What MEWR and NEA can help the green community in the new year

January 4, 2016 by  
Filed under Insights

If MEWR and NEA wish to nurture more ground-up initiatives and increase the number of new environmental NGOs and groups in the new year, here are some suggestions for them to help the green community:

1) Provide Space

The green community needs office space to do their work, and meeting and training rooms to liaise with their partners and volunteers. Instead of spending their limited funding to rent spaces, the money could be better spent on their programmes. MEWR and NEA can come in to offer pro bono spaces for them, or help them connect with companies who are willing to host the groups.

2) Co-create Policies

Help them help you. The various departments and sections within MEWR and NEA may deal with various aspects of a single topic or policy (3P, Policy and Planning, specific Waste or Cleaning departments, Industry Development, etc). There is a need to work together and co-create solutions and tackle policies.

If the green groups have a meeting on a particular topic or policy, help them identify the other stakeholders within MEWR and NEA who needs to be on the same table. Explain to them why certain policies are the way they are. If there are things that the NGOs or groups can do, be bold enough to let them do it.

3) Adjust Funding

The current 3P Partnership Fund and Call for Ideas Fund by NEA do not include funding for manpower and selected categories. Instead of prescribing which categories can be funded, NEA can provide funding based on results. A performance-based funding scheme allows the groups to use the funding to pay for expenses, including for manpower, prizes, etc. Of course, the expenses in those categorues must be reasonable and agreed upon before approval. The amount of funding disbursed will be based on the KPIs agreed.

At the end of the day, the results matter more than dictating which categories can or cannot be funded. If a project can’t be executed properly because of a lack of funding for manpower (or other expenses that are not funded), then both the group and NEA would lose out in the end.

My vision of a sustainable future for Singapore in 2065

December 31, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

Less Is More Sustainable

As we reach the final day of our SG50 celebrations in 2015, what kind of sustainable future would we hope for in SG100? The government is already starting a series of SGfuture engagement sessions to gather thoughts from stakeholders.

To me, my vision of a sustainable future for Singapore in 2065 is made up of 4 key economies: sufficiency economy, circular economy, sharing economy, and green economy.

Sufficiency Economy

The sufficiency economy is one where consumption is based on having just enough, and being simple and modest. Our overconsumption and accumulation of more or branded stuff is not sustainable. In a sufficiency economy, we focus on meaning (experiences and relationships) rather than means (money and stuff). There is also a shift towards being more sufficient in our national water, energy and food supplies.

Circular Economy

The circular economy means that we move away from our current linear model of take, make, use and throw, to a circular model where waste is circulated back into the economy as technical or biological nutrients. In a circular economy, we rethink how products are being designed and made; we shift business models from selling products to selling services; and there are relevant government policies put in place. It also involves reuse, repair, sharing, redistribution, remanufacturing and recycling.

Sharing Economy

The sharing economy (or collaborative economy) involves the sharing of physical and non-physical assets and resources, which is empowered by technology and social and peer-to-peer networks. Sharing also includes renting, swapping and giving. It focuses on access rather than ownership, and enables utilisation of idle or excess capacity. In a sharing economy, there is sharing of spaces (accommodation rooms, co-working offices, storage spaces, etc); transport (carsharing, carpooling, on-demand drivers and vehicles, etc); items (rental of stuff, giving away stuff, waste exchange, etc); and skills and money (crowdfunding, peer-to-peer investment, on-demand services, online courses, etc).

Green Economy

The green economy is about reducing environmental impacts from businesses, greening buildings and people, and protecting our nature and biodiversity. The green economy is what we are currently doing.

For the last 50 years, I think Singapore has done well to develop a green economy. Over the next 50 years, let us start developing our circular economy and sharing economy, and most importantly, our sufficiency economy.

The Paris Agreement: what it means for Singapore and what more can we do

December 16, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

COP 21

On 12 Dec 2015, the historic agreement to combat climate change was agreed by 195 nations in Paris at the COP 21 UN Climate Change Conference.

The laudable points of the Paris Agreement include the sharing of responsibility among all countries, developed and developing, to undertake and communicate ambitious efforts; the limiting of temperature increase to 1.5 °C, which is recommended by scientists; and the continuous improvement process, where countries submit new nationally determined contribution every 5 years that will be a progression beyond the previous contribution.

However, there are no binding national targets for countries in the Agreement, which means each country will determine its contribution voluntarily, and hope that the combined global stocktake of actions would limit temperature to what is required. In addition, with the implementation of the current Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs) submitted by countries at COP 21, that would only limit temperature increase to 3.5 °C, much higher than the required 1.5 °C. There is still a large emissions gap between current efforts and what is required. There is a need to do more at a faster pace. Read more

Sustainability Mentorship Programme 2016

December 11, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

Application is now closed.

“I’m trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You’re the one that has to walk through it.” – Morpheus, The Matrix

Sustainability Mentorship Programme 2016

The Sustainability Mentorship Programme (in its 2nd run) is a youth mentorship programme co-organised by sustainability advocates in Singapore, including:

  • Ria Tan, Wildsingapore
  • Eugene Tay, Green Future Solutions and Zero Waste SG
  • November Tan, Urban Planner and Founder of The Leafmonkey Workshop
  • Marcus Tay, Sustainability Manager

1. Objectives

Through this mentorship programme, we hope to:

  • Nurture a core group of youth (19 to 29 years old) with a holistic view of sustainability issues in Singapore
  • Inspire them to be sustainability champions and leaders in the public, private and NGO sectors
  • Support them to stay committed to the sustainability cause for the long-term
  • Help them to ask the right questions and find answers Read more

How the financial sector is taking account of climate-related risks

December 10, 2015 by  
Filed under Insights

This article is contributed by Jovin Hurry, who is reporting from Paris.


As the ministers now negotiate the details of the COP21 Paris Agreement, some of the top key questions arising are how to finance the promised projects and what climate-related risks to shoulder.

Earlier this year, G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors asked the Financial Stability Board (FSB) “to convene public- and private- sector participants to review how the financial sector can take account of climate-related issues”.

The FSB has been established to coordinate at the international level the work of national financial authorities and international standard setting bodies and to develop and promote the implementation of effective regulatory, supervisory and other financial sector policies in the interest of financial stability. Read more

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