Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Opening of Epson Singapore (SEA Headquarters) on 8 September 2021
Mr Siew Jin Kiat, Regional Managing Director, Epson Singapore (Southeast Asia Headquarters),
Ladies and gentlemen,
1 A very good afternoon to all. It is my pleasure to be here today.
2 Let me first congratulate Epson on your new Southeast Asia headquarters and the two new Solution Centers in Singapore. This milestone demonstrates your continued confidence in Singapore as a regional business hub.
Sustainability as the way forward
3 The COVID-19 global pandemic has significantly impacted businesses and economies around the world, and changed the way we live, work and play. However, this crisis also presents us with a timely opportunity for reform; to build back better, stronger, and more sustainable than before.
4 Sustainability has always been a part of Singapore’s DNA since our early years of independence. We have consistently pursued sustainable development by balancing economic growth with environmental protection and social inclusion. To further advance the national agenda on sustainable development, the Government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 earlier this year. Building on our past efforts, the Green Plan sets concrete and ambitious targets over the next 10 years. It strengthens Singapore’s commitments under the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement, and positions us to achieve net zero emissions as soon as possible.
5 A key target under the Green Plan is to reduce the amount of waste we send to the landfill by 20 per cent by 2026. To achieve this target, Singapore needs to shift from a linear economy approach of “make, use and throw” to a circular economy where waste is turned into resource and used for as long as possible. A circular economy will generate positive outcomes for the environment, as well as economic value and good jobs for Singaporeans.
6 To catalyse the transition to a circular economy, the landmark Resource Sustainability Act was enacted in 2019 to put in place an Extended Producer Responsibility, or EPR, framework for our three priority waste streams, which are: electrical and electronic waste, or e-waste for short; food waste; and packaging waste, which includes plastics. These waste streams are generated in large quantities, but relatively little of it gets recycled today.
7 Under the nationwide EPR scheme for e-waste management launched in July this year by the National Environment Agency (NEA), producers of regulated electrical and electronic equipment have to ensure the proper disposal and treatment of products that they supply to the Singapore market at their end-of-life. Epson is one such producer.
The important role of businesses
8 I am pleased to learn that Epson is a firm believer in environmental sustainability. The company’s Environmental Vision 2050 lays out three key commitments to achieve sustainability and enrich communities. First, Epson subscribes to all 17 of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and will contribute to their achievement through its environmental and corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives. Second, Epson aims to reduce its total emissions in line with the 1.5 degrees Celsius scenario by 2030. Third, Epson will become carbon negative and underground resource free, that is free from non-renewable resources such as oil and metals, by 2050.
9 Epson is also a member of RE100, a global initiative bringing influential businesses together to drive the shift towards 100 per cent renewable electricity. I understand that Epson’s manufacturing plant in the Philippines is already on 100 per cent renewable electricity as of January this year. The rest of its plants will be moving progressively towards renewable electricity by 2030.
10 An important aspect of being sustainable is to embed sustainability at the core of designs. For example, Epson’s heat free inkjet printers are designed to use less energy, emit less carbon dioxide, and require fewer replacement parts, which helps customers cut down on e-waste.
11 Another sustainable initiative is Epson’s new PaperLab product, the world’s first dry process office paper making system that can turn waste office paper into new paper on-demand. PaperLab also ensures that sensitive corporate information is destroyed securely on site as waste office paper is upcycled directly in the office. Coupled with Epson’s heat free inkjet printers, businesses can look forward to printing responsibly. Such breakthroughs in technology and design can help us get closer to our aim of reducing waste. I look forward to seeing these machines during the tour later.
Everyone can be a steward of sustainability
12 Achieving the goals in the Green Plan is a whole-of-nation effort that will require the Government, businesses, and individuals to work together to co-create solutions and drive change. As individuals, we can do our part by engaging in sustainable consumption. For instance, we can buy only what we need and support sustainable businesses. We can also actively practise the 3Rs of Reducing, Reusing and Recycling in our daily lives. No effort is too small, and our collective actions can make a positive impact on the environment.
13 Companies too can drive change by transforming their business models as we transit towards a low-carbon and energy-constrained future. By quantifying their organisations’ carbon footprint and climate risks, enhancing their carbon and energy efficiencies through innovation, adopting circular economy practices, and instilling a strong corporate culture of sustainability, companies can make a huge difference in our sustainable development journey.
14 Let me conclude by commending Epson for leveraging its expertise and experience to enhance sustainability in our community and being a partner in Singapore’s journey towards a low-carbon future. I hope more businesses will be inspired to do the same. Together, we will be able to build a greener environment, and more sustainable Singapore for our future generations.