Project: Eco-Office turns 10 [Press Releases]
Singapore, 23 February 2012 – Sustainability was the buzz word this morning at City Square Mall, Singapore’s first eco-mall, as real estate developer City Developments Limited (CDL) and the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) – officially introduced a make-over for the Project: Eco-Office initiative at the 10th Anniversary Celebration and Presentation Ceremony. The event was graced by Minister for the Environment and Water Resources Dr Vivian Balakrishnan.
Project: Eco-Office which was launched on 5 June 2002, is a joint initiative by CDL and SEC. Targeted at the business community, the outreach initiative provides organisations with a ‘starter kit’ on cultivating environmental-consciousness at the workplace. The aim was to bring the environmental message to offices in Singapore by making available posters and stickers with environmental messages that could be displayed in one’s office.
Said CDL Managing Director Kwek Leng Joo, “Project: Eco-Office was born at a time when little was being done to encourage the uptake of eco-friendly habits at the workplace. As a major landlord in Singapore and a pioneer in the green movement, CDL recognised the need to change the way businesses work, think and manage precious resources at the workplace. Together with SEC, this initiative was introduced to reach out to businesses and office workers. In line with our commitment towards environmental sustainability, we leveraged on our position as a landlord to encourage every new tenant to “green” their premises, providing them with a Project: Eco-Office kit and engaging them in numerous green outreach programmes.”
Expanding on Project: Eco-Office further, an online self-rating system was launched in late 2003 for offices to determine how green they were. In 2005, offices that were rated well were encouraged to participate in a formal audit conducted by an independent auditor. Successful offices that meet the mark are awarded the Eco-Office Label certification. More than 100 offices ranging from the property, banking, construction, pharmaceutical and electronic sectors, among many others, have received the Eco-Office certification since the programme was launched.
The SEC, which administers the Eco-Office certification, is targeting to add another 100 new offices to the tally by the end of this year. This is more than a 100 per cent increase from the current number of offices which have received certification. CDL and SEC hope to reach the target as part of its efforts in contributing to Singapore’s commitment of reducing carbon emissions by 7 – 11 percent from BAU (Business as Usual) levels in support of the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint.
Explaining the bullish targets which have been set, SEC Executive Director Jose Raymond shared that with a greater awareness of environmental issues such as climate change, he was confident that organisations will make the effort to change, starting with their practices at the work place. “The Eco-Office programme has been around for 10 years and we expect its demand to increase as more organisations realise the importance of conserving the environment and its resources. This is the reason why the key message, constantly carried on the newly designed Project: Eco-Office posters emphasise that the earth’s resources are finite and that we should only use what we need.”
Designed by boutique design agency Thinking Designs, the new-look collaterals, which include thought provoking messages like “What if you had to eat your coffee?”, provide office employees a constant reminder about the importance of saving our world’s natural resources while reflecting on simple everyday routines, such as making a cup of coffee. A new Project: Eco-Office Facebook page, www.facebook.com/projectecooffice was also launched today. A daily green tip will be posted on the Facebook page among other information like links to stories on environmental issues.
The first batch of companies which were Eco-Office certified received their certificates at the inaugural award presentation ceremony in 2005. Pioneer batch of recipients were Ricoh Asia Pacific Pte Ltd, the National Environment Agency (NEA) Headquarters, and the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and CDL. These four organisations have also been maintaining their Eco-Office status through re-certification till today. In fact, NEA has the accolade of having consistently achieved the greatest number of offices certified under this bi-annual certification scheme.
Said NEA Chief Executive Officer Andrew Tan, “As the national agency for promoting and sustaining a clean and green environment in Singapore, it is important that we walk the talk and set high environmental standards ourselves. NEA is committed to improving our systems, engaging our staff and meeting, if not exceeding, the “Project: Eco-Office” requirements for certification.”
Apart from the NEA, about 75 per cent of offices which are currently certified are public organisations, like government agencies, including ministries and statutory boards. This, according to SEC, is an indication of how the Government is taking the lead in encouraging organisations to be environmentally conscious and in conserving the world’s natural resources.