Singapore, Wednesday 4th November 2015: Nearly 30 Singaporean and multi-national companies including Rolls Royce, ING, City Developments Limited, and Autodesk, came to the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development 2015 ready with bold commitments regarding labour practices, waste and energy management across their supply chains.
These ambitious and strategic targets have clear deadlines, and have been published both at the forum and online.
"The year 2015 is certainly going to be seen in the coming decades as the turning point for global efforts to bring about a more sustainable future," remarked Ashok Khosla, Co-Chair of the United Nations Environment Programme's International Resource Panel and Founder & Chairman, Development Alternatives Group. "It is the first time that the international community has recognised the mutual interdependence of all members of society."
At the forum's opening yesterday, Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made a bold call for business and government leaders to take concrete steps to address sustainability challenges.
Acknowledging the environmental, economic and health-related ills that the haze has brought to the region, Balakrishnan emphasised that the recent burning of peatland in Indonesia has "catalysed a growing demand for responsible and sustainable business practices", even if much more still needs to be done. He called for companies to be transparent about their supply chains and reiterated the need for political will, ethical investments and intensified regional and international cooperation.
Over 500 delegates from 24 countries attended the interactive forum, almost half of whom were from the private sector, with consultancies, governments, NGOs and the financial services industry also represented in high numbers. This year, the forum focused on delivering climate action and global goals aligned with the upcoming UN climate change negotiations in Paris, and the adoption of a post-2015 global sustainability agenda.
Senior representatives from Singapore, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, the Philippines and Australia, shared their national commitments to reducing global emissions and set the scene for rich discussions across the following two days involving stakeholders with diverse perspectives.
Tony Gourlay, CEO of Global Initiatives, the forum's organiser, commented: "The sustainability experts and decision makers in attendance are already demonstrating that acting as sustainable corporate citizens makes sense for business and for humanity. We hope that their commitment will light the way for others to follow."
Participating companies included Unilever, DSM, Maersk, StarHub, Google, Ikea, DHL, City Developments Limited, Tata, NTUC Fairprice, Scania, APRIL, Sinar Mas, MTR Hong Kong, Wilmar, Diageo, Novartis, Essilor, GE, Interface and Levis amongst many others.
With the official forum hashtag #RBFSingapore rated as the number one trending Twitter topic in Singapore, the ongoing discussions and messages are already having impact beyond the walls of the forum venues Marina Bays Sands and Gardens by the Bay.
Source: Rice Communications and Global Initiatives