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SBF, SFIC and SGBC Establish New Alliance for Action on Sustainable Spaces to Drive Sustainability through Industry Collaboration

• SBF, SFIC, SGBC, with the support of BCA and NEA, have set up a new AfA to bring together stakeholders across different sectors to create and enhance sustainable spaces
• For a start, the AfA will focus on the use of low emitting materials and furnishings in indoor spaces given the significance of indoor air quality on health and wellbeing
• SBF has published a policy paper highlighting green opportunities for Singapore companies, and the support needed to unlock these opportunities

Thursday, 11 November 2021 [Singapore]
- Sustainability is one of the biggest and yet most untapped business opportunities today. With global consensus to set targets and take concrete steps towards a green economy, there is scope for the business community to pursue sustainability as a key competitive advantage for business growth and in support of Singapore’s long-term economic growth.

AfA on Sustainable Spaces

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF), Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC), and Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) have come together to form a new Alliance for Action (AfA) on Sustainable Spaces to bring together stakeholders across different sectors to create and enhance sustainable spaces. This collaborative effort is supported by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and the National Environment Agency (NEA) and aims to help solution providers and adopters seize opportunities in the green economy.

For a start, the AfA will focus on the supply and adoption of low emitting materials and furnishings in indoor spaces, where many people spend up to 90% of their time. We believe this is a key opportunity area in Singapore’s journey towards a green economy, and that more can be done to raise awareness of the significance of indoor air quality on occupant health and wellbeing.

The AfA on Sustainable Spaces seeks to leverage strengths within the ecosystem to:

i. Advocate the use of low emitting materials and furnishings in indoor spaces by developing and articulating minimum targets towards the supply and adoption of indoor air quality-related green solutions.
ii. Build on industry standards for indoor air quality by studying, proposing, and piloting local guidelines for indoor air quality.
iii. Cultivate awareness of the importance of sustainable spaces by developing guidebooks to help solution adopters and consumers understand what to look out for in creating indoor spaces with minimal air pollutants.

SBF Chairman Mr Lim Ming Yan said, “We believe that close collaboration among industry and government stakeholders is a uniquely Singapore approach that will continue to help us seize new opportunities as the world pursues sustainable growth. We look forward to working closely with SFIC, SGBC, BCA, and NEA to generate greater demand for sustainable solutions in indoor spaces, and for more of our companies to capture these growth opportunities.”

President of SFIC Mr Phua Boon Huat said, “The rapidly growing domestic interior fit-out business segment is valued at approximately $3 billion a year. It has an important role to play in supporting sustainability practices, given that construction and maintenance of buildings are significant contributors to global carbon emissions. This Alliance for Action (AfA) is thus both timely and relevant, as the SFIC is embarking on its next phase of industry transformation towards a more sustainable future. We welcome this collaboration with like-minded TACs and government agencies to help companies in the furnishing and fitting-out of spaces that embrace sustainability and increase their competitive advantage”.

President of SGBC Mr Tang Kok Thye said, “The importance of our places and spaces will continue to grow with the corresponding demand for quality buildings in which to live, work and play. By paying attention to the materials and designs of our spaces, we will be able to build healthier, more equitable and environmentally friendly spaces for occupants. We are confident that the efforts of SBF, SFIC, SGBC, BCA and NEA will be able to add immense value for the built environment.”

SBF Policy Paper: “Sustainability in Business, Sustainability as Business: Green Growth Opportunities for Singapore Companies”

Over the past year, SBF worked with Ernst & Young (EY), Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), and United Overseas Bank (UOB) to conduct extensive industry consultations with more than 100 industry stakeholders, representing a diverse range of large enterprises, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), and trade associations and chambers (TACs). Industry stakeholders shared views on the current sustainability landscape in Singapore and beyond, new green growth opportunities, as well as the business and government actions required to accelerate the momentum towards sustainability as a viable business proposition.

Following the consultations and discussions, four identified opportunities and 10 recommendations are encapsulated in the newly published SBF policy paper titled “Sustainability in Business, Sustainability as Business: Green Growth Opportunities for Singapore Companies”. Of note, the paper highlights the critical need for collaboration among industry and government stakeholders as a key step towards achieving sustainability goals.

The four key opportunities identified were:

i. Growing need for energy efficiency solutions,
ii. Data-driven solutions as a key enabler,
iii. Responding to a growing market for green materials, products, and processes,
iv. A bigger role for recycling.

SWAT Mobility President Ms Grace Ho said, “It is only through extensive partnership and a rich ecosystem of collaborators, both in the private as well as public sector, that we can bring our company’s sustainability vision, centered on economic value, environment and experiences to fruition.”

Echoing the importance of private-public partnership and industry collaboration, GUAVA Amenities Director Mr Gabriel Tan said, “Sustainability is beyond CSR or the environment, and it should not be just for the privileged few. Therefore, at GUAVA, we integrate sustainability in every aspect of our business as we believe that sustainability should be accessible to everyone, everywhere. There is now a window of opportunity for us at GUAVA to create scalable and sustainable solutions for the global hospitality and travel industry. By organising our business in the “Singapore way”, we are able to synergise our strengths to advance our purpose of creating scalable sustainable impact, together.”

SBF CEO Mr Lam Yi Young said, “Sustainability is increasingly important to businesses, and how well they are able to incorporate sustainability in their business will add to their competitive advantage. Beyond this, there are good opportunities for businesses to tap on sustainability as a business. With raising awareness and concerns over sustainability in the region, Singapore companies can look to exporting their sustainability related products and expertise to the region.”

Annex A: The policy paper can be accessed via www.sbf.org.sg/business-advocacy/policy-papers.

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