Farah Sanwari co-initiated Repair Kopitiam in 2014, a community project promoting repair culture.

Consume less. Be mindful of the product you consume, where it comes from, and where it’ll end up after.

Farah Sanwari is in the business of developing solutions for organisations and communities seeking long-lasting growth. She takes the concept of sustainability to a new level by making use of her expertise to come up with various initiatives that address some of the most pertinent green issues of today. 

Replacing the Buy-and-Throw Culture 

Farah is clear about what needs to be done to reduce waste: consumers must consume less. To combat the buy-and-throw culture and reduce waste generation, Farah co-initiated Repair Kopitiam in 2014, a community project aimed at promoting repair culture. At Repair Kopitiam, on-site volunteer repair coaches trained by Sustainable Living Lab help members of the public fix their broken or damaged household appliances, furniture, toys and clothing. Repair coaches involve their “patrons” in the process, so that they too get to experience the joy and satisfaction of restoring their items. 

Prudential Singapore

Singapore is not spared from the impact of climate change, including rising sea levels and increase in temperatures. As a leading insurance provider in Singapore, Prudential Singapore is a strong advocate of health and wellness. People often forget that the environment can have an impact on one’s health too. On this note, ensuring that we operate in a sustainable and environmentally-responsible way is crucial in creating long-term value for our customers, shareholders and the broader Singapore community.

Our sustainability journey picked up momentum in 2017, after the results of an internal survey revealed that this was one of our employees’ top three causes. It reaffirmed our strategy to cultivate an eco-friendly environment and promote sustainability at Prudential Singapore. 

Our goal is to reduce the company’s carbon footprint and help our employees become more conscious about how their consumption habits affect the environment. In line with this, we removed all single-use disposable cups in our Marina One office in August 2018 and refined our recycling processes across all our offices.

To cultivate eco-friendly behaviour among our employees, we ran a series of internal campaigns around recycling and waste reduction this year. To get our messages across, we used digital platforms, poster displays, set up an interactive community wall and organised our first e-waste collection drive. We conducted a quiz about good environmental practices and gave away eco-friendly prizes such as personalised KeepCups and reusable straws. More than 60% of our corporate employees pledged to practice more eco-conscious habits in their daily lives for Climate Action.


Employees who participated in the  quiz were given a personalised KeepCup.

Environmental stewardship starts from home, or in our case, the workplace. Our advice to other organisations who are starting on their sustainability journey is to start by evaluating their existing sustainability practices. For example, begin by identifying the key sources of waste, and current practices around recycling. More importantly, set realistic targets around sustainability goals and where relevant, educate employees on how individual behaviours can have a positive impact on company-wide sustainability efforts. 

Singapore Sailing Federation

As the custodian of the sport of sailing in Singapore, we inevitably have a very strong connection with the seas. Our activities are primarily held in the coasts and seas around the island. Over the years, we have seen the bad and the ugly in our surrounding waters – plastic bags floating in the water, heaps of trash on the shores, and much more.

 

It was very concerning to see the state of our environment and that was when we pledged to commit ourselves to sustainability. Understanding the United Nations General Assembly’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals also inspired us to head in this direction. We might be the custodian of the sport of sailing, but we are now also a custodian of the seas and we recognise our responsibility of raising the next generations of ocean ambassadors.

Beach cleanup

We kicked off our sustainability journey in early 2018 with the organisation of our first Clean Regatta. Clean Regatta is an international certification offered by Sailors for the Sea, an international conservation group. To achieve this certification, we had to implement 10 best practices for for sustainable events including beach cleanups, composting our food waste, eliminating single-use plastics, providing more water refilling stations, eliminating paper results and having 1:1 ratio of recycling to trash bins. We achieved Bronze Certification for organising a Clean Regatta and we are now looking forward to achieving Silver and Gold in the future, and eventually Platinum!

Sustainability best practices

We are currently working closely with a global management consulting firm to define our sustainability footprint and strategy, and exploring ways for our organisation to become fully sustainable. In this study, we are not only focusing on the Environment, but also taking into consideration social and governance issues, using the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) framework.  This allows us to look at sustainability in a holistic manner.

 

Sustainability is critical for our organisation. We understand the state of our world today. The impact of climate change is real and we are seeing repercussions everywhere – forest fires, loss of habitat, famine, drought, poverty. We might just be one small organisation trying to do our part in bettering the world, but we are optimistic that every initiative we put out will create a ripple effect.

Not a very pretty sight on our beaches

Imagine the impact we can make collectively if every sailor, family and organisation we touch makes an effort. For a start, we can target the low-hanging fruit. Organisations and National Sports Associations can encourage staff to stop using single-use plastics and keep the pantry stocked with metal utensils and cups. We can also conserve energy by switching off unused electrical appliances. We can reduce and recycle in creative ways as well. For instance, we repurposed old Optimist boats to hold plants for our Community Garden.

We recycled old Optimist boats to hold plants for our Community Garden

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Let’s all take one small step today for a more sustainable future!

UglyGood

Singapore generates 809,800 tonnes of food waste annually, but only 16 per cent of the food waste is recycled.

UglyGood is a cleantech social enterprise addressing the increasingly perilous issues of climate change and food wastage. By leveraging on green bioprocessing technologies, UglyGood have managed to transform organic byproducts into valuable resources.

Check out our interview with Jeremy Lee, UglyGood’s co-founder below!

What inspired this business model of upcycling food waste?

We turn fruit waste (fruit pulps and peel by-products) into animal feed and natural bio-based cleaning agents. To date, we have diverted over 40,000kg of fruit waste away from the landfill.

We were inspired by this business model as we saw huge amounts of food by-products going to waste, despite the fact that this waste is a resource and commodity that could be harvested.

IMG-20180305-WA0004

Who are the people behind UglyGood? Tell us more about yourselves!

UglyGood was founded in 2017 during our undergraduate days in Singapore Management University (SMU). It was co-founded by myself and Clewyn Puah, a fellow SMU undergraduate.

We first learnt about the food waste issue then and being entrepreneurs at heart, we decided to find out how we can mitigate the problem by turning waste into something valuable (waste valorisation).

Despite not having a technical background in science or engineering, we started seeking ways to extract and create value from waste streams. Ever since then, we have inspired and attracted organisations, businesses, scientists and individuals from different backgrounds to join us in our journey towards zero waste.

Team

Partners (Juice Manufacturer)

What products do you create and what type of companies do you work with? What are some challenges you face?

We are turning fruit waste in the juicing industry into valuable products such as animal feed and natural bio-based cleaning agents. We work with organisations such as Singapore Zoo to utilise fruit by-products as animal feed. Other organisations such as hotels, property developers and even facilities management companies are also strong adopters of our natural cleaning solution, which we have made using waste fruit peels. Simultaneously, we also partnered with research scientists from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) such as Temasek Poly to improve our products through technology and R&D efforts.

Some challenges involved creating products using the principles of circular economy, and proving that is a better alternative compared to existing market options. Hence, we ensure that all our products create a strong business value proposition for our clients, through the underlying benefits of a circular economy and the application of design thinking principles.

Copy of slide6_2

How has creating UglyGood shaped your view of food waste in Singapore?

When we first found out about the staggering amount of food waste in Singapore, it was shocking to us that so much was being wasted (809,800 tonnes annually) for such a small country.  It was very surprising as well, to know that there were not many effective solutions around to tackle the food wastage problem.

After looking into this issue further, we realise that this is a huge global problem, and we saw an opportunity for innovation and disruption in the space of effective waste valorisation. Hence, we believe that we are able to create positive impact for the environment and also create a viable business model around wastage. We believe that food waste in Singapore should be a resource and commodity to be harvested.

 

What are your thoughts on 2018 being the Year of Climate Action for Singapore?

We are glad that Singapore is making great strides in environmental sustainability through its commitment towards climate action. In particular, it is heartening to witness Singapore’s effort for the environment and plans to keep in line with the Paris climate agreement. We believe that this movement will continue to grow as more organisations and individuals become more forward thinking and realise that sustainability is here to stay.