Conversations on Sustainable Singapore – Reading Materials

May 20, 2014 by  
Filed under Insights

Together with Nature Society (Singapore) and SMU verts, Green Future Solutions co-organised 3 Conversations on Sustainable Singapore, with the objectives to understand people’s thoughts and stories, and to generate constructive and specific suggestions for the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint review conducted by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources (MEWR).

The Conversations on Sustainable Singapore are held over three sessions and focus on the following topics:

  • Energy and Climate Change
  • Waste and the 3Rs (Reduce, Reuse, Recycle)
  • Food Security (Food Supply and Food Waste)

For each session, a 2-page reading material on the topic was sent to the participants before the session, so that they can read up on the topic and come prepared with suggestions.

The reading materials are posted below for your reference:

Conversations on Sustainable Singapore – Energy and Climate Change (Energy Efficiency, Clean Energy, and Climate Change)

1) Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (2009)

Download and read the blueprint at http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/contents/ContentsSSS.aspx?Id=161

What’s in the Blueprint:

  • Reduce our energy intensity (per dollar GDP) by 20% from 2005 levels by 2020, and by 35% from 2005 levels by 2030.
  • Introduce minimum energy performance standards for household air-conditioners and refrigerators by 2011.
  • Facilitate energy-related benchmarking for key industrial sectors. Establish a national Energy Efficiency Circle Programme to promote a culture of sustained energy efficiency improvement in companies.
  • Target 80% of our existing building stock (by GFA) to achieve at least Green Mark Certified rating (minimum level of energy efficiency) by 2030.
  • Implement a large-scale solar test-bed for public housing spanning 30 precincts islandwide.
  • Achieve a modal share of 70% of journeys made during morning peak hours via public transport by 2020. Manage growth of private transport, by halving the annual vehicle population growth rate.
  • Improve the energy and fuel efficiency of both private and public transport.
  • Encourage cycling and walking with investments in infrastructure.

2) Energy Supply and Efficiency

Singapore has switched to cleaner natural gas for generating electricity, which constitutes around 80% of our fuel mix. Given the small size of Singapore, and dense urban landscape, there are challenges harnessing alternative energy options on an island-wide scale. Singapore is an “alternative energy disadvantaged” (AED) country. Therefore, improving energy efficiency is a key focus of our efforts to reduce emissions.

“we plan to raise the adoption of solar power in our system to 350 Mega-Watt-peak (MWp) by 2020. This is about 5 per cent of 2020 peak electricity demand, a significant increase from the present 15 MWp of installed capacity today.” – S Iswaran, Second Minister for Trade and Industry, Committee of Supply Debate, 6 Mar 2014

Visit http://app.e2singapore.gov.sg/default.aspx to find out how the Energy Efficiency Programme Office is promoting energy efficiency in households, buildings, industry and transport sectors.

Household Energy Efficiency Study – http://app.mewr.gov.sg/data/ImgCont/1/MEWR_EE_Report.pdf

Energy Conservation Act introduced in April 2013, where large energy users in the industry and transport sectors will be required to appoint an energy manager, monitor and report energy use and emissions, and submit energy efficiency improvement plans – http://bit.ly/1hWMXEL.

Mandatory Energy Labelling Scheme for appliances – http://bit.ly/P6wCqc. Minimum Energy Performance Standards for appliances – http://bit.ly/1hNGG41.

3) Climate Change

Visit http://app.nccs.gov.sg/ to find out from the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) what Singapore is doing to reduce emissions and adapt to climate change.

Singapore’s per capita carbon emissions – http://app.nccs.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=158&secid=157. Measures to reduce emissions by sector – http://app.nccs.gov.sg/page.aspx?pageid=165&secid=193.

In 2009, Singapore pledged to reduce our carbon emissions by 16% below business-as-usual (BAU) levels in 2020, based on the condition that there should be a legally binding global agreement. If not, Singapore is still committed to reduce emissions by 7-11% below BAU levels by 2020.

Climate Change Public Perception Survey 2013 – https://app.nccs.gov.sg/data/resources/docs/Documents/Appendix%20I.pdf

Views by Singapore’s Chief Climate Change Negotiator, Ambassador Burhan Gafoor, on international climate change negotiations – http://www.nea.gov.sg/cms/sei/EnvisionIssue4.pdf (pages 22-27)

4) Questions

Consider these questions when thinking about your suggestions:

  • Is Singapore doing enough on climate change?
  • How can we increase our energy supply to include other clean energy sources?
  • How can the public sector and companies reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint?
  • How to reduce energy usage in buildings, especially for air-conditioning and lighting?
  • How do we encourage consumers to choose energy efficient products?
  • How to get more Singaporeans to be responsible and take action on climate change?
  • Do we need more awareness campaigns and community involvement on climate change?

5) Suggestions

Think of one or two SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) suggestions on policies, programmes, initiatives or campaigns, for sharing at the conversation.

For example, one suggestion could be to “encourage 50% of building owners in the CBD to reduce façade and outdoor lighting at night from 1-6am by 2020”.

Buildings are lit up at night with facade lighting and outdoor advertising, which can be excessive and unnecessary. For a start, building owners in the CBD should be encouraged to reduce their outdoor lightings from 1-6am. The encouragement could involve creating peer pressure through a “brightest” building ranking system; providing free publicity or awards for participating building owners; and allowing additional points for green building certification.

Conversations on Sustainable Singapore – Waste and the 3Rs (Waste Management, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle)

1) Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (2009)

Download and read the blueprint at http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/contents/ContentsSSS.aspx?Id=161

What’s in the Blueprint:

  • Improve our recycling rate from 56%in 2008 to 65% in 2020 and 70% in 2030.
  • Set standards for recycled products to increase their uptake.
  • Introduce an accreditation system for companies that recycle construction and demolition waste.
  • Extend the Singapore Packaging Agreement beyond the food and beverage industry.
  • Promote recycling for large sources of waste that now have low recycling rates, such as plastic and food waste. In the longer term, study the feasibility of mandating the recycling of such waste.
  • All government agencies will implement recycling programmes by FY2009.

2) Waste Management and Disposal

Read more about Singapore’s waste collection and disposal facilities (four waste-to-energy plants and an offshore landfill) from the National Environment Agency (NEA) at http://app2.nea.gov.sg/energy-waste/waste-management/overview.

3) Waste Minimisation and Recycling

Singapore’s waste recycling rate in 2013 is 61%. Find out more waste statistics at http://app2.nea.gov.sg/energy-waste/waste-management/waste-statistics-and-overall-recycling and http://www.zerowastesg.com/2013/04/01/singapore-waste-statistics-2012/.

Household Recycling Study – http://app.mewr.gov.sg/data/ImgCont/1/MEWR_RC_Report.pdf

“Our overall recycling rate is around 60%, but at the domestic level, it is only around 20%.” – Dr Vivian Balakrishnan, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, Committee of Supply Debate, 11 March 2014

Find out more about the various recycling programmes, recycling facilities and takeback programmes at http://app2.nea.gov.sg/energy-waste/recycling/waste-minimisation-and-recycling.

Singapore Packaging Agreement is a joint initiative by NEA, private sector and NGOs to reduce packaging waste from consumer products and the supply chain – http://app2.nea.gov.sg/energy-waste/waste-management/singapore-packaging-agreement

From 2014, it will be mandatory for large commercial premises to report waste data and submit waste reduction plans (including setting of targets), starting with hotels with more than 200 rooms and shopping malls with net lettable areas of more than 50,000 sq ft. Read more at http://app2.nea.gov.sg/corporate-functions/newsroom/parliament/budget-debate1/budget-debate-2012/mandatory-waste-reporting-in-large-commercial-premises.

4) Questions

Consider these questions when thinking about your suggestions:

  • Is Singapore doing enough on waste minimisation and recycling?
  • How do we encourage the idea of sufficiency (just enough) and less consumption?
  • How can we design and make products with Cradle to Cradle (http://www.c2cproducts.com/detail.aspx?linkid=1&sublink=6) and Circular Economy (http://www.ellenmacarthurfoundation.org/circular-economy/circular-economy/the-circular-model-an-overview) principles?
  • How can we encourage collaborative consumption (http://www.collaborativeconsumption.com/about/) or sharing (renting, borrowing, giving) instead of buying stuff?
  • Do we need more data on sources and types of waste?
  • How can the public sector and companies reduce waste and increase recycling?
  • How can we reduce our use of disposable plastics?
  • How to improve the current recycling bins and infrastructure?
  • How to increase the National Recycling Programme participation rate for households?
  • How to get more Singaporeans to be responsible and take action on waste minimisation and recycling?
  • Do we need more awareness campaigns and community involvement on waste minimisation and recycling?

5) Suggestions

Think of one or two SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) suggestions on policies, programmes, initiatives or campaigns, for sharing at the conversation.

For example, one suggestion could be to “introduce a national campaign to reduce plastic waste by 20% from 2012 levels by 2020”.

Plastics are among the top three waste types disposed of in Singapore, so more effort should be placed on reducing plastic waste. The government can work with NGOs and the private sector on a national campaign to reduce plastic waste. Mandatory targets should be set for manufacturers and retailers to reduce their plastic packaging. There should be an incentive scheme to encourage consumers to bring their own reusable bags, cutlery and bottles, and reduce the use of plastic disposables.

Conversations on Sustainable Singapore – Food Security (Food Supply and Food Waste)

1) Sustainable Singapore Blueprint (2009)

Download and read the blueprint at http://app.mewr.gov.sg/web/contents/ContentsSSS.aspx?Id=161

What’s in the Blueprint:

  • Singapore imports most of the food and water we consume, as well as the resources and materials needed for our industries.
  • Promote recycling for large sources of waste that now have low recycling rates, such as plastic and food waste. In the longer term, study the feasibility of mandating the recycling of such waste.

2) Food Security

The Inter-Ministry Committee on Food Security (IMC-FS) was formed in 2012 to coordinate and look into holistic measures to mitigate Singapore’s food security risks and vulnerabilities, on two areas:

  • Boost industry production capacity and resilience. In turn, this can improve our food supply resilience especially in times of need; and
  • Reduce food wastage, which can occur anywhere along the food chain, from initial agricultural production, to processing and retail, and to final consumption.

For industry development, IMC-FS has recommended (a) sharing of resources and functions such as procurement, logistics, high-end equipment; (b) regionalisation and aggregation of demand for services such as logistics; and (c) upstream integration along the food value chain such as in farming, collection, processing or packaging for better control over product quality and supply.

For food waste reduction, IMC-FS recommended to (a) develop a comprehensive public education outreach programme; (b) implement mandatory food waste reporting by large commercial premises; (c) develop guidelines for food manufacturers and retailers to minimise food waste; and (d) promote R&D on food waste reduction and recycling.

3) Food Supply

Food source diversification is Singapore’s core strategy to ensure food security.

Singapore imports over 90% of our food while local farms produce only 8% of vegetables, 8% of fish and 26% of eggs consumed in Singapore – http://www.ava.gov.sg/Singapore+Food+Supply.htm

In 2012, local production consists of 5,548 tonnes of seafood, 21,405 tonnes of vegetables, and 402 million eggs – http://www.ava.gov.sg/Publications/Statistics/

Urban and community farming/agriculture is becoming popular in Singapore – http://wildsingaporenews.blogspot.sg/2013/04/from-garden-city-to-urban-farmland.html

“HDB will set aside space at all new multi-storey carparks (MSCPs) rooftops, and equip them with planter beds and irrigation systems to facilitate community farming.” – Maliki Osman, Minister of State for National Development, Committee of Supply Debate, 10 Mar 2014

4) Food Waste

In 2013, Singapore generated 796,000 tonnes of food waste, of which only 13% is recycled. The recycling of food waste involves mainly bread, spent grain and soya bean waste that are processed into animal feed. Read more about food waste at http://www.savefoodcutwaste.com/food-waste/food-wastage-in-singapore/.

Tips for individuals to reduce food waste in our daily lives and at home – http://www.savefoodcutwaste.com/tips-for-individuals/

5) Questions

Consider these questions when thinking about your suggestions:

  • Is Singapore doing enough to increase food supply and reduce food waste?
  • How can we encourage more local food production and reduce the challenges?
  • How to encourage more urban and community farming?
  • Do we need more data on sources and types of food waste?
  • How can the public sector and companies reduce food waste and increase recycling?
  • How to get more Singaporeans to take action on reducing food waste?
  • Do we need more awareness campaigns and community involvement on increasing food supply and reducing food waste?

6) Suggestions

Think of one or two SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound) suggestions on policies, programmes, initiatives or campaigns, for sharing at the conversation.

For example, one suggestion could be to “introduce incentives for food distributors and retailers to donate excess or expiring soon food items to food banks, VWOs and charities from 2015”.

Food distributors and retailers should be encouraged to donate excess or expiring soon food items such as canned food and packaged food items, to food banks, VWOs and charities. This would help ensure that the unsold food items are given to the needy instead of being disposed. Incentives such as tax rebates and public recognition and awards could be given to companies that donate unsold food items. In addition, the government could introduce a “Good Samaritan Act” that protects companies and organisations from liabilities for damages resulting from donated food to charities, unless there is gross negligence or intentional misconduct. This Act would encourage more companies to feel safe in donating their unsold food items.

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