Sustainable practices - doing it right

Sustainable practices - doing it right

Sustainable practices - doing it right As natural resources dwindle and the effects of climate change are felt, governments and businesses are looking at how to be sustainable. The Straits Times looks at the state of sustainable development in Singapore, Japan and Indonesia.

EACH year, more than two million business travellers flock to Singapore for meetings and conferences, spending some $4.29 billion last year.

But conference venues can be freezing cold or they give out bottled water indiscriminately.

So last week, the Singapore Tourism Board launched its sustainability guidelines for event organisers in the meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions industry here.

The first event to adopt the guidelines is the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development at Marina Bay Sands today and tomorrow.

The guidelines give advice on measures like reducing waste and using water and energy efficiently. It is the latest local push towards greater sustainability in business.

Two years ago, the Singapore Exchange introduced its own sustainability reporting guidelines for listed companies, which hinted: "Conceivably, there will be progress towards mandatory reporting through regulations and rules in the future."

The number of companies that incorporate sustainability into their business practices - not just holding a volunteer day at a charity or having a recycling programme - is still small.

Ms Erin Lyon, executive director of CSR Asia, which studies and advises on sustainable business practices in the region, said that last year, firms here put out just 20 reports that met Global Reporting Initiative guidelines.

These guidelines define business sustainability across a number of categories, including how a firm manages its energy and water use, its impact on biodiversity, and if its labour practices are fair, safe and balanced.

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