Firms that harm environment: Govt considering enhancing penalties

SINGAPORE - Singapore is considering drafting legislation to enhance penalties for irresponsible companies whose actions damage the environment and cause transboundary haze, said Environment and Water Resources Minister Vivian Balakrishnan on Thursday.

While noting that such legislation will not be easy to draft, and even harder to enforce, the minister added that a "clear and unequivocal signal" still needs to be sent to errant companies - that such behaviour is unacceptable.

Speaking at the Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards, Dr Balakrishnan said that aside from the Government, companies and individuals also have a part to play.

"If we are to make companies behave responsibly, and to make the more responsible companies more profitable, we require individuals to exercise informed choices," he said.

They can do this by demanding transparency from both governments and companies, as well as by choosing the right products - those that have been produced in a sustainable and responsible manner.

At the event, seven organisations were recognised for their environmental initiatives here and in the region.

Malaysia-based KUB-Berjaya Enviro was named the winner of the CDL Outstanding Singapore Environmental Achievement Award. It also bagged the DFS Singapore Environmental Achievement Award in the regional category.

Keppel Land took the Achievement Award for the Services category, while the Institute of Technical Education was tops in the Public Sector category.

Dr Balakrishnan said that such companies demonstrated that it is possible to do the right thing environmentally and in an economically viable way.

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