All SingPost post offices to attain certification under Project: Eco-Office scheme by April 2013 [Press Releases]
Singapore, 25 March 2013 – All offices under SingPost will soon be certified by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) as being Eco Post-Offices, if they pass the rigorous audits conducted by independent auditors. In line with this, SingPost is targeting to reduce its paper and electricity usage by 10 per cent within the next 2 years. This was announced at today’s Project: Eco-Office presentation ceremony held at the MND Auditorium, officiated by Mr Tan Chuan-Jin, Acting Minister of Manpower and Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development.
“The greening of post-offices represents a milestone in the Council’s role of driving sustainable business practices; one that we hope will further cultivate green heart-ware in Singapore. Going green is closely associated with business cents and sensibility- not only is it good for an organisation’s brand, it can generate significant cost savings too. Project: Eco-Office is an initiative driven by habit and practice; we don’t require companies to install new facilities. It’s about cultivating that mindset among people to print double-sided, use recycled paper, or even turn off the tap whilst soaping their coffee mugs,” said Mr Jose Raymond, Executive Director of the SEC.
Some 49 new offices – comprising over 12,000 staff – were recognised as Eco-Offices at the presentation ceremony today, spanning sectors such as retail, education, construction, property and engineering. These include the Housing Development Board, all PAP Town Councils, Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Gammon Pte Ltd and SEC (new office premises at Kay Siang Road). Arup Singapore adopted biodegradable packaging for their in-house lunch time sessions, and monitored the packaging type used for lunch sessions in 2011. A take-up rate of over 70 per cent (of the biodegradable packaging) was observed by end of Mar 2012. An additional 13 offices were re-certified today, including the Media Development Authority and Republic Polytechnic.
“It is heartening to see a green wave building momentum at the workplace – impacting both the public and private sectors, with the increasing application of Eco-Office certification by businesses. In addition to environmental responsibility, businesses are realising that there are financial and social benefits to be reaped. I would like to congratulate all the Awardees today who have successfully traversed an eco-journey of 3 A’s – Acknowledgement, Acceptance and Action – and they are sterling examples of companies that walk the green talk in the office space,” said Mr Kwek Leng Joo, Managing Director, City Developments Limited (CDL).
The SEC, which administers the Eco-Office certification, is targeting to add another 100 new offices to the current tally by the end of this year. This is a 60 per cent increase from the current 167 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.
Mr Loh Choo Beng, SingPost’s Executive Vice President for Retail and Financial Services, said: “With the extensive network of Post Offices throughout Singapore, SingPost is committed to not just helping our staff and partners, but also customers to understand the changes we can make to reduce the overall impact we have on the environment. One of our latest initiatives is the support and participation in Earth Hour 2013 in which among other things, we have raised the air-conditioning of our corporate and back-end offices by 1 degree. We value our environment and SingPost will continue to make improvements in our daily operations to protect it. For example, we have about 270 postmen and postwomen on bicycles to deliver mail, thereby reducing carbon emission. We will continue to introduce innovations that will help protect Mother Nature.”
SingPost’s green journey started in 2006 when it embarked on the green building project to optimise its air-conditioning chiller plant at its then 8-year old headquarters in Singapore Post Centre. The project won the top award for the ASEAN Energy Award (Retrofitted Category) at the 26th ASEAN Minister’s Energy Meeting in 2008. It resulted in an estimated reduction of 2,531 tons of carbon dioxide emitted a year, or an equivalent of 626 saloon cars off the roads.
“The certification comes as a great opportunity for us to learn and be recognised. It encourages changes in personal behaviour, such as bringing your own lunchbox, or not using plastic,” said Mr Harvesh Nagarajan, Manager of Productivity and Sustainability at Gammon Pte Ltd, a newly-certified office. “Eco-Office is important because it helps us to bring down utility costs,” shared Ms Audrey Seng, Finance and Admin Executive at Tanjong Pagar Town Council.
Mr Simon Bennett, General Manager of Sustainable Development at China Navigation also shared his sentiments about receiving the certification this year: “Before attaining the Eco-Office certification, about 95 to 99 per cent of our employees were doing the right thing (in terms of sustainable practices), but we lacked a formal structured system in place.”
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.
The SEC recently launched the revamped website, and audit protocol which includes more questions to encourage companies to implement green Information and Communications Technology practices – on the back of recommendations by the Infocomm Development Authority – as well as the provision of green transport options such as bike parking facilities and staggered working hours.
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, 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. About 75 per cent of offices which are currently certified are public organisations, like government agencies, including ministries and statutory boards.
Apart from Project: Eco-Office, the SEC is planning to reach out to retail and manufacturing associations within the next quarter. These will be harnessed as springboards to infiltrate down to member organisations. At present, the Council has eco-offices, eco-food courts, eco-post-offices and eco-schools under its array of eco-establishments. Schools currently constitute the most wide-ranging network, with over 284 participating schools in 2012.