Different stakeholders representing business, government, academic
and NGO sectors came together to share what companies based in
Singapore are and can do for CSR, ahead of the UN Global Business
Summit for the Environment later this week.
Acknowledging the work of think-tanks and NGOs to promote
environmental advocacy and awareness in Singapore, Guest-of-Honour Dr.
Amy Khor (Senior Parliamentary Secretary, Ministry of the Environment
and Water Resources) in her keynote address praised the organisers
SIIA, Shell and Singapore Compact, for forging a “fruitful CSR
partnership… in the advancement of the CSR movement in Singapore”
through the forum.
Addressing the first panel topic on “Standards, Tools and Practices:
International/Regional/National,” Shell chairman Lee Tzu Yang shared
the multinational’s seven sustainable development principles that guide
its general business model. Shell also offers transparency to its
stakeholders and the community through stakeholder engagement
mechanisms such as the Shell Sustainability Report and ‘Tell Shell.’
On the issue of stakeholder engagement, CSR-Asia Director Erin Lyon
emphasised the need for companies to pursue a model that identifies,
engage, and responds adequately to their stakeholders, but which should
differ by industry, company and regional affiliation.
Managing Director of ABN-AMRO (Southeast Asia) David Wong built on
the panel discussion by relating different tools that the international
bank relies upon such as the Environment, Social and Ethical (ESE) Risk
and the first-of-its-kind Climate Change and Environment Index to
promote sustainable banking and responsible practices by its clients.
Concluding the first panel as the session chair, Singapore Compact
President Claire Chiang regarded the work of Shell and ABN-AMRO as
pursuing a transformative agenda for others to follow, such as in
cleaning up unfavourable legacies or creating new tools and standards
to do better.
Turning the attention to the urgent environmental issues of climate
change and Southeast Asia’s transboundary haze pollution, Senoko Power
CEO Roy Adair advised that the key challenge for policy-making is
aligning what he calls the three Es: Economic Policy, Energy Policy,
and Environmental Policy. In support of the Singapore government’s
current initiatives to promote environmental sustainability, Senoko
aims to play a “catalyst role on global climate change issues” as a
triple bottom line company.
On the controversial subject of haze pollution, Cargill Agriculture
Group Director Thomas Fairhurst offered contextual insights to the
company’s work on the ground to enforce zero-burning measures and
provide clear guidelines for its plantation staff of 10,000. Fairhurst
shared that Cargill advocates CSR by maintaining close working
relationships with its smallholder partners and the Roundtable on
Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a non-governmental industry-led initiative
to promote CSR in agricultural practices.
Elsewhere, Climate Change Organisation Chairwoman Viki-Esther Chang
drew attention to the health and social impacts and dimensions of the
haze pollution for stakeholders to address.
In closing, panel chair Simon Tay shared that the issues discussed
at the Forum are relevant not only for Singapore, but serve well to
connect the nation’s concerns to other stakeholders at the regional
level. Insights drawn from companies such as those represented at the
Forum, will pave the way for others to do the right thing for CSR, in
venturing beyond philanthropy to influence the supply chain and
engaging the entire business process, rather than focusing only on the
Quotes from the panelists:
“The time is ripe for corporations in Singapore and the region to
channel their CSR efforts into environmental sustainability, and to
develop more integrated CSR policy strategies that extend beyond the
- Dr. Amy Khor, Senior Parliamentary Secretary
Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources
“It is about pursuing the art of the possible in the end…doing the right thing in an imperfect world”
- Lee Tzu Yang, Chairman, Shell Singapore
“CSR is a journey…we should start with ourselves as individuals. The impact will be tremendous if everyone is watching you.”
- David Wong, Managing Director, ABN-AMRO (Southeast Asia)