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.

We Need the Sharing Economy

December 11, 2014 by  
Filed under Insights

Uber is a key representative of the sharing economy but it is not the only company (or business culture) representing the sharing economy. The negatives of Uber in recent news have resulted in some dismissing or rejecting the sharing economy. This is missing the big picture.

The sharing economy is here to stay. In fact I think it is an essential and important step towards a more sustainable (and viable) world. We can no longer operate in a linear economy where we take, make and throw. We have to move away from this old unsustainable model. One of the alternatives is the circular economy where the sharing economy is a subset of. We need to have new business models and consumption patterns that focus on sharing and encourage access over ownership, and resulting in less use of resources and less waste created.

It is unfortunate that Uber has cast a bad light on the sharing economy. No doubt it needs to relook its business model and culture, and put in place measures to reduce any further damage to its brand and better protect its users. However, one Uber does not make (or break) the sharing economy. There are many other sharing companies that are doing great decent work and deserve a chance to help us move towards a sustainable world.

The sharing economy is still in its infancy and taking baby steps. Like other new disruptive trends, it is still struggling with government regulations and policies, taxation and insurance issues, consumer protection and social issues, and vested interests. It needs time to grow and find its footing. But eventually it will and it must. Because the sharing economy is a necessary step towards our sustainable future on our only one Earth.

Insights on the Circular Economy in Singapore

October 22, 2014 by  
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Circular - 1 Our current linear production and consumption model of “take, make and dispose” is not sustainable. We no longer can afford to use more limited resources and create more waste. We have to change, and the alternative model that is fast gaining traction is the circular economy.

Driven by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and building upon concepts such as Cradle to Cradle, Industrial Ecology and Biomimicry, the circular economy is likely to be the next big sustainability trend. Read more

Peer-to-Peer Renting in Singapore with Rent Tycoons

October 8, 2013 by  
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Rent-TycoonsRent Tycoons is the first company in Singapore to provide a peer-to-peer renting platform for individuals and businesses to rent items to/from each other.

Fenni Wang and Swito Yuber, Co-Founders of Rent Tycoons, shared more about their company in this interview:

1) Why did you start Rent Tycoons? Were you influenced by the concept of Collaborative Consumption or the Sharing Economy?

We believe that a majority of people own more things that they actually need and it is evident in each household – a number of useful items sitting around idle in the storage room, etc. In the long run, such items become a form of clutter that fills up the house or get discarded eventually. Our initial idea was to give life to those idling items and reduce wastage!

The concept of Collaborative Consumption/Sharing Economy definitely resonates with Rent Tycoons. It is evident in our corporate vision: Collaborative consumption is a way of building environmentally sustainable communities. Our mission is to help people make money, save money and be green effortlessly! Read more