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Speeches

Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for the Environment and Water Resources, at the Launch of Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company (SSMC)’S Sustainability Week 2019 on 4 April 2019

Mr Jagadish, CEO of SSMC

Senior Members and Employees of SSMC

Distinguished guests

Ladies and gentlemen

Introduction

1 Good afternoon. I am happy to be here to launch the Sustainability Week 2019 for Systems on Silicon Manufacturing Company (SSMC). The launch today marks the start of workshops and booths set up this week to generate greater awareness of the importance of sustainability, and to mobilise action. When you heard Mr Jagadish speaking about the vision of SSMC just now in terms of going green, adopting green practices as well as embarking on corporate social responsibility, many of you would have felt his passion for this cause. Let us give him and his employees a round of applause.

 

Building Sustainable Norms

2 Indeed, SSMC has been a strong advocate of environmentally-friendly practices for many years. It has in place a five-year EcoVision programme to reduce waste generation and carbon emissions at source. It has also implemented 3R practices of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle throughout their operations. When I first stepped into the company, I could see all the awards that they have received for their corporate social responsibility and green practices, such as the Watermark Award in 2013 and the President’s Award for the Environment in 2015.

3 SSMC has also actively supported the annual Singapore World Water Day, setting up exhibits on water saving tips at their office premises to educate their employees, and encouraging them to pledge to make every drop count. They also took part in the “Walk for Water” event, to demonstrate their strong commitment towards water conservation.

4 Beyond what it is doing internally, SSMC also engages the public through its corporate social responsibility efforts. They have engaged people of all ages in their efforts. One example is a recent workshop with Park View Primary School, where students were taught how to upcycle. In fact, some of these efforts can be seen at the booths here today. The end products were given to PCF Sparkletots Preschools. I am sure their efforts were much appreciated by the children.

5 SSMC’s approach towards environment sustainability is commendable, and they have won multiple accolades for their efforts, including the prestigious President’s Award for the Environment in 2015.

6 To effect the magnitude of change that we need for a sustainable Singapore, it is imperative that we build sustainable norms in industry practices, in our communities and in our everyday lives. I hope that through exemplary examples from SSMC, more companies will also come on board.

Towards a Zero Waste Nation

7 This year, we designated 2019 as the Year Towards Zero Waste – to rally Singaporeans to build a strong culture of Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, and adopt a circular economy approach to resource management. In essence - to turn trash into treasure.

8 Let me explain why this is important. In 2018, Singapore generated about 7.7 million tonnes of waste. This amount is a seven-fold increase from 40 years ago, and is enough to fill 15,000 Olympic-size swimming pools. Even though we incinerate most of our waste to minimise what we send to our only landfill, we are generating so much waste that we will run out of space on Semakau Landfill by 2035. We cannot continue like this. Otherwise, we will have to build another landfill and more incineration plants within our limited land.

9 The Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources has been working on our inaugural Zero Waste Masterplan. The Masterplan will detail our upcoming policies to address three key types of waste – food waste, electrical and electronic equipment waste, and packaging waste (including plastics). We have consulted widely on the Masterplan. Last year, the National Environment Agency consulted more than 250 companies. Last month, we did a public consultation online. This month, we will be holding two focus group discussions with partners and members of the public.

10 We are doing this because in order to achieve our vision of a zero waste nation, we will need a whole-of-nation effort. Everyone can contribute. While the government can lead the way by implementing the necessary policies and legislation, we need everyone to work together to reduce our waste, reuse products and materials for as long as possible, and recycle right. We need businesses to explore how they can adopt circular economy principles, to design products which last longer, which can be recycled easily, and which use less packaging.

11 Our 3P partners, with their networks and influence, also play an important role in encouraging positive behavior amongst the community. I am heartened to see more businesses, civil society groups and individuals stepping up to organise ground-up initiatives, like the Sustainability Week by SSMC that we are launching today. Thank you for your commendable efforts in rallying everyone, not only within SSMC, but also the community to be here today.

Conclusion

12 I thank SSMC for organising the Sustainability Week, and hope that the event will inspire everyone involved to care for and protect our environment. Indeed, everyone can make a difference in protecting and conserving our environment.

Thank you.

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