NEA is first Singapore Public Agency to produce a Sustainability Report under The Global Reporting Initiative [Press Releases]
Singapore, 3 July 2012 – The National Environment Agency (NEA) is the first Singapore public agency to publish a Sustainability Report, written in line with the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. These guidelines highlight some of the key economic, environmental, social and governance parameters that an organisation espousing sustainability should report on. NEA achieved a “B” GRI checked sustainability report on its first attempt. The Sustainability Report was launched at the CEO Forum on Sustainability at the inaugural CleanEnviro Summit Singapore.
The Sustainability Report highlights NEA’s efforts in inculcating an eco-friendly culture within NEA and encouraging its staff to contribute back to the community. Some of NEA’s initiatives in environmental sustainability include the integration of green features such as solar panels and a rain harvesting system to irrigate the landscaping for NEA’s newest meteorological service facility along Kim Chuan Road; as well as championing the Public Sector Taking the Lead on Environmental Sustainability (PSTLES) initiative to reduce electricity and water consumption.
NEA’s Sustainability Office was set up in 2010 to oversee and coordinate all sustainability efforts within NEA. Such an office is a first among public agencies in Singapore. One of the programmes mooted last year by the Sustainability Office included the “8 Effective Habits 10% Challenge” which aimed to encourage NEA staff to adopt eight environmentally sustainable habits to work towards consumption reduction and nurture an eco-friendly culture (see Annex A for details).
Engaging stakeholders and encouraging innovation is important in our drive for sustainability. Numerous engagement channels and platforms to recognise innovation were set up to encourage both our staff to innovate for sustainability and embrace sustainability. Staff engagement channels include the CEO Townhall, Sustainability Intranet, Innovation and Learning Fiesta are being put in place. NEA has also adopted a more structured approach to organising Corporate Social Responsibility activities for our staff, with the adoption of two charity organisations, namely the Singapore Children’s Society and the Children’s Cancer Foundation.
These measures encourage staff involvement and ownership and allow NEA to receive timely feedback and suggestions from staff, enabling NEA to put in place necessary changes for sustainability. Some suggestions, though simple, can in fact reap significant long term benefits and even increase staff productivity. An example of one such staff suggestion is the installation of timers for hot-water dispensers. This simple suggestion has helped NEA reduce our consumption, with an estimated annual cost savings of S$18,000, for the initial $300 investment. Another example is the suggestion to use live streaming technology to broadcast NEA’s quarterly CEO Townhall to employees located at off-site premises for staff engagement. The implementation of this suggestion helps NEA to save precious man hours that would otherwise be spent commuting between offices, increase staff productivity and at the same time, reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To encourage the business community to adopt sustainability, NEA works with and supports various entities like Singapore Compact for CSR and Singapore Business Federation in their programmes and awards on sustainability. Through 3P outreach programmes, training and incentives schemes, like the Grant for Energy Efficient Technologies (GREET), Innovation for Environmental Sustainability fund, NEA also partnered and assisted numerous companies in their efforts to be more sustainable.
To ensure that NEA continues to operate effectively and efficiently, and perform its role to safeguard the environment, NEA will need to stay relevant, responsive and resourceful. To do so, NEA will continue to leverage on technology, utilise new media to engage the public and keep in touch with the ground in its outreach programmes, and develop a networked approach for faster, better response. An example of this is the recently launched NEA Energy Audit mobile application, which helps users identify energy-intensive appliances in the home and provides them with energy-saving tips to better manage energy consumption and save cost (see Annex B for more information on NEA’s myENV and energy efficiency mobile apps).
Mr Andrew Tan, CEO of NEA said, “This is our first attempt at sustainability reporting based on the Global Reporting Initiative. It will spur us on to improve our efforts going forward. In doing so, we are demonstrating to the community that we are committed to promoting sustainable practices as a responsible organisation and encouraging all our other stakeholders to do likewise. We hope that other public agencies and businesses will be encouraged to embark on their own sustainability journey.”