Why Should We Embrace Sustainability?
Government is Demanding it
National Environmental Agency (NEA) mandates big companies to start reporting on their wastes from 2020:
All facilities producing 25,000 tonnes or more of greenhouse gas emissions a year will have to pay carbon tax from 2020.
The carbon tax will initially be $5 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions from 2019 to 2023. The government will review the carbon tax rate by 2023, with plans to increase it to between $10 and $15 per tonne of emissions by 2030
Schools are taking it is more Seriously
Business Schools in NUS, SMU and NTU all offers Sustainability Modules
In particular, DBS Bank tied up with SMU in 2019 to offer a major in sustainability for their business students.
"Meeting sustainability goals is becoming an increasing focus at business schools...The students have to tackle the conundrum of balancing sustainability and reaping profits"
Consumers are demanding it
We have heard reports about tainted rockmelon from Australia* and tainted milk powder in China**. Consumers are wary about their food source but has no way of verifying the provenance.
Consumers are demanding more from companies for the products they buy and consume. According to eco-Business, more than half of Singapore consumers believe that business supply chains should not be harming the environment***. Market research firm YouGov polled 9,000 people across the region and the research showed the growing awareness and concerns from consumers on sustainability, especially the millennials. Singapore respondents expressed a preference for responsible companies those that ensure their supply chains do not harm the environment and are free from negative practices such as forced labour (53 per cent)—over typical corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities such as volunteer programmes or offering pro bono services. Below are some charts from the research:
Sustainability benefits companies
According to Forbes#, companies that embraces CSR are the ones that "gets it". They use CSR as a way to push the following business processes into the organization:
Better loan terms - DBS signed a10-year SGD 27 million sustainability-linked loan with Chew's Agriculture. Under the terms of the loan, Chew's will enjoy lower interest rates if it meets Humane Farm Animal Care (HFAC) standards.##
Innovation - Unilever was able to innovate new products like a hair conditioner that uses less water. The Unilever's sustainability efforts led the company’s R&D to develop such products.
Cost savings - Covington saved USD600,000 after installing energy monitoring meters on several pieces of equipment at its plant
Brand differentiation - Many companies adopt CSR for brand differentiation
Long-term thinking - CSR is an effort to look at the company’s long-term interest and ensuring that the company’s future is sustainable
Customer engagement - CSR allows a company to engage with its customers in new ways.
Employee engagement - The Solo Cup Company created the Sustainability Action Network to activate employees in community service focused on the company’s CSR priorities.