Kinokuniya – I discovered it is available practically everywhere, in Europe, North America and Australia, through Amazon, Abe Books and Booktopia. So where-ever you are in the world, you can order it online.  It is also still available in print and as an ebook through the publisher World Scientific. See below.
  •        “Forty: Building a Future in Singapore”:  The book I wrote to mark the 40th anniversary of Lend Lease, came out in August. It was a pleasure to work with this great company and its people, who set such high standards in sustainability, corporate social responsibility and green buildings. You’ll hear much more of the work of Lend Lease, its legacy and its leaders – including Rod Leaver who made it to the 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders list – and Mann Young, who is profiled in the “Race” book.
  •         “The World We Made”: I must make mention of this book by Jonathon Porritt, which I have a copy of and I attended the launch in Singapore earlier this year. Jonathon, who has made his mark far and wide and also through Forum for the Future – which has now set up an office in Singapore – is truly a leader and also on our Global list. The book show us what the world could look like in 2050. It is fiction of course, but Jonathon hopes we all take seriously the challenge before us and make the changes before it is too late.
  •          Speaking and attending a few dozen conferences and events:  This is my lot and I love it! And most of the events have had a run in this newsletter. One I would like to give special mention to was the Forest Certification event organized in Malaysia by PEFC. Not only did I meet a lot of wonderful, committed people, I had a chance to promote and sell copies of my “Race” book, which was, by the way, the first book in Singapore produced on PEFC certified paper and a first for the publisher World Scientific.
  •         Armstrong Asset Management: It has been a pleasure to work with Andrew Affleck and his people to help gain greater awareness for the Clean Energy Fund for South East Asia.  See separate article in this issue. The “Race” book included two chapters referencing Armstrong and its history, so I was delighted when Andrew asked  me to speak at his event ,when he purchased 80-plus copies of the book to give to all attendees and asked me to be on hand to sign them.
  •        International Green Innovation: This  recent client came on board in October  when I was asked by Dato’ Sri Tan Hoe Beng if I would advise on, and promote, the “X Fruit”, which he and his people have developed as a hybrid in Malaysia over the past few years. This plant is seen as a potential replacement or alternative to Palm Oil as it offers three vital ingredients:  aromatic qualities for use in essential oils, hydrocarbons for use as a fuel oil, as well as edible oils. Sounds too good to be true? The X Fruit had its first public outing during Singapore International Energy Week and now energy expert Jeff Obbard (based at National University of Singapore) has started to put its through its paces to see if it really is a new bio fuel with great potential.  Will keep you posted.
  •          i Light Marina Bay: This event is on again (7-29 March 2014) and SASA is once again the appointed sustainability consultancy. It is an example of an a sustainable event which we have been actively promoting and while the Singapore Tourism Board has produced guidelines (see other article on the subject) designed for more MICE or business events, we consider there’s great potential for all events to become more sustainable. And as we say in the “Race” book, even the Formula 1 motor racing event!
  •          Blue Cities Forum in Singapore (4-6 June): We have agreed to support this event and gather in partners and sponsors to be associated with it. It fits in with our new role in Be Sustainable as well as our new alliance with Communicate Blue in Sydney. See article below which appeared in
  • SASA has also agreed to be a “site partner” and “supporting organisation” for this wonderful portal which has become an effective mouthpiece for Asia Pacific’s sustainable business community. This is very much in line with SASA’s objectives and we will make sure we provide effective links between our respective organisations  to promote the issues and opportunities for sustainability, clean energy, energy efficiency, waste managements and all the other important subjects we’re involved in.

So let’s get into 2014 on the right foot. Or both of them!


Blue Cities: Powering the future economy

Report by Jessica Cheam in from  (11 December 2013):

Singapore-based Integrative Design plans to launch the inaugural Blue Cities Index in Singapore to redefine how sustainable cities should work to power the future economy

New Singapore start-up Integrative Design is the brainchild of two Australian sustainability experts, Rodin Genoff and Nigel Grier, who together have a wealth of experience in applying a holistic, integrative approach to designing solutions for buildings and industries.

The duo believes that ‘Blue Cities’ are the next big thing and in such cities, businesses and governments take sustainability to a new level by transforming ways that industries work. These cities practice the principles of author Gunter Pauli’s Blue Economy, which promotes solutions where “the best for health and the environment is cheapest” and where there is no waste.

Integrative Design is part of the be sustainable group of companies specialising in the areas of sustainability consulting, project implementation and financing. Genoff, who is Integrative Design’s global head for strategy and business development, is a ‘cluster development expert’ known for developing business strategies for integrating business and investment opportunities across different industries. He had previously helped the OECD in Paris prepare a study on developing green indicators to measure growth. Genoff, who is also managing director of Rodin Genoff & Associates, works with Australia and Sweden’s governments and industries on developing engineering and mining clusters. He also works with Hub North, Denmark’s wind energy cluster located in Aalborg.

Grier, the firm’s chief executive, considers himself an ecologist, engineer and entrepreneur who has worked in Northern Australia and Asia for 15 years. He formerly set up Australian-based multidisciplinary design and project management practice Zingspace, which integrates the design disciplines of architecture and engineering with construction and operational management.The duo speaks to Eco-Business about what defines a ‘Blue City’ and why they chose to set up in Singapore.

So tell us more about these ‘Blue Cities’. What defines them?

RG: It is important to begin by saying that blue cities are not a competitor to green cities, they are the next stage in development. Think of it as the next belt in martial arts – you still retain the skills from your previous belt but the new knowledge you have acquired enables you to use those skills more efficiently.

Blue cities are borne out of the Blue Economy, a term that Belgium author and entrepreneur Gunter Pauli first coined in 1994. To quote him, it doesn’t matter what it is called but what it does that’s important. You can call it Green Economy 2.0 if you like. A blue city takes the features of a green city and improves them with systems, infrastructure, technologies and governance to enable a smarter and more efficient way of working.

In a blue city there is no waste – not just landfill waste but also no waste of time and resources, as businesses and governments collaborate to share intelligence and innovation, avoiding duplication of efforts. You can see the difference by comparing the efficiency and performance of individual companies and industry clusters with its counterparts globally. For example, Singapore produces some of the world’s most efficient semiconducters per unit of energy. Through a process of collaboration and transparency, companies can create more high-tech products and services. Local businesses can even evolve into micro-multinationals as a result of this collaboration. For example, local engineering companies can create new joint ventures to target new markets by bringing in industrial design, software capabilities etc. This style of working attracts local and global investment and talent.

NG: The values underpinning blue cities are trust and integrity. We’re talking about a highly-collaborative society where companies and people are doing things for each other to improve quality of living, it’s not just about financial transactions.

All too often, sustainable solutions can also have unintended consequences. The company Pauli started – Ecover – for example, used to use palm oil as an environmentally-friendly alternative to toxic, non bio-degradable, synthetic chemicals in household detergent. But the ingredient was also linked to deforestation in Borneo, so Pauli addressed these supply chain issues and started using only sustainably sourced products and began designing the principles around Blue Economy thinking. It looks at each step of the solution to remove these unintended consequences while creating new revenue streams and benefits to the community.

The values underpinning blue cities are trust and integrity. We’re talking about a highly-collaborative society where companies and people are doing things for each other to improve quality of living, it’s not just about financial transactions.

Can you name some examples of cities you think that are ‘blue’?

RG: We believe cities like Singapore and Copenhagen have the biggest potential to become blue cities. They have the essential ingredients, such as high levels of collaboration and social cohesion. Both countries do not have abundant natural resources yet they export their renewable energy, industrial design & software solutions to the world. Their competitive advantage is the high level of collaboration. This encourages social and entrepreneurial interaction to engage citizens and businesses to do transformative work that produces happier, healthier and more productive societies. Singapore has earned a reputation as one the world’s leading innovation and investment hubs, while Copenhagen is ranked as one the world’s greenest cities, in one of the world’s happiest countries.

We believe blue city ecosystems are driven through the interaction of cluster dynamics. For example, in Singapore we witness deep reservoirs of knowledge and knowhow, in high performance clusters like life sciences, electronics and cleantech. The challenge is to also develop horizontal connectivity between these clusters where exciting new products and services can be developed collaboratively.

This is why the future is so interesting. Imagine data visualisation companies collaborating with software, electronics, communications and smart materials companies to bring to life next generation intelligent building and construction projects.

NG: A blue city creates the innovative environment and ecosystem around such different companies and competencies to release this social and market potential which is often locked up in traditional industry silos.

You say Integrative Design is planning a Blue Cities Forum sometime next year and will launch a Blue Cities index. Can you tell us more?

NG: The Blue Cities Forum will take place in the week of the World Cities Summit in Singapore next year to advance sustainability and ‘blue thinking’ in the cities space. 

The forum will provide an opportunity for participants to be involved in developing the Blue Cities Index, to build partnerships, extend capabilities and to understand how to operate in the ‘blue cities market’. We are also producing a special report in which the attendees will be featured. The forum aims to support Singapore with foreign direct investment and spin-off micro-multinationals.

RG: We have developed an overarching architecture for the Blue Cities Index and will be seeking expert insights, prior to and during the forum, so that cities can adapt the index to their own unique requirements. The index will build on the work of the FTSE 4Good Index, and take the criteria used to develop the European Green Capital Award. We will assess indicators, such as liveability and wellness, to ensure that all elements of the Blue Economy are considered. This will involve altering a number of indicators and adding indicators such as industry cluster density, waste free ecosystems and what we are calling Blue City Intelligence.

NG: Many of these indicators have been captured in the past in silosThey have not been gathered as a whole to gain a complete view of the health and economic resilience of a city. That is what the Blue Index will achieve.

We will assess indicators, such as liveability and wellness, to ensure that all elements of the Blue Economy are considered. This will involve altering a number of indicators and adding indicators such as industry cluster density, waste free ecosystems and what we are calling Blue City Intelligence.

Why hold it in Singapore?

RG: We’ve chosen Singapore because we believe that it is ready to take the next step in becoming a Blue City. Singapore has so much going on in the sustainability space. It’s already a global investment and knowledge hub and an intelligent, 21stcentury city because of its structure, size, density and diversity of industrial activity.

We want to invite partners to contribute to the methodology and framework that supports this new blue thinking. It requires us to think about new solutions beyond just greening and reducing carbon emissions.

NG: One indicator of a blue city is transparency and integrity. Singapore is relatively good in some areas and poor in others. For instance, the country has the best portfolio of green buildings, but what’s lacking is transparency in how the green buildings are performing when in operation. So for Singapore to rank highly for resource and energy consumption in building, it needs to be more transparent in disclosing the performance of these buildings and systems. Technology, governance and systems need to be applied here and this is one of the things the index will help to define.

What’s the link between Integrative Design and blue cities? What does the company hope to achieve?

NG: We’re a client-side engineering, design and project management business. Integrative design is the next innovation wave in design methodology and uses a collaborative methodology. Very simply, it means more time is spent by the whole team upfront in the design process to consider the operational performance of the project, whereas traditional methods will spend 10 per cent of a project’s time in the concept stage. ID takes more time upfront, and in doing so, project goals become clearer and less design effort is required at the traditionally more intense stages.

As a result, the design process becomes shorter, there are typically less conflicts and errors and the project team is more aligned to the project goals. It also means that there is often a reduction in capital expenditure of anywhere from five to 12 per cent, and savings of operational expenditure of more than 50 per cent.

Green buildings in Singapore should cost less, not more than traditionally designed buildings when delivered through an integrative design process. These intelligent, efficient and cost-effective ways of working are part of a blue city’s DNA. 

The United World College of Southeast Asia, Tampines campus, was delivered using an Integrative Design approach and is an exemplary facility, achieving the BCA Green Mark Platinum. It is also achieving a high performance in operation and the management has been transparent in how they delivered the project and in disclosing its operational performance, which is available online. Projects like these are ‘blue city projects’.

RG: In the integrative design process, we encourage the sharing of intelligence to create higher performing products and solutions for our clients and stakeholders.

NG Ultimately, we are doers. We do projects and we see ourselves as catalysts in developing new business models. 


Profile: Nelson Mandela

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Nelson Mandela – in death as in life – showed that leadership is a very human activity. It is clear, says Tony Frost, a South Africa leadership strategist and one of own Global Sustain Ability Leaders, had the privilege of spending time with the man they called “Madiba”. It is clear that he wanted a better world for all. The Guardian also hopes that reflections on Mandela’s life will embolden all of us to become “more inspired, audacious, and active in envisioning and working to realise a new set of low carbon set of economies, and in the process, societies”. Read More

Special report to mark the death and life of Nelson Mandela:

ABC Carbon Express Editor Ken Hickson invited Tony Frost, a strategic leadership consultant and a former head of WWF in South Africa, to share his experience of Nelson Mandela and the legacy of the man and the outstanding leader.

Tony met Mandela – and spent the best part of a day with him in 1998 – around the time he announced he would not be standing for a second term as South Africa president.  Tony went to see him to discuss the possibility of building a special school.

From their time together, Tony says he learned a lot about leadership – both style and substance as well as humility. “He never distanced himself from those he led; he drew them close. He never spoke down to people; he treated them as equals” says Tony.

While Mandela’s concern was always for people and their rights, he also showed an interest in the natural world. Tony remarked: “When you spend that amount of time locked away from it (the natural world) you would tend to really appreciate what it has to offer when you get the chance again!”

Please read Tony’s personal account of his encounter, as well as what Guardian Professional has to say about the leadership legacy of Nelson Mandela.


Leadership is a very human activity!

By Tony Frost, Sirocco Strategy Management

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela, the man, died last week. Nelson Mandela, the ideal, will live forever!

So many millions of words are going to be written and spoken about him that I feel at once humbled, and energised, by the thought of adding to the memory of his legacy.

I was one of those extraordinarily fortunate people who met Madiba. Indeed, I spent an entire day with him; just him and I.  Although that is not strictly speaking true. With Madiba you were never truly alone. I guess that was one of the challenging realities of his life.  He could not have had too many moments to himself after his release from Robben Island! And perhaps this was also one of the major sacrifices he made for all of us; his dedication meant that there was always someone wanting him, his time, his energy.

In his presence you felt that there was no-one else in the world more important than you at that moment. And he was so interested in everything about you, and, especially, your family. He was fascinated by South Africans, his countrymen, where they came from, what they were doing to build the nation, how they were educating themselves.

The day I met him I flew to Mthatha and then on to Qunu, to his home. It was early morning. He came out personally to meet me and welcome me. I greeted him in my very broken Xhosa. This made his expressive eyes shine! He asked me where I had learned Xhosa and when I told him that I had learned my little modicum of the language on the other side of the mountains we were facing in the west, he immediately said, “Well then you are a member of the Mthembu clan!” In that way he also drew me in close to him and to his family in such a personal and unique manner.

We can learn so much from these few simple acts – he never distanced himself from those he led; he drew them close. He never spoke down to people; he treated them as equals. He was never too busy or too important to engage with you; he made it personal and intimate.

We had a really busy day and we had much to do and there is so much I learnt about leadership that day that is worth sharing. Suffice to say he was intensely interested in the world around him. He wanted a better world for all. He was abundantly aware of our total dependence on the goods and services provided to us by a very generous Planet.

Fundamentally though, his focus was on his people and the importance of their leaders leading. This is made so clear in the latest movie about his life, ”Long Walk to Freedom”.

He had to make a speech that day to thousands who had walked, driven, and ridden many kilometres to listen to their hero.

When he stood everybody stood. Everybody cheered. Then there was quiet. Silence.

Madiba spoke. He spoke for an hour. No notes. He spoke from his heart with passion and he spoke personally to the crowd.  It was almost as if he speaking to each person directly. He made it clear that he understood their needs and their suffering. He challenged the crowd. He said that they must take on the responsibility of changing their own lives and circumstances. He explained why charity would not help them in the long run. He told them to challenge their leaders to do the right thing and to fight for change for their lives. He explained that their leaders were leaders only to serve the people they were responsible for leading.

He emphasised that we must educate our children.

Perhaps the most important lessons are to be found in his sheer humanity; his ability to make himself ordinary enough for anyone to feel comfortable talking to him; his incredible humility; his wonderful capacity for not listening to the PR about him and to stay grounded and focussed.

And now at the end of an extraordinary life so well lived we are reminded that he lived and died completely in tune with the values he had held dear his whole life – consistent in purpose, honourable in execution right to the end.



Sustainability leaders can learn valuable lessons from Nelson Mandela

Before Mandela was an international statesman, he was a dissident resisting the status quo – sustainability needs more people who question

Sissel Waage in Guardian Professional, (12 December 2013):

The past few days has offered an inspirational series of articles and blogs about Nelson Mandela. His life was certainly worthy of reflection.

Of all the words offered in his memory, those perhaps most essential to remember are those that are most likely to be forgotten. Before he was an internationally-known statesman, he was a dissident, someone who questioned the status quo.

As 2013 ends, along with the end of another set of United Nations climate negotiations, it strikes me that the life and legacy of Mandela offers up deeply resonant insights.

We need more people who are both questioners of the status quo and visionaries, in this case visionaries of climate-compatible economies and businesses that do not bring about the ecosystem malfunction risk that we face today. More highly adept, morally focused negotiators who are uncompromising in a vision of a low-carbon world are vital, and yet open to multiple pathways to bring it into reality. We need more statesmen and stateswomen who are laser-focused on the end vision of a climate-compatible society and economy.

In addition, these leaders must remain focused on climate-friendly economies while understanding the essential roles of compelling personal stories that go hand in hand with clear symbols of unity and common experiences to rally around. We need leaders who will play a role in supporting and proudly co-creating climate-friendly communities, economies, and societies – which can reform everyone’s sense of not only what is possible, but what is desirable. Think of Mandela’s engagement with the South African World Cup rugby victory, recently depicted in the film Invictus.

The reality is that many more people must use their energies in a far greater range of ways to stop producing so much carbon and greenhouse gases. We need to maintain the natural sources of storing carbon and greenhouse gases such as in forests, peatlands, soils, and many other well-functioning natural ecosystems.

There’s need for leaders who support the many existing approaches for addressing deforestation and embracing incentives that keep forests standing, such as REDD+. Simply put, we need more people joining the “low carbon parade” – some quietly effecting change, and others noisily demanding it as well as creating it.

We need people who are holding up a mirror and reminding us – like Mandela did – that to be fully human is to embrace the ideals that are sacred not just in many constitutions around the world, but in tenets that inform families, friendships, and even communities. It is this humanity that Mandela embodied.

Ultimately, climate change is about disenabling life as we know it on this planet. Those deemed dissidents (even troublemakers) are people who are laying out audacious visions and acting to see them realised. In the case of climate change, these visions of the future include: energy efficiencies; power from renewable sources; economies that have replaced toxic chemicals, fossil fuels, and large-scale ecosystem destruction, with renewable, healthy inputs; and economic relationships that pay wages so people can care for themselves and their families without additional government support.

Many of the puzzle pieces exist and have been shown at small scale. Now, it is about scaling up and transitioning. And just because there is no detailed blueprint for how to achieve the full vision, does mean it lacks validity. Just as a lack of clarity in 1964 around how to transition to an integrated South Africa did not invalidate Mandela’s, the ANC’s, or others’ vision for the future of the nation.

Mandela’s legacy begs the question: what is the vision toward which we each (individually and collectively) are working? Is it inclusive and forward looking or is it something more limited? Are we acting to move towards the realisation of a stable, relatively predictable climate with robust, resilient ecosystems and economic systems?

And what does this mean for business? It is more simple than it may appear. And it is more evident than it might seem, at least in assertions and goals set by some corporate leaders. The key is spread of corporate support for goals as well as strongly incentivising implementation.

Simply put, being a low carbon business champion means that companies set at least carbon neutral, or even carbon negative, goals. It means that corporate leaders set no net impact, or net positive impact, goals, in terms of biodiversity, water, and ecosystem services, as well as in terms of net positive social impacts. It means that companies are serious about measuring, internally taxing, avoiding, and aggressively managing – as well as designing out of the system – all such impacts. Perhaps none of these aims are unachievable. Yet, all currently live in corporate boardrooms and corporate policies.

Many companies now have a carbon neutral goal. Kingfisher, among others, has net positive impact goals. Coca Cola has a net positive impact on water goal. Puma is measuring environmental profits and losses. Microsoft has an internal carbon tax. The list goes on. Some days it feels that you no longer need to read the Onion to end up scratching your head and asking ‘Is that so?’

The take-away should be that the parade of people who question the status quo is growing. It also needs to grow far more, and accelerate leapfrog action – that moves us quickly, within this decisive decade, to a low carbon set of societies and economies.

The questioners of the status quo (even the troublemakers) are beginning to appear all around us – just as research has shown the importance of action at all levels of society to effecting large-scale societal change.

I hope that reflections on Mandela’s life will embolden all of us to become the people who see and hold all of humanity. To do so, in an era of climate change means becoming more inspired, audacious, and active in envisioning and working over the next decade to realise a new set of low carbon set of economies and in the process societies.

Sissel Waage is the director of biodiversity and ecosystems services atBSR


Right Royal Time For Business Leadership

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Not for the first time we are seeing some prime examples of where the business community is taking its rightful place a leader  in the global drive for sustainability. There’s United Nations acknowledgement too, as the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) advances its Action2020 plan  to create a powerful roadmap for scaling up sustainable business action and now the Chief Financial Officers of some of Europe’s pre-eminent corporations have joined forces in a Network aimed at embedding environmental and social issues into company strategy and finances, with a little Royal endorsement  from the Prince of Wales. Read More


European business leaders unite to put sustainability at the heart of company decision making

From Clarence House (12 December 2013):

European business leaders unite to put sustainability at the heart of company decision making

New leadership network established by HRH The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project to lead the drive for resilient business

The Chief Financial Officers of some of Europe’s pre-eminent corporations have joined forces in a Network aimed at embedding environmental and social issues into company strategy and finances.

The Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network, established by the Accounting for Sustainability (A4S) Project, founded by HRH The Prince of Wales, is the first grouping of its kind to focus on the role CFOs play in integrating environmental and social issues into financial decision making. There is a growing commercial imperative for businesses to take these factors into account if they are to future-proof their organisations; and there is now clear evidence that companies which address environmental and social issues deliver improved commercial returns.

The Network will be launched this afternoon (12th Dec) at the eighth A4S Annual Forum. His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has welcomed the formation of the network. The Prince said:

“C.F.O.s have a vital role to play in making sure their businesses thrive, not just today, but tomorrow and into the future.  The bottom line is that sustainable business equals good business.  I am therefore delighted that the A4S Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network will play a key role not only in communicating why sustainability makes business sense, but how to start accounting for it.  Our children and grandchildren are depending on it.”

At the launch, the A4S Executive Chairman, Jessica Fries, will chair a panel discussion featuring the A4S CFO Leadership Network Co-Chairs, John Rogers (CFO, Sainsbury’s) and Pierre-André Terisse (CFO, Danone) and Network member Rolf-Dieter Schwalb, CFO, Royal DSM.

Member organisations joining the Network are: Anglian Water, BUPA, Burberry Group, British Land, The Crown Estate, Danone, Royal DSM, Marks & Spencer, National Grid, Sainsbury’s, SSE, South West Water, Unilever, United Utilities, Walmart EMEA and Yorkshire Water.

The Network has come together to demonstrate leadership on how companies should respond to challenges including climate change, a rising and ageing global population, rapid urbanisation, and increased consumption. All these issues are putting unprecedented pressure on natural resources and the fabric of society.

The Chief Financial Officer Leadership Network will focus on developing and sharing successful strategies so these become the ‘norm’ across all businesses. This will include improved modelling of future risk and uncertainty as well as engagement with investors and other stakeholders to increase their understanding of the commercial benefits of sustainable business models.

John Rogers, Co-Chair of the A4S CFO Leadership Network and CFO of Sainsbury’s said:

“HRH The Prince of Wales has rightly recognised the vital importance of bringing sustainability issues into the very heart of corporate governance and accounting. What used to be seen as greenwash needs to become as natural to company finance teams as it is to CR departments or even NGOs. I’m pleased to be co-chairing this significant new initiative and urge my counterparts in business and public organisations to contribute their skills and experience to the A4S CFO Leadership Network.”

The Network will be extended globally during the course of 2014.

1. The CFO Leadership Network members are:

  • Scott Longhurst, Managing Director of Finance & Non Regulated Business, Anglian Water
  • Evelyn Bourke, Chief Financial Officer, BUPA
  • Carol Fairweather, Chief Financial Officer, Burberry Group
  • Pierre-André Terisse, Chief Financial Officer, Danone (Co-Chair)
  • John Rogers, Chief Financial Officer,  J Sainsbury (Co-Chair)
  • Rolf-Dieter Schwalb, Chief Financial Officer, Royal DSM
  • Alan Stewart, Chief Finance Officer, Marks and Spencer
  • Andrew Bonfield, Finance Director, National Grid
  • Susan Davy, Finance and Regulatory Director, South West Water
  • Gregor Alexander, Finance Director, SSE
  • Lucinda Bell, Finance Director, The British Land Company
  • John Lelliott, Director of Finance and Information Systems, The Crown Estate
  • Russ Houlden, Chief Financial Officer, United Utilities
  • Jean-Marc Huët, Chief Financial Officer, Unilever
  • Richard Mayfield, Chief Financial Officer, Walmart EMEA
  • Liz Barber, Group Director of Finance and Regulation, Yorkshire Water

2. About the CFO Leadership Network Charter

The Network has set its agenda through a Charter, which states its ambitions. The Charter sets out the Network’s objectives, which are:

  • To support the CFO community in the creation of sustainable business models through strengthening skills, competencies and abilities
  • To share insights, challenges and opportunities to accelerate progress towards accounting for sustainability and collaborate with others to increase the reach and impact of Network activities where opportunities exist
  • To work together to develop new tools, methodologies and approaches where required in order to embed sustainability into internal decision making processes
  • To influence the environment within which organisations operate through engagement with investors and other stakeholders

The Charter sets out the work which the Network will be undertaking in its first twelve months, which includes:

  • Developing guidance to improve transparency in decision making including ways to embed sustainability into capital expenditure appraisal
  • Contributing to the development of improved methodologies for the measurement and valuation of natural and social capital in order that they can be taken into account in decision making processes
  • Improving investor engagement on the commercial benefits of sustainable business models

3. About The Prince of Wales’s Accounting for Sustainability Project (A4S)

Accounting for Sustainability was set up by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2004 “to help ensure that we are not battling to meet 21st century challenges with, at best, 20th century decision-making and reporting systems.”

A4S works with the finance, accounting and investor community to build a sustainable, resilient economy.  It works to:

  • Demonstrate the business case for organisations to integrate measures of environmental health, social well-being and economic performance into decision making, accounting and reporting.
  • Develop the systems, tools and guidance and build capacity among the accounting, finance and investor community to enable action to be taken to develop sustainable business models.
  • Facilitate the creation of an enabling environment for change.



Geneva, December 10 2013— The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) is pleased to be acknowledged as a key partner, along with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), in a new resolution adopted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Committee on Economics and Finance.

In the resolution adopted last Friday, entitled “Towards global partnerships: A principle-based approach to enhanced cooperation between the United Nations and all relevant partners”, the UN “… welcomes the collaboration of the United Nations Global Compact with the Global Reporting Initiative and the World Business Council on Sustainable Development,” in helping to:

-       Promote the importance of corporate sustainability reporting;

-       Encourage companies to consider integrating sustainability information into their reporting cycle; and

-       Encourage industry to develop models for best practice and facilitate action for the integration of sustainability reporting, taking into account already existing frameworks, and paying particular attention to the needs of developing countries.

The WBCSD is already leading in several activities to support these objectives. In September, the WBCSD and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) collaborated in the launch of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) post-2015 “Business Engagement Architecture”. This architecture illustrates the main building blocks necessary to enhance corporate sustainability as an effective contribution to sustainable development, creating value for both business and society.

“The WBCSD’s new Action2020 plan is completely in line with the UNGC business engagement architecture, and bringing these initiatives together creates a powerful roadmap for scaling up sustainable business action in a very meaningful way,” said Carina Larsfalten, Chief International Relations Officer for the WBCSD.

GRI Deputy Chief Executive Teresa Fogelberg added, “This resolution underlines the hugely important role that the partnership between our three organizations can play in advancing the contribution of the private sector to the global goal of sustainable development.

“A key factor will be the need for businesses to demonstrate accountability and transparency by publicly disclosing their sustainability impacts, according to widely accepted guidelines. GRI will work withUNGC and the WBCSD to develop private sector guidance to help companies enhance their sustainability management and reporting with a view to sustainable development goals and targets.”

The WBCSD has also recently launched its first Reporting Matters – WBCSD 2013 Baseline Report,which is one of the largest independent research projects of corporate non-financial reporting. Using a set of qualitative criteria, the WBCSD conducted a review of 175 of its members’ sustainability reports to shed light on effective non-financial reporting practices and offer a pool of inspirational examples to stimulate the sharing of best practices.


The Heat is On, as Solar Hits Global Highs

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Solar energy is blazing its way through the global energy mix. 2013 will go down as the best year for the US solar industry, installing more solar capacity than even world leader Germany. With that comes new jobs, money saved, lower greenhouse gases emissions and energy security. Australia now has installed capacity hitting 3GW, much of it from household rooftop installations. This is expected to save home owners over A$1.1 billion on their electricity bills per year. The largest grid-connected solar power system in Australia has also recently come online, generating 100kW. Read more

US to Surpass Germany in Solar in 2013; 930 MW Installed in Q3

The second-best quarter for U.S. solar—and the best quarter for U.S. residential solar.

By Mike Munsell for Greentech Media (10 December 2013):

GTM Research and the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA®) today released U.S. Solar Market Insight Q3 2013, the definitive analysis of solar power markets in the U.S., with strategic state-specific data for 28 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.

The U.S. installed 930 megawatts of photovoltaics (PV) in Q3, 2013, up 20 percent over Q2 2013 and 35 percent over Q3 2012. This represents the second-largest quarter in the history of the U.S. market and the largest quarter ever for residential PV installations. Even more importantly, 2013 is likely to be the first time in more than fifteen years that the U.S. installs more solar capacity than world leader Germany, according to GTM Research forecasts.

“Without a doubt, 2013 will go down as a record-shattering year for the U.S. solar industry,” said Rhone Resch, SEIA president and CEO. “We’ve now joined Germany, China and Japan as worldwide leaders when it comes to the installation of new solar capacity. This unprecedented growth is helping to create thousands of American jobs, save money for U.S. consumers, reduce pollution nationwide and lessen our dangerous dependence on often-unstable foreign energy supplies. When it comes to preparing for America’s future, clean, dependable and affordable solar energy has become ‘The Little Engine That Could,’ defying expectations and powering economic growth — and frankly, we’re just scratching the surface of our industry’s enormous potential.”

The residential market continues to see the most rapid growth of any segment in the U.S. PV market. Through Q3, residential PV installations were up 49 percent year-over-year, driven largely by progressive state renewable energy initiatives. The non-residential (commercial) market has seen the most difficulty this year with installations forecasted to stay flat over last year. The utility market continues its consistently strong installation numbers and is forecasted to exceed 1 gigawatt of installations next quarter, including Abengoa’s Solana, the world’s largest parabolic trough concentrating solar power (CSP) plant. This will be the first time any individual market segment has hit that mark.

“Solar is the second-largest source of new electricity capacity in the U.S. this year, trailing only natural gas,” said Shayle Kann, Vice President of Research at GTM. “As solar continues its march toward ubiquity, the market will require continued innovation, efficiency improvement and regulatory clarity. But already the groundwork has been laid for a mainstream solar future.”

At the state level, California continues to lead the solar PV charge, installing 455 megawatts in Q3. North Carolina moved into the No. 3 spot in total PV installations with 23 percent growth over last quarter. Other movers and shakers on the state rankings list include Nevada (moving from 17 to 5) and Vermont (from 21 to 12).

Looking at the U.S. solar market on the whole, U.S. Solar Market Insight: Q3 2013 forecasts nearly 5 gigawatts of PV and CSP will be installed during 2013. Installations have already surpassed the 10 gigawatts cumulative benchmark, and by the end of the year more than 400,000 solar projects will be operating across the country.

Key Report Findings

  • PV installations reached 930 megawatts in Q3 2013, up 20 percent over Q2 2013. This represents the second-largest quarter for solar installations in U.S. history
  • The utility solar sector represented more than half of new PV capacity installed, but the residential market also showed impressive growth with 12 percent expansion over Q2
  • The non-residential market  remains flat; however, we anticipate a strong resumption of growth in 2014
  • 2013 may be the first year in recent history in which the U.S. installs more solar capacity than Germany
  • Blended average PV system prices fell 4.2 percent in Q3 2013, reaching a new low of $3.00 per watt
  • We forecast that the U.S. will install 4.3 gigawatts of new PV in 2013, up 27 percent over 2012
  • The 392 megawatts Ivanpah CSP project is scheduled to begin delivering electricity to the grid before the end of 2013


About U.S. Solar Market Insight®:

U.S. Solar Market Insight® is a quarterly publication of the Solar Energy Industries Association® (SEIA)® and GTM Research. Each quarter, we survey nearly 200 installers, manufacturers, utilities, and state agencies to collect granular data on photovoltaic (PV) and concentrating solar. This data constitutes the backbone of the U.S. Solar Market Insight® report, in which we identify and analyze trends in U.S. solar demand, manufacturing, and pricing by state and market segment. We also use this analysis to look forward and forecast demand over the next five years. As the U.S. solar market expands, we hope that U.S. Solar Market Insight® will provide an invaluable decision making tool for installers, suppliers, investors, policymakers and advocates alike.



Australia Hits 3GW Of Solar Capacity

From Energy Matters (5 December 2013):

A sea of solar rooftops has formed across Australia, with uptake driven not by large companies developing major solar farms; but by households looking to slash their electricity bills.

Analysis performed by SunWiz shows 1.2 million homes now have solar panel systems – approximately 14% of dwellings in Australia.

Queensland has the largest number (360,000) and capacity (986MW), with South Australia being the state with the highest saturation (25%).

While there has been a substantial drop in the number of installations in the last 18 months, households are continuing to join the rooftop revolution as affordability is better than ever.

“The consumer is getting a bargain, and using the low prices to up-size their system to now average 4.3kW in capacity, and the most popular system size has leaped from 1.5kW to 3kW or 5kW depending on which state you live in,” says SunWiz.

It’s not just households increasingly cottoning on to the fact solar provides power cheaper than from the mains grid. Commercial solar is also taking off, with 5% of recently installed systems larger than 8kW capacity.

The Clean Energy Council says that according to figures from the Clean Energy Regulator, the 3 gigawatts of solar power installed will generate more than 4000 gigawatt-hours of electricity over the next year.

National solar provider Energy Matters says the systems will collectively save owners over $1.1 billion on their electricity bills a year based on current electricity prices – or more than $3 million a day.

In addition to helping to rein in the price of wholesale electricity, these solar power systems will also significantly reduce strain on mains grid infrastructure during the most energy intensive time of the year – the summer months when air-conditioning places massive demand on networks.

More than $11 billion has been spent on energy infrastructure in Australia that is only used four days out of every year – primarily due to the impact of air-conditioners.



EnviroGroup Installs Australia’s Largest Grid-Connected Enphase Microinverter Project in Conjunction with Yingli Solar

Glenlyn Aged Care Facility to power 50 percent of its energy needs with solar power

From Financial Mirror (11 December 2013):

PETALUMA, Calif.–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Enphase Energy, Inc. (NASDAQ:ENPH), today announced that EnviroGroup, a specialist provider of renewable energy products and systems for commercial applications, government clients and residential home owners, has successfully installed Australia’s largest grid-connected solar power system with Enphase microinverters, in conjunction with Yingli Green Energy, known as “Yingli Solar”, at the Glenlyn Aged Care Facility in Glenroy, Victoria.

This 100kW installation is expected to generate over 392kWh of solar energy daily – which is approximately 50 percent of Glenlyn’s electricity requirements – to power the center’s operational and cooling facilities, particularly in periods of peak daytime demand.

EnviroGroup has installed 399 Yingli Solar high efficiency multicrystalline panels with Enphase microinverters attached to each individual panel. The microinverters communicate over existing power lines with the Envoy Communications Gateway, which reports production data to the Enphase Enlighten software platform. Enlighten closely monitors the performance of the entire solar system to ensure it is operating at maximum efficiency. This is an added measure designed to protect the facility’s investment in solar PV.

This installation was designed and configured by EnviroGroup in close consultation with Enphase to meet the highly regulated requirements imposed on aged care facilities. By pairing Enphase microinverters with Yingli Solar PV panels, EnviroGroup expects Glenlyn to achieve annual energy production of 124.5MWh and to reduce its annual carbon emissions by 163 tons a year.

Cameron Munro, CEO of EnviroGroup, said, “Glenlyn Aged Care Facility approached us with very specific requirements as they needed a solar system that could fit within the design of their rooftop, which has limited internal space to locate solar inverters. Having residents in care, we had to complete the installation of the project within a very tight timeframe and without any interruptions to their power supply.

“EnviroGroup was confident in recommending Yingli Solar and Enphase as these companies have a proven track record in providing quality products and maximizing yield efficiency. I am confident this solution will offer Glenlyn a significant return on investment right from the start,” Mr. Munro added.

Nicole Sandhaus, manager of the Glenlyn Aged Care, said, “With increasing electricity bills, solar power is a sensible alternative as it will help us to manage our operating costs and reduce Glenlyn’s impact on the environment. EnviroGroup took the time to understand our needs and delivered a solution that we believe will meet or exceed our expectations.”

Daman Cole, commercial director for Yingli Green Energy in Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific, said, “With Yingli Solar’s wealth of experience as the world’s largest solar panel manufacturer, our panels are renowned for quality and high energy yields, resulting in lower long-term costs. We are delighted to be working with EnviroGroup and Enphase to rollout our first aged care facility project in Australia.”

Bill Rossi, CMO of Enphase Energy, said, “As the largest array using Enphase technology in Australia, this installation demonstrates the value our system brings to commercial solar projects in diverse regions across the globe. Our intelligent monitoring and analysis software offers assurance to EnviroGroup and the Glenlyn facility that the system is performing optimally from any web-enabled device, anywhere in the world.”

The Glenlyn Aged Care Facility project was developed by EnviroGroup’s in-house engineering team who were responsible for completing the system design, electrical design, grid connection and phase balancing.


About Enphase Energy, Inc.

Enphase Energy delivers microinverter technology for the solar industry that increases energy production, simplifies design and installation, improves system uptime and reliability, reduces fire safety risk and provides a platform for intelligent energy management. Our semiconductor-based microinverter system converts energy at the individual solar module level and brings a systems-based, high technology approach to solar energy generation. Connect with Enphase on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

About EnviroGroup

EnviroGroup is a specialist provider of renewable energy products and systems for commercial applications, government clients and residential home owners. Founded in 2004, EnviroGroup is a leading authority in sustainable technology, with a team of expert engineers and installers delivering projects Australia wide. In addition, its retail division EnviroShop offers a large range of equipment, services and sustainability products to a growing client base. When you engage with EnviroGroup you are accessing a skill set that is unrivalled in the energy industry. Our ability to research, plan and implement large scale renewable energy solutions allows our clients to achieve a significant competitive advantage. Visit our website or contact us directly on 1300 430 430.

About Yingli Green Energy

Yingli Green Energy Holding Company Limited (NYSE:YGE), known as “Yingli Solar,” is the world’s largest photovoltaic module manufacturer in terms of production capacity and shipments. With 2,450 MW of vertically-integrated annual production capacity, Yingli Green Energy’s manufacturing covers the photovoltaic value chain from ingot casting and wafering through solar cell production and module assembly. Headquartered in Baoding, China, Yingli Green Energy has more than 20 regional subsidiaries and branch offices and has distributed more than 7,000 MW PV modules to customers worldwide. For more information please visit and join the conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Weibo.

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Greater Energy Efficiency Benefits on the Road and Factory Floor

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

As if to highlight how important it is to plan to electrify urban transport systems, comes the message from EV World of two years of research done in Belguim showing “plug-to-wheel efficiency” of electric cars averaging 54.12% compared to petrol or diesel vehicles. And the importance of energy efficiency on the industrial front gets a good airing in an article from Australia’s PACE Magazine, along with comments from Singapore-based energy advisor Adrian Bukmanis. Read More


The Remarkable Energy Efficiency of Electric Cars

Five Peugeot Ions drive over 42,000 miles in two year-long test to measure their energy efficiency.

Eworld Newswire (12 December 2013):

A Belgium research group called Laborelec, with support from Brussels’ Vrije University, set out two years ago to collect extensive data on the energy use of electric cars. Funded by Electrabel, the Belgian utility, they acquired five Peugeot Ion EVs, essentially clones of Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV, some 30,000 of which have been sold worldwide.

Various volunteers drove the mini-cars for a total of 42,953 miles, onboard sensors collecting reams of data on energy use from how much power propelled the cars to how much regenerative braking contributed to added driving range.

The results are impressive. Measured in watt hours per mile, the five cars averaged, respectively: 289.62 ; 336.28 ; 249.39 ; 291.23 ; 299.27. Collectively for the five car fleet, the average came out to be 293.16 wH/m. Assuming there are some 34,000 Watt hours of energy in a gallon of gasoline, that works out to be the equivalent of 115 miles per gallon in real world daily operation, not on some isolated test track or laboratory dynamometer.

The researchers also found that regenerative braking helped improve the efficiency of the fleet by an 11.86%. The biggest draw down the study found was the energy needed to provide the driver and passengers with cabin heat. Early cars used current-sucking resistive heat, but carmakers have shifted now to more efficient heat pump systems. Overall the percentage of energy diverted to run the support systems worked out to be, again respectively: 40.1 ; 35.8 ; 21.6 ; 22.0 ; 36.4.

But even at this rate, the cars proved dramatically more efficient than either their gasoline/petrol or diesel counterparts. In terms of their plug-to-wheel efficiency they averaged, as a fleet a rate of 54.12%.

Apparently, one of the test drivers was so impressed with the performance of his company electric car, he went out and bought one for himself.



Industrial Energy efficiency is the focus

In drawing on an excellent article in PACE Magazine on a maximizing energy efficiency in the industrial sector, we asked our resident advisor on energy issues and opportunities Adrian Bukmanis of Energenz – one of our 100 Global Sustain Ability Leaders too – for his comments.

He draws attention to important points made in the conclusion of the article that “there is still a knowledge gap, with many end-users not aware how to utilise the data gathered from energy monitoring systems to actually save costs.

Adrian says this resonates with his own experience where – as the article concludes –  “energy monitoring and management products are not used effectively as the there is a gap between the raw data and the useful, or the understandable, information that is required by decision-makers” .

“It is one thing to collect data but it also requires interpretation to unlock the true value”, Adrian says. “Just as it is important to get the right data and, it is important to engage providers that understand energy and energy management. Not all software vendors have this approach.

Final word from Adrian: “This also leads into the differentiation between just monitoring, which is common place, to measuring energy performance by ensuring that energy use is mapped against the production output or other factors that influence consumption”.

Getting the right advice and getting the right software in place is obviously so important. But so is having people with the expertise to draw attention to equipment, systems and processes where genuine energy savings can be made. This seems to lead to the total solution.

Now read the article and be inspired to do a better job of energy efficiency in all ways.

By Staff Writers in the PACE 60-year Anniversary Series: Energy Management (12 December 2013):

The beginnings of energy conservation can be traced back to the late 1800s, when Lord Kelvin, a British mathematician and engineer, claimed ‘to measure is to know’. This image shows a historical control room from 1898.

With Australia’s first carbon tax introduced last year and energy prices rising by the month, there has never been a better time to assess factory equipment running costs.

And, with the sheer focus on energy efficiency by the government and consumers today, you could be excused for thinking it a new idea.

However, just like the act of reducing material waste, energy efficiency – or using less power to perform the same tasks – has been a desirable means to reduce plant running costs and ‘do more with less’ for decades.

According to Honeywell Process Solutions (HPS) pacific director, Garry Mahoney, the concept of measuring industrial energy usage has actually been around for 40 years.

“In the mid-1970s, the advent of microprocessor-based technology enabled a step-change in real-time control, reporting and management of site electrical maximum demand,” he told PACE.

Mahoney has been working in the instrumentation and automation fields for over 35 years, starting off his career in the minerals processing and smelting industry before joining HPS in 1981.

He claims though microprocessors allowed more control and reporting of the energy used in industrial environments, companies didn’t really begin to focus efforts on becoming more ‘energy efficient’ until the last couple of decades.

“Energy monitoring and management have become a major focus for our customers, which wasn’t the case at all 10 or 15 years ago. Now, nearly 50% of Honeywell’s products are linked to energy efficiency,” he said.

According to Mahoney, the energy monitoring and management products and systems on the market today are significantly more sophisticated than offerings from even 10 years ago, reflecting how focused on this area industry has become.

“An example of such a solution is Honeywell’s Energy Management Systems – a portfolio of hardware, software and services to help improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in energy intensive industrial processes,” Mahoney explained.

“This can be tailored to meet the customer’s needs, allowing them to benefit from better energy reporting and management throughout their operations to deliver increased profitability.”

Better management with automation and control

ABB Australia senior product engineer, Ian Richardson, believes the concept of energy measurement has actually been around for even longer – since the 1800s – though he agrees it wasn’t until much more recently that industry truly embraced the idea.

“William Thompson, 1st Baron Kelvin, known as Lord Kelvin (1824–1907) is considered the father of electrical measurement and once stated ‘to measure is to know’. This phrase is a cornerstone of modern energy conservation for, without measuring consumption, we cannot determine if the energy efficiency concepts that are implemented are truly effective,” he told PACE.

“Energy management and energy efficiency gained greater focus around the time of privatisation of the energy markets in Australia. Energy conservation was always seen as a good thing to do and, in certain market sectors, having a ‘green’ policy towards energy was given some importance.

“As the energy market developed, and following global trends, energy prices began to increase, which presented the economic argument for consumers to be more aware of their energy usage.

“In the 1990s businesses began to become interested in measuring their energy consumption with the view of understanding their load profile and having the ability to manage their demand.”

Richardson, who has been involved in the manufacturing, automation and process control fields for over 35 years, agrees energy monitoring and management systems have advanced dramatically over the last couple of decades.

“Once simple, energy meters can now provide a vast array of information, including load profile data, time of day usage, power quality analysis and numerous electrical parameters from a single inexpensive device,” he explained.

“In the early times we could measure consumption relatively easily and make decisions on our demand profile in a fairly manual way. Today, we can have preset parameters for an automated system to operate and manage a load profile including automatic load shedding of non-priority loads or adjusting loads to slightly reduce demand under a load threshold, while still maintaining production or building comfort levels, depending upon the application.”

Richardson believes the key to modern energy management systems is the ability for greater control in a fully-automated way.

“In a building application it is possible to reduce illumination levels by a small percentage that is often undetectable, or lower a building temperature setpoint by one degree during a peak demand cycle. A one degree change of the setpoint could translate to a 6% energy saving of the air conditioning plant consumption on some systems,” he said.

The rise of energy consultants

Though you’d be hard-pressed to find a manufacturing or processing plant in Australia today that isn’t focused in some way on reducing costs through finding efficiencies, energy efficiency technologies are still fairly immature, according to Schneider Electric (Australia) energy consultant in professional services, Eric Xu.

Xu began his engineering career in an electrical vehicle R&D company in China, and has spent over 11 years working around the manufacturing and processing industries. He believes he witnessed an important event – the beginnings of a new wave of energy efficiency consulting services – when he joined Schneider Electric in 2005.

“I can still remember my first job in Schneider Electric China; it was to commission an energy monitoring system that also supported the data uploading and remote analysis. Despite the internet-access difficulties of that time, we successfully delivered a two-year project reporting quarterly energy consumption analyses with European colleagues,” Xu told PACE.

“This could be deemed the start of the evolution of energy consultancy services Schneider Electric offers today, which include energy procurement services, consultancy and advocacy, and software solutions.”

Xu says improved data visualisation and analysis capabilities, and cloud-based technology, have both contributed to the development of energy management systems.

“The ability to capture aggregated data from disparate systems, and analyse raw energy data against the process, provides a more enhanced view into the operations and efficiency of the plant. This information can be tailored to specific users such as from site engineers to C-level managers who may have limited knowledge of the electrical system,” he explained.

“The other development is the introduction of the cloud-based software as a service (SaaS) concept. This advancement results in reduced implementation and operation costs, scalability and future proofing, but also allows interaction with energy consulting services.

“Energy monitoring to produce reports is no longer a sufficient outcome by itself. Energy monitoring at the sub meter level in a manufacturing or processing plant will remain the backbone of energy efficiency and will provide the necessary discrimination to integrate both process and energy data.

“The shift to specialised energy services and practical outcomes is more evident than ever before. Industry end-users are engaging with consultants and knowledge experts around verification and international and local standards.”

According to Xu however, there is still a knowledge gap, with many end-users not aware how to utilise the data gathered from energy monitoring systems to actually save costs.

“In most cases the energy monitoring and management products are not used effectively as the there is a gap between the raw data and the useful, or the understandable, information that is required by decision-makers,” he said.

“Thus, professional consultancy services are both necessary and valuable, filling the gap and assisting end-users build-up their own capabilities. The energy monitoring and management products themselves should take more critical roles in the site’s daily operation, and are able to bring more benefits to the site/facility management.”


Green and Blue All Over: Plants, Power, Private & Public

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

Singapore’s position at the vanguard of the global green revolution owes its place not just to progressive regulatory vision, but close partnerships between the private and public sector. Keeping true to the country’s history of greening efforts, the National Parks Board and property firm City Development Ltd jointly developed two new facilities at the Singapore Botanic Gardens, including a certified green building incorporating the best innovations in green design. And putting his money where his mouth is, is the sustainability manager of power generation company YTL Power Seraya, whose exemplary action leads to a culture of sustainability not just within the company but also its customers. Read more

First zero-energy green gallery opens at Singapore Botanic Gardens

The National Parks Board and property firm City Developments Ltd opens two new facilities in the Singapore Botanic Gardens, which includes a certified green building that also promotes the country’s history of greening efforts

By Elga Reyes for (4 December 2013):

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong on Saturday opened two new facilities at the Singapore Botanic Gardens – the SBG Heritage Museum and the CDL Green Gallery – built by the National Parks Board and Singapore-listed City Developments Limited (CDL).

Both buildings, located at the Holttum Lawn, commemorate Singapore’s 50 years of greening initiatives and the property firm’s 50th anniversary. The CDL Green Gallery is Singapore’s first zero-energy gallery.

Speaking at the launch, Lee said: “I think it is right that we make a special effort to preserve this as part of our heritage. So we built this Botanic Gardens Heritage Museum in Holttum Hall, which is, I think the building behind us – where the former Director Eric Holttum used to work. It captures the Gardens’ long and wonderful journey and I am very happy that we will be opening the Museum today.”

The opening marked the start of more than 50 activities to be held until December 15 that encourages the public to join the golden anniversary celebrations and increase their awareness on Singapore’s environmental and conservation efforts.

Lee also announced the expansion of green spaces in Singapore, such as the Botanic Gardens and the Tengah Nature Way which will connect up the Bukit Timah and Central Catchment Nature.

“We may not be able to have such large parks like the Istana all over Singapore and also we cannot afford to preserve every single green patch on this little island. But we are determined that we will leave green lungs and natural spaces all over the city, as we build our city. We can do that and we will do that. So that our people can be in touch with nature, never far from green spaces and blue waters,” he said.

The new buildings will showcase the “Living in a Garden” exhibition presenting the evolution of the greening of Singapore, as well as the Singapore Botanic Gardens’ 154-year history.

The CDL Green Gallery particularly encapsulates the progress Singapore has achieved, as it has an innovative design enabling minimal disruption to the site, said CDL.

The one-storey building also uses a prefabricated modular system and a biomaterial called Hempcrete made up of hemp core, lime binders and water. Both features are new to Singapore.

Hempcrete is ideal for the humid climate as it produces good indoor air quality, explained the firm. It is also very durable, and resistant to pests, mould, mildew and fire.

The prefabricated modular system, on the other hand, is beneficial in terms of installation, eliminating the need for resource- and time-consuming construction that enables a low environmental impact.

More importantly, added CDL, the Gallery is clad with solar photovoltaic roof panels, allowing the building to produce more energy than what is required for its operations. The firm estimates that the energy consumption is about 30,000 kWh/year, while the expected annual energy yield is over 31,000 kWh. CDL, though, has not yet indicated any specific plans for the energy surplus.

The firm noted that the building is fitted with LED lighting and has energy efficient air-conditioning systems, helping reduce energy usage.

The roof also has a selection of plants, such as drought-resistant species, that lowers the urban heat island effect or the phenomenon of increased temperature in cities compared to rural areas due to human activities.

There are also green walls with butterfly-attracting plants – like the Chocolate Pansy and Plain Tiger – along the east and west portions of the building, which is to stimulate biodiversity.

For its efforts in sustainability, the CDL Green Gallery was awarded the Green Mark Platinum status by the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore, the government agency in charge of green building certifications.

Kwek Leng Joo, CDL managing director, said: “We are delighted to leverage our green building expertise and gather like-minded partners to contribute to the development of these green icons as our gift to the nation.”

He added that these two additions to the Gardens should help Singapore secure its pending bid to win a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation for the Singapore Botanic Gardens.

PM Lee added: “I am also happy that many companies are supporting the environment as part of your corporate social responsibility, like CDL Green Gallery – a commitment to eco-friendly development and practices.”



Sustainability manager who walks the talk

From The Straits Times (29 November 2013):

WHEN employees of YTL PowerSeraya see Mr Kevin Lee approaching, they do an auto-scan for “sustainability” crimes, whether it is a heap of waste paper or a light that has been left on.

“I’ve been here five years so people know me now, and if I am around, they know I am looking at everything,” said the 42-year-old sustainability manager of the company, which primarily generates and retails electricity. It has an office in HarbourFront and a power plant on Jurong Island.

These days, he handles situations with a lighter hand, though, because “the staff has embraced good habits”. They also turn to him for advice on everything from the most eco-friendly washing detergents to water-saving thimbles and the ideal settings for energy-saving timers.

It is all part of his mission to help translate intent into action at every level of the business’ operations because, while awareness about sustainability has risen in recent years, that does not always translate into “doing”, he explained.

Mr Lee comes from a multi-disciplinary educational background, having obtained bachelor’s and master’s degrees in everything from engineering and business to the environment and planning. But it was his first job in shipping and logistics that propelled him towards sustainability.

“I saw all that pollution and I wanted to do something about it. That is why I pursued environmental management,” he recalled. Before he joined YTL PowerSeraya, he was with a German renewables company.

Today, Mr Lee and his team look at the entire power generation process, from energy production to consumption, to maximise energy efficiency at every stage.

Since 2002, the company has invested more in gas-fired combined cycle plants, which have efficiency levels of 50 per cent, based on the amount of energy generated relative to the amount of fuel used. That is significantly higher than the 38 per cent yielded from oil-fired steam plants.

YTL’s newest cogeneration plant on Jurong Island, commissioned in 2009, recovers waste heat from power generation and uses it to generate high-pressure steam, and that has brought the plant’s efficiency up to about 55 per cent. These efforts have meant the plant’s direct carbon emissions have also gone down by a third (32 per cent) since 2002.

The company also works with its customers to make them more efficient. In 2011, it created GreenPlus, which provides energy management services, including energy audits.

The ensuing advice ranges from simple efforts like switching to energy-efficient lighting to bigger investment outlays that pay off in the long term, like retrofitting a chiller plant. It is harder to get a commitment for the latter, he admits, because the “payback” is in the much longer term.

Still, while the big moves make waves, he tries to push the boat out with the little things.

For instance, this year, YTL PowerSeraya rallied some of its industrial and commercial customers to participate in Earth Hour, which is observed on the last Saturday in March each year. They turned the lights off in their offices or work areas for an hour on the Friday before.


Help is at Hand to Make your Business Event a More Sustainable One

Posted by Ken on December 13, 2013
Posted under Express 203

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) has launched Sustainability Guidelines to serve as a reference guide for the meeting industry players, referenced from international standards such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards. STB hopes to encourage local MICE players to meet global sustainability requirements. Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) – a strong local advocate of sustainable events – will be promoting the guidelines and making its expertise available to help organisations implement them. Meantime, we noticed that the recent Responsible Business Forum “walked the talk” by adopting green rules. Read More

Forum walks the talk by adopting green rules

By Audrey Tan in The Straits Times (26 November 2013):

CARBON credits to be purchased by the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development will be invested in two projects on geothermal and run-of-the-river hydro power in Indonesia.

The two-day environmental conference aims to be energy-efficient and generate minimal waste.

But any large-scale meeting uses resources, so carbon credits, or the “right” to emit one tonne of greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, will be bought to offset emissions relating to delegate travel, electricity, food consumption, waste generation and paper usage, making it carbon neutral.

Other measures include having water dispensers and glasses in meeting rooms instead of bottled water. Company logos are projected on walls instead of being printed on signboards, and only locally and regionally sourced vegetarian food will be served.

The forum is the first event here to adopt the Singapore Tourism Board’s sustainability guidelines for meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions (Mice) launched last Tuesday.

Mr Tony Gourlay, chief executive of Singapore-based media firm Global Initiatives, one of the five event organisers, said their events “are designed to demonstrate how responsible event planning can lead to a positive legacy by reducing the environmental impact of the event’s operations”.

Other organisers include online publication Eco-Business and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development. The Straits Times is an official media partner.

Now in its second year, the annual event ends today at the Sands Expo and Convention Centre in Marina Bay Sands (MBS).

In line with the commitment to sustainability, first-time host MBS has also rolled out energy-efficient initiatives such as installing some 50 in-room movement sensors in about 20 meeting rooms to control lighting.

This project is estimated to drive energy savings of 6 per cent to 7 per cent across all of its Mice facilities when some 450 sensors are installed at its 250 meeting rooms by the end of the year.

Delegate Katie McCann from the Earth Innovation Institute applauded the event’s “green” initiatives. Said the 36-year-old: “They may seem small, but all these initiatives really add up.”



Singapore Tourism Board launches Sustainability Guidelines for the business events industry

The City in a Garden extends its environmental initiatives to Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE)

Barcelona, Nov 19, 2013 – The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) launched today Sustainability Guidelines to serve as a reference guide for Meetings, Incentive Travel, Conferences & Exhibitions (MICE) industry players in Singapore.  These Guidelines are referenced from international standards such as ISO 20121 and the APEX/ASTM Environmentally Sustainable Meeting Standards and geared towards those who are keen to adopt sustainable practices.  Through these guidelines, the STB also hoped to encourage local MICE players to meet global sustainability requirements.

The Sustainability Guidelines cover seven industry categories from across the business events ecosystem, including hotels, venues, event organisers and meeting planners, transportation, food and beverage, as well as audio-visual set-up. Areas covered under the guidelines include advice on waste management and the efficient use of water and energy as well as initiatives that encourage employees to develop a commitment to sustainable practices. The first event to adopt these Guidelines is the “Responsible Business Forum on Sustainability Development” held at Marina Bay Sands from 25-26 November 2013.

“With corporate clients and delegates becoming increasingly concerned about the environment, business event organisers and meeting planners are turning to destinations and venues with strong sustainability policies in place,” said Mr. ChewTiong Heng, Executive Director, Business Tourism Development at the Singapore Tourism Board. “Green initiatives are therefore gaining traction among MICE event organisers, who recognise that such endeavours significantly enhance the overall visitor experience,” he added.

The organisers of the recent co-located sustainability-themed events, Build Eco Xpo (BEX Asia), International Green Building Conference and World Engineers Summit 2013, shared their sustainability initiatives in a post-event sustainable report. Feedback from the visitors, exhibitors and delegates has been positive as they are keen to ensure that their carbon footprints from attending these events were minimized. SWIFT’s recent decision to hold Sibos 2015 in Singapore was also partly due to the green initiatives at its chosen venue, Marina Bay Sands.

“In our pursuit of quality tourism, we must meet these emerging needs to enhance the experience of our business visitors,” commented Mr. Chew. “The Sustainability Guidelines will help our MICE partners and stakeholders take the first step in adopting sustainable practices, and eventually integrate these practices across all aspects of their MICE operations. Over time, all these efforts will strengthen the attractiveness of Singapore as a dynamic exhibitions and conventions hub in the region, and reinforce our reputation as a City in a Garden.”

An integrated approach to eco-friendly Singapore

The Sustainability Guidelines for the MICE industry will complement the various green practices, policies and programmes for hotels and other buildings in Singapore.

The Singapore Hotel Association (SHA) organises a biennial Singapore Green Hotel Award to recognise local hotels for their efforts in water management, energy conservation, waste minimisation, waste recycling and other green initiatives. Recipients of the 2013 Singapore Green Hotel Awards include popular MICE venues such as Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel Singapore, Grand Hyatt Singapore, and Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore. Hotels are encouraged to work with SHA and the National Environment Agency to reduce solid waste under the “3R Programme for Hotels” launched on 1 July 2011.

The Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) Green Mark scheme encourages more environment-friendly buildings and raises environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders. Many of Singapore’s MICE venues and hotels such as MAX Atria, Marina Bay Sands, Gardens by the Bay, Ritz Carlton Millenia Singapore, and ParkRoyal on Pickering have received this honour.

Venues and hotels have also started offering green meeting packages that include options such as water dispensers instead of bottled water, and making extensive use of natural daylight to reduce electricity usage. Against this backdrop, the Sustainability Guidelines serve as a timely reminder for event organisers, meeting planners, and their suppliers to ramp up their sustainability efforts.

“To transition to a sustainable meetings and events industry, convention bureaus have a key role to unite their members and partners in collaborative action and innovation on a destination scale. Their role as a leader is key to help organisations understand the business value of sustainable practice, educate stakeholders, share knowledge, recognise best practices, champion the use of standards and to lobby for greater action,” said Mr. Guy Bigwood, past-President Green Meeting Industry Council and MCI Group Sustainability Director. “STB’s sustainability strategy and newly developed Sustainability Guidelines will inspire their community and bring Singapore to the forefront of sustainability on a global scale.”


– Ends –


About the Singapore Tourism Board (STB)

The Singapore Tourism Board (STB) is a leading economic development agency in tourism, one of Singapore’s key service sectors. Known for partnership, innovation and excellence, STB champions tourism, making it a key economic driver for Singapore. The STB aims to differentiate and market Singapore as a must-visit destination offering a concentration of user-centric and enriching experiences through the “YourSingapore” brand. For more information, please or

About the Singapore Exhibition and Convention BureauTM

The Singapore Exhibition and Convention BureauTM (SECB), a group of the Singapore Tourism Board, has a mission to champion business travel and business events as key drivers of the tourism sector and enablers for industry growth in Singapore. It aims to establish Singapore as a dynamic business events destination where people, technology and ideas converge to create great value for customers. As the leading government agency for the business events sector in Singapore, the Bureau works with stakeholders to create, attract, and grow business events, as well as ensuring exceptional experiences in the delivery of these events. The Bureau also develops partnerships with international organisations and alliances.

The Bureau is a member of the BestCities Global Alliance. BestCities is the first global alliance to put in place a certification programme – with standards certified by Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance (LRQA) – to ensure a consistent level of convention bureau service excellence from all partner cities.