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Opening Remarks By Dr Amy Khor Senior Minister Of State For The Environment And Water Resources At The Partners For The Environment Forum On 17 July 2019

TOPICS: Sustainability

Her Excellency Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore

Partners for the Environment

1. Good morning. I am heartened to see both new and familiar faces today. The expansion of our Partners for the Environment, or PFE family is encouraging. For returning partners, thank you for your continued support for Singapore’s journey towards sustainable development. To our new partners, I warmly welcome you to our family and look forward to your fresh perspectives.

2. This is the third PFE Forum organised by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources. By bringing together our partners from the People, Public and Private, or what we call 3P, sectors, the Forum has facilitated the sharing of useful insights and collaborations among partners.

3. Last year, we focused on accelerating action on climate action. This year, in line with our Year Towards Zero Waste, we will centre much of our discussions on what we need to do together to achieve Singapore’s vision of becoming a Zero Waste Nation. But climate change remains very much on our agenda, and Minister will share his thoughts on this in his keynote address this afternoon.

Pivotal Role of Businesses

4. Climate change and environmental protection are complex and multi-faceted problems that cannot be addressed by the government alone. As we jointly tackle these existential challenges, we need industries and the community to join hands and spearhead green practices and initiatives.

5. In particular, the corporate sector plays a pivotal role in promoting sustainable consumption and production in a resource- and carbon-constrained world. With your networks, reach and influence, you can lead the way in adopting circular economy practices. I am glad we have the opportunity to recognise the outstanding efforts of some companies at the Singapore Packaging Agreement, or SPA, Awards today.

6. One of them is Resorts World Sentosa (RWS), which has stopped providing plastic bottled water and soft drinks in all of its attractions, dining establishments and hotels. Instead, its hotel guests now have refillable carafes in each room and water stations on every floor of the hotels.

7. Another notable example is the hotel chain Six Senses Singapore. Six Senses carries out on-site composting of some of the food waste generated from its kitchens. The rest of the food waste is sent to urban farms for composting, along with coffee ground.

8. RWS and Six Senses Singapore are amongst the 19 winners of this year’s Singapore Packaging Agreement Awards. I would like to extend my congratulations to the winners and my sincere thanks for their significant contributions in reducing packaging waste. I would also like to commend the 239 signatories of the SPA, for their collective efforts in reducing 54,000 tonnes of packaging waste and saving $130 million in packaging material costs from 2007 to date. The 239 signatories we have today also marks a significant increase from the 32 organisations we had at the launch of SPA in 2007.

9. Building on the foundation of the SPA, the National Environment Agency, or NEA, will be introducing a new programme to develop industry capability in managing packaging waste sustainably. The programme will help lay the groundwork, and complement the implementation of the mandatory packaging reporting in 2020, and the Extended Producer Responsibility framework for packaging waste management by 2025. The three key thrusts of this programme are to build up industry capability to reduce, recover and recycle packaging waste; introduce supply chain initiatives that foster sustainable use of resources; and to raise industry and consumer awareness on the 3Rs of packaging waste management. More details of this programme will be announced at a later date.

Co-Creating Solutions with the Community

10. Our citizens also play an important role in our journey towards a Zero Waste Nation. By practising the 3Rs – reduce, reuse and recycle – in our daily lives, and encouraging our family and friends to do the same, we can each generate a multiplier effect in the larger community. 

11. Over the past year, my Ministry and the NEA have engaged the public widely on the inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan which will be launched later this year. We are grateful for the many useful ideas and suggestions which have helped us to formulate an actionable and sustainable Masterplan.

12. We want to go beyond discussion, and work with Singaporeans to co-create effective and meaningful solutions. We will convene a Citizens’ Workgroup of 50 Singaporeans from diverse backgrounds to work with us on solutions to improve the way we recycle at home. The Citizens’ Workgroup will be given access to policy-relevant information like household recycling surveys, as well as resource persons who can share their expertise and help with piloting and exploring solutions. Starting today, members of public can indicate their interest to participate in the Citizens’ Workgroup at towardszerowaste.sg.

13. To our partners, I hope you will work with us to support this Workgroup as resource persons. Your insights, experiences, professional knowledge and resources will be invaluable, both in the discussion stage, as well as when we move into piloting and implementation. I invite you to let us know if you are interested in being a resource person, and partnering us to co-deliver the recommendations put forward by the Workgroup, which should be published before the end of the year.

Conclusion

14. Let me conclude. At the start of the year, we launched two sets of videos to urge Singaporeans to Save Semakau and Recycle Right. Following positive responses to the videos, which garnered more than a million views each, we will be launching a second series of videos next month. I now leave you with a preview of the videos, and may it inspire all of us to do more and go further in our journey towards a Zero Waste Nation.

15. Thank you, and I wish you a day of fruitful discussions.

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