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CSR / sustainable business in Singapore, 10 thoughts

I’ve just spent a few days with Singapore’s CSR community this last week.

So here’s a few random bullets on the development of sustainability and corporate responsibility there.

No doubt I missed much.

  1. Community, education and philanthropy work are still the main issues. Climate change is not a priority right now, by comparison
  2. Environmental awareness is growing, but from a low base (see next point)
  3. Energy waste is rampant across the hotels, malls and buildings in the City. Air con is blasted out of open doors everywhere you look
  4. The Government is slowly beginning to support progressive sustainability ideas, such reporting, and sustainable fashion, from design to factory production
  5. A charismatic individual is needed to drive interest and innovation. I spent some brief time with Michael Tay, and tried to make this case to him. Perhaps he’ll buy into the idea
  6. There are some companies doing cutting edge work, in areas such as steel recycling and Palm Oil innovation
  7. There’s growing interest in setting up further research capacity in sustainability and CSR at places such as Singapore Management University, but also others
  8. Singapore would be an excellent site for transport electrification, if only the political and business case could be made. Given energy costs, it would take political leadership to make it happen
  9. The Government should make Singapore the regional hub of excellence for business sustainability, research and innovation. Whether they will, may depend on points 4 and 5 gathering pace, and mandatory sustainability reporting, which may be on the way
  10. The Singapore Compact has done an excellent job in raising awareness, and should be supported by any company doing business in the country. Thomas Thomas, its boss, deserves considerable praise

    I’m now in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for the upcoming Malaysian-German Chamber of Commerce CR conference, which starts on Tuesday. I’m leading a two day workshop on embedding CR on Wednesday and Thursday here so will attempt post some coherent thoughts after that. 

P.S. For anyone interested in further analysis of CSR in Singapore, take a look at this.