The Jakarta Post
In support of Singapore’s Year of Climate Action, 300 individuals and organizations signed a pledge on Oct. 24 to make a difference and fight climate change at the RHT ASEAN Summit 2018 at the Suntech Singapore Convention & Exhibition Centre in Singapore.
The signature ceremony was witnessed by none other than Singapore’s Senior Minister of State for the Environment, Water Resources and Health Dr. Amy Khor. So far more than 300,000 individuals and organizations have made similar climate action pledges in Singapore.
The Year of Climate Action is a Singaporean national campaign to raise public awareness about the need to take collective action to fight climate change and ensure a sustainable living environment for future generations.
While delivering her keynote address, the minister said there was a global shift toward a low-carbon future in response to climate change. The shift was armed with a growing call for sustainable production and consumption as well as an increasing emphasis on green finance both regionally and globally.
“There is an opportunity for us now – governments, industry leaders, businesses, civil society organizations and individuals – to take the future in hand and set our course for sustainable growth,” Amy said.
With the theme of “The Future for ASEAN Economy: Greening for Sustainable Growth”, the one-day summit was attended by sustainability driven leaders, investors, innovators, business leaders and top diplomats from many countries.
The summit highlighted sustainability challenges and new opportunities in new green initiatives. The main objective of the summit was to ignite, initiate and inspire sustainability and corporate responsibility initiatives for a green Singapore as well as ASEAN.
While speaking about sustainable growth and the need to fight against climate change, RHTLaw Taylor Wessing’s deputy managing partner as well as ASEAN Plus Group chairman Azman Jaafar said that all businesses must develop their sustainability development goals in order to survive tomorrow as sustainability is vital for both Singapore and ASEAN. The issue of sustainability might look like an environmental topic but it goes wider and deeper than that.
“We are encouraged to see the vibrant exchange of ideas and insightful discussions on sustainable growth as well as the pledges toward fighting climate change at this year’s RHT ASEAN Summit. We believe that sustained awareness of the importance of sustainability will bring us closer to a green economy where sustainable practices are the norm,” Azman said.
“There will be less wastage, and businesses will then become more efficient and effective”.
During the summit, the RHT Rajan Menon Foundation, a charity organization and one of the key sponsors of the gathering, commissioned its sustainability initiative called GAIL (Greening ASEAN Initiatives and Leadership) to encourage organizations to embed sustainability into their operating models.
“We’re excited to embark on this initiative as we aim to promote green growth in the region and galvanize others to embed and grow sustainability into their business models. GAIL is set to facilitate relevant expertise, knowledge and practical measures to enable ASEAN companies to respond to the region’s growing call for sustainable development,” Tan Chong Huat, chairman of RHT Rajan Menon Foundation and managing partner of RHTLaw Taylor Wessing, said at the Summit.
Several ambassadors from friendly countries were also present at this year’s summit, which is already four years old.
While speaking about the advantages of a circular economy, French Ambassador to Singapore Marc Abensour stated in detail about how grassroots sustainability movements can bring positive change at a national level. For example, Abensour said, French Food Waste Law was only enacted after a grassroots campaign aimed at curbing food waste.
Meanwhile, Indonesian Ambassador to Singapore Ngurah Swajaya explained about how collaborative efforts for sustainable development can be guided by the Tri Hita Kirana philosophy, which is based on three aspects: harmony among people, environment and spiritual harmony.
Ambassador Ngurah spoke about policy reforms to advance the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) during a panel discussion at the summit.
Echoing a similar view, Joseph Del Mar Yap, the Philippines Ambassador to Singapore, said that the alignment between the Philippine Development Plan and the SDGs was made as part of his country’s national long-term vision.
The summit was organized by RHTLaw Taylor Wessing LLP, a Singapore law firm with an extensive international reach, and RHT Academy is a leading provider of transformational training, development and continuing education for legal, governance, risk and compliance professionals and senior executives
The main sponsors and strategic partners of the summit are ASEAN Plus Group and its partner firms from Asia, RHT Rajan Menon Foundation, CMIG International, Taylor Wessing, Automobile Association of Singapore, Sentosa Golf Club and Ayala Land International, Independent Consultants 1920 LLP, Sustainability Consultants 1920 LLP and RHT Governance and Risk.