Singapore businesses were urged today to respond to pressing social and environmental issues by heeding the newly minted United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
Kids Cut Palm Oil are one of the youth groups leading the GINKalimantan Conference Youth Workshops in September 2016.
Global Issues Networking Bali will hop over to another part of Indonesia for this year's meet up. Lots are in store for the Kalimantan conference from 16-18 September 2016, which will centre on environmental issues.
For the eleventh successive year running, Air France-KLM surpassed other companies in its corporate social responsibility performance to emerge top in the “Airlines” category of Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). By Tan Hui Zhen.
Singapore, 6th October 2015- Ranked amongst the 24 most accountable groups in the world, Air France-KLM is reputable for its active commitment towards environmental and social sustainability in the air transport industry. Mr Frédéric Gagey, Chairman and CEO of Air France, shares that corporate social responsibility is at the “heart of [their] corporate strategy”.
"Every day, Air France-KLM does all it can to design the future of air transport. We want the transport we provide to be caring, innovative and responsible,” says Mr Alexandre de Juniac, Chairman and CEO of the major long-haul air service provider outside Europe.
Together, the two air carriers operate flights to 231 destinations across approximately 100 countries from their bases in Paris- Charles de Gaulle, and Amsterdam- Schipol. The group carried 87.3 million passengers in 2014 and boasts more than 24.5 million members for its Flying Blue frequent flyer programme in Europe.
To incorporate corporate social responsibility into its large-scale flight operations and activities, Air France-KLM prioritizes four key agendas:
(1) Minimizing environmental degradation by optimizing processes, engaging all staff and industry stakeholders, and improvising supply chain;
(2) Mainstreaming objectives of corporate social responsibility across entire service chain to produce creative and responsible goods and services;
(3) Providing opportunities for individual development and promoting a responsible workforce policy to maintain competence and drive of employees;
(4) Supporting local socioeconomic development in regions where the group operates.
Amongst its many innovative initiatives, Air France-KLM will be continuing the use of sustainable biofuel for some flights to spur the industry into establishing a biofuel market. It has also channelled investments towards designing more eco-friendly goods on-board flights to reduce carbon emissions.
Responding to Air France-KLM outstanding corporate sustainability performance in DJSI, Mr Pieter Elbers, President and CEO of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines says, “It confirms not only that we assume responsibility as an employer, but also pursue innovation and take our responsibility with regard to the environment and society seriously. KLM has an established track record proving this.”
Apart from being listed in DJSI by global asset management company RobecoSAM since 2005, the Group also performed strongly in non-financial indexes like NYSE Euronext Vigeo, Ethibel and FTSE4Good.
Accor is a hotel group that runs over 630 hotels in 17 countries across Asia Pacific. In 2012, it launched PLANET 21 to set quantifiable sustainability goals for its hotels - and today, over 90% of those hotels reach all those goals, and 97% of hotels offer eco products.
Singapore, 7 May 2015. Using its PLANET 21 campaign as a guide, Accor hotels across all brands - Sofitel, Pullman, MGallery, Grand Mercure, Sebel, Novotel, Mercure, Adagio and Ibis - claim significant progress in reducing their environmental footprint. In Asia Pacific, waste recycling is practised in 86% of Accor hotels and 93% of them ban endangered seafood products such as shark’s fin (up from 71% in 2013). The group is progressing towards a total ban by 2015.
“PLANET 21 is more than just an environmental programme though, it is a clear pathway for our hotels to operate responsibly," says Michael Issenberg, Chairman and CEO Accor Asia Pacific.
That approach has allowed hotel managers across the region to implement a whole range of sustainable initiatives. Today, 97% of Accor's Asia Pacific hotels use eco-labelled products. Almost 90% organize disease prevention training for employees. And 97% of hotels offer healthy menu options (up from 87% in 2013) and 87% promote locally-grown produce (up from 82%, and exceeding the original global target of 70%).
One key initiative was the reduction in water consumption: since 2011, Accor regional hotels have achieved a 5.6% reduction in water usage. Additionally, it has worked with bakery company Bridor to reduce the environmental footprint of its baguettes and croissants served on a average of 56 million breakfasts a year. Improvements in the baking process have seen electricity and water consumption reduction by 10% and 30% over in the last two years.
As well, individual hotels are encouraged to raise the bar higher with employee-inspired initiatives. Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay now offers a Green Meeting package with environmentally-friendly meeting and catering facilities, and with a reforestation contribution. Novotel Hyderabad Convention Centres generate little or no waste due to strict waste management policies. And the four Accor hotels at Sydney Olympic Park, Australia use solar energy for electricity and hot water production.
Accor chairman and CEO Sébastien Bazin described Planet 21’s goal as such: “With customers claiming to be increasingly concerned about sustainable development challenges, PLANET 21 lets us make sustainable hospitality a reality.”
Accor says it is proud of its stance, and its progress. Today, it lists 91% of the network (more than 500 hotels) as having achieved PLANET 21 goals in at least ten fundamental areas, up 11% from 2013. And guests can find eco-labelled and certified products at 97% of Asia Pacific hotels, as well as relish the fact that their Accor stays have resulted directly in the planting of 225,000 trees at ten regional sites in the last seven years. Even better, the reuse of laundry towels, group-wide has led to four million trees being planted at 150 sites planted in 21 countries - as well as giving €13 million in laundry savings.
"We have set firm commitments to protect our planet, its people and their environment,” said Issenberg.
- More details: http://www.accor.com/en/sustainable-development/the-planet-21-program.html
Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay introduces a service where aware companies can reduce their environmental impact, enjoy healthy meals - and help forestation by sponsoring tree planting at the same time.
Singapore, April 2015 – In line with its sustainability intiatives, the Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay (part of the Accor Group) has designed a new offering it calls “Green Meeting packages” along with environmentally friendly MICE facilities it describes as helping to “Plant your company success“.
Under its Planet 21 framework, Accor has made 21 commitments in favor of sustainable practice. Planet 21 echoes Accor’s recognition of the urgent need to focus efforts on changing our production and consumption patterns with the goal of protecting our planet, its people and their environment. Following the hotel’s recent ISO 14001 certification, it was awarded 2014’s Champion of the Singapore Environment Council under the Kimberly Clark Singapore Environmental Achievement Awards for its achievements in the Services category.
Its latest initiatiove allows companies wishing to keep their consumption patterns under control to make what it calls a “Green Choice” when booking the next meeting. The hotel has committed to plant one tree in plantation sites in Indonesia for every 40 meeting packages booked. The trees will be planted on the company’s behalf and a certificate of participation with the number of trees will be supplied to the organisers. The scheme is part of Accor’s reforestation program called “Plant for the Planet”.
The hotel will also supply Eco-pens as part of its green meeting packages. These are handmade by the poor using recycled newspapers through the “Yayasan Peduli Tunas Bangsa” Accor foundation in Indonesia. Accor channels funds collected to run workshops and financially support the underprivileged, who are then able to send their children to school.
Companies can enjoy 10% off when booking the Novotel Singapore Clarke Quay Green Meetings packages from now until end September 2015, and residential groups will enjoy a complimentary room. Terms & conditions apply.
For more information about the “Planting your company success @ Novotel”, visit www.novotelclarkequay.com or call +65 6433 8633 or email: H5993-SM3@accor.com
For more about Accor’s PLANET 21 drive, visit : http://www.accor.com/en/sustainable-development/the-planet-21-program.html.
One of Singapore’s leading hotels has taken the plunge and stopped all use of plastic bottles for guest drinking water.
Singapore, March 26, 2015. Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen has been working on a plan to reduce waste, plastic consumption, and save water. Part of this is a move by the 538-room Accor Group hotel to stop providing regular plastic mineral bottled water, and instead offer water from a special filtration system as part of what it calls its Eco Clean program.
The result? Less plastic and water used, more funds for charities that Accor supports, and a unique pen for guests to use.
“My team brainstormed and arrived at this idea of involving guests in this program,” explains Pierre de Montgrand, General Manager of Ibis Singapore on Bencoolen.
de Montgrand says the use of glass bottles has prevented the hotel from throwing away around 6,000 single-use plastic mineral water bottles a year - equivalent to 700kg of plastic waste per annum that could end up in landfills or Singapore’s waterways. “I am pleased that our hotel is able to contribute towards Singapore’s sustainability direction,” he says.
The hotel’s initiative is set against the context of the tourism industry’s typical contribution to ever increasing wastage and resource exploitation. Typical areas are waste in the form of newspapers, magazines, office papers, cardboard boxes, plastic bottles, aluminium cans, plastic containers, printer toner cartridges, food and water waste. Plus, lots of precious water and energy resources.
Beyond the Bottle
The Ibis’s Eco Clean goes beyond just recycling drinking bottles. It is a holistic program that starts with guests opting for Eco Clean at check in. This means housekeepers will tidy the room, make the beds and clear the bins, but cleaning chemicals will be used sparingly, linen and amenities will only be changed and replenished as requested.
As a reward, guests are provided with the Ibis’s free and unlimited refills of sparkling or still water served in a re-usable borosilicate glass bottle. Ibis Bencoolen works with a local firm, Dr. WHO Waterworks Pte Ltd (Dr. WHO), a leading manufacturer and distributors in the bottled water industry for the complete bottling, sterilising and refilling system.
Cost savings from the Eco Clean program are then channelled towards supporting the livelihoods of the poor in Indonesia through the “Yayasan Peduli Tunas Bangsa” foundation sponsored by Accor Group.
With the funding received, a workshop for disadvantaged mothers has been set up to make pens hand rolled from recycled newspapers. These Eco-Pens are then purchased by Ibis Bencoolen for guests’ use, and left in their rooms.
“This completes the Eco Clean circular concept that starts with guests’ participation and ends with them seeing the fruits of our labour,” adds de Montgrand. And if that isn’t enough, guests can borrow bamboo bikes from the hotel to reduce the negative environmental impact of taking taxis and buses around Singapore.
The Eco Clean program is part of the Accor Group PLANET 21 initiative. This aims to bring sustainable development and a more responsible hotel operation worldwide.
Details from the Ibis Bencoolen – http://www.ibis.com/gb/hotel-6657-ibis-singapore-on-bencoolen/index.shtml
A group of Asian ecotourism leaders gathered to kick off the Asian Ecotourism Network (Ecotourism Asia) in Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia in conjunction with the 8th Asia Pacific Ecotourism Conference.
Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group today announced that the company has joined the fight in reversing the rapid decline in the shark population and signaling its commitment towards sustainable seafood sourcing.
This year, Wild Asia together with Gaia Discovery is on a lookout for inspiring travel stories from within the industry. We are inviting exceptional tourism businesses and projects from across Asia to submit their inspiring story.
Singaporeans are coming together in support of the first ever hackathon focused on ethical shopping: the Good Living Design Jam.
High court sides with Indigenous communities in battle over controversial Malaysian palm oil giant’s plan to develop large areas of ancestral territory and pristine forest
Instilling Greater Responsibility Using the Palm Oil Resource Trade Cycle Model as Guide. A Commentary By Mallika Naguran.
Singapore 3 March 2014. Singapore is tackling the haze blame game by introducing a penalty card – fine or jail sentence for errant companies that have been found to be directly or indirectly responsible for the fires. The proposed Transboundary Air Pollution Act is intended to mitigate the year-after-year haze issue that enshrouds Singapore, causing immense healthcare, environmental and business related costs.
The Act, punitive in its object, fulfils only one end of the goal keeping. A game can only be played fairly and without dispute if there were clear governing rules in the first place. There exist no such game rules for agricultural-based companies profiteering from stripping forests bare or burning existing plantations to make way for new ones.
Forests are home to at least 70% of all land-based plants and animals, providing essential ecological services for human health, agricultural productivity and climate buffers. Forests help maintain soil fertility, protect watersheds and reduce the risk of natural disasters such as floods and landslides by regulating water supplies and reducing soil erosion.
Protecting such a valuable natural resource should thus be a requirement worked into the business regulations of agriculture-related companies registered in Singapore. Such companies, be they producers, traders or lenders, should demonstrate compliance to an international standard for sustainability with strict environmental protection.
Who’s to Blame
Knowing what rules to apply can only come with the understanding of the kind of players involved and their relationship dynamics. A resource trade cycle analysis (RETRAC) model developed by Foundation Aidenvironment sheds light on this community and the linkages between the borderless demand, supply, production and consumption of natural resources based products. As haze has been attributed largely to the oil palm sector, a custom model helps identify capital and product flows (represented by arrows in the diagram), plus the policy leverage needed to manage sustainable oil palm trade.
Policy leverage is important arising from sustainability driving forces such as governmental laws, non-governmental organisation (NGO) activism, EU Renewable Energy Directive (palm oil in biofuel), and intergovernmental organisations e.g. International Finance Corporation. This sphere of influence towards sustainable palm oil production should be extended to key players involved in capital flows (e.g. bankers, investors, stock exchange) as they grease the product flow particularly between traders, plantation owners, palm oil producers and goods manufacturers.
Financial institutions, accountable for providing liquidity in upstream and downstream ventures of agricultural-based trade, can use their leverage to prevent deforestation and forest degradation. Banks can do this with strict engagement and investment policies for the agricultural sector (including forestry) and related trading companies, covering environmental impact, labour rights and human rights. WWF’s Palm Oil Financing Handbook is a good reference for fund, investment and credit risk managers.
Sustainability frameworks that are in place include FSC-certification for forest management and tree plantation operations; FSC Chain of Custody certification for entire wood product and processing chain; and Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification. However, RSPO, being a voluntary and non-binding scheme, has revealed loopholes and limitations, and as such must not be accepted as the ultimate green certification.
Clear regulations must exist on not siting investments in protected areas, High Carbon Stock Forests and areas with High Conservation Value. Along with that, respect the (land) rights of local communities and indigenous peoples is crucial.
Whatever certification is chosen, an initial independent assessment of socio-environmental impacts should be done to include the macro-impacts of new plantations located in regions in existing ones. The Singapore government could request for yearly compliance audit reports.
The sphere of influence causes ripple effects too. Incredible NGO activism had recently pressured Kelloggs to impose stricter requirements on its suppliers to protect forests and peatlands, and respect community rights. This chain of events has pressured Wilmar International, the world’s largest palm oil trader and an RSPO certified member, into tightening up its sustainability policies within its own supply chain as well e.g. oil palm planters and producers in Indonesia. The RETRAC model shows where and how else influence could be applied to put sustainability in action.
Sustainability in Action
A RETRAC study by Greenpeace in Netherlands in 1999 revealed that many plantation company clients of Dutch commercial banks were involved in social and environmental issues in Indonesia. The study also showed that financiers were able to influence their clients’ environmental policies but lacked internal policies to do so. Under NGO pressure in 2002, all Dutch banks signed a simple statement of intent to declare that no financial services would be made available to errant plantation companies that were involved in illegal activities, deforestation, open burning, or social conflicts.
A Friends of the Earth study in 2006, however, found that Dutch banks performed poorly in implementing such policies. Commercial banks then funded BankTrack, an independent NGO, to focus on banks’ compliance with the Equator Principles.
The Singapore government could likewise ensure the set up of a similar NGO, with the financial industry’s support, to enrich the resource database of agri-businesses’ documentation of licenses, land concession maps, supply chain partner lists, sustainability certifications and audits. Guided by RETRAC models based on agri-businesses, this funded NGO could also double up as the Singapore government’s watchdog to provide evidence for prosecution.
Strengthening the sphere of influence with laws is one aspect. It is by governing product and capital flows that can the agri-game be played well, that is, according to the rules.
Illustrated by Ivan Nasution.
An edited version of this article appeared in Today 3 March 2014. Here's the link to it.
Kellogg Co. (K) has agreed to buy palm oil only from suppliers who can prove they don’t damage rain forests, the strongest move yet by a public food manufacturer to stop the practice, according an environmental group that pressured the maker of Corn Flakes and Rice Krispies.
Greenpeace’s famous vessel the Rainbow Warrior visited Bali recently to promote the Ocean Defender initiative. It didn’t get much press coverage, but the people that did visit
Plastic bags are durable, waterproof, light, flexible, and strong. They are perfect for lugging groceries, as bin liners, even waterproof hats for old men. But they are choking our planet – and only a few governments are doing anything about it.
Seychelles is getting serious about sustainability and its hotels are starting to take measures to protect the earth. Hotel L’Archipel on Praslin, after two years of research and planning, has confirmed that they have taken the initiative to “go green” at their property by implementing numerous renewable energy solutions with a positive impact to the environment and in so doing improving guest comfort.
Green Globe announces certification of the JA Jebel Ali Golf Resort in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE). Over the past few years this luxury resort has demonstrated leadership and innovation in the fields of operational efficiency and globally responsible practices on multiple levels.
Thailand - Centara Hotels&Resorts, throughout its 30-year history, has always believed passionately in green and sustainable tourism, a policy that is at the heart of the company and which engages every property in its portfolio.
A new international alliance of research institutes has identified eight major shifts that must take place for humanity to achieve sustainable development. The recommendations come in a paper published today by the Independent Research Forum