Speech by Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Epson Southeast Asia Headquarters 40th Anniversary Gala Dinner
Mr Yasunori Ogawa, President and CEO, Seiko Epson Corporation
Mr Siew Jin Kiat, Regional Managing Director, Epson Southeast Asia
Mr Joseph Koh, Chairman of the Conservation Fund Board of Trustees, World Wide Fund for Nature - Singapore
1 Thank you for inviting me to join you today. An anniversary is always cause for celebration, and today marks two important milestones for Epson. It is not just the 40th anniversary of Epson’s Southeast Asian headquarters in Singapore, but also the 80th anniversary of the company. My heartiest congratulations!
Challenges posed by climate change
2 I earlier visited the exhibition on the key achievements of Epson Southeast Asia which showcased how Epson looks ahead by leveraging technology and developing innovative products. The theme of tonight’s event, “Vision Beyond”, also speaks of the importance of foresight and planning – areas that the Singapore government firmly believes in and practises. In this vein, I am especially heartened by the environmental commitments that Epson has made. Under Environmental Vision 2050, Epson aims to become carbon negative by 2050. You have switched to 100 per cent renewable electricity at all major sites in Japan and I understand that you are working to do the same around the world.
3 Forward planning, with environmental sustainability at the core of business operations, is crucial as we tackle the existential threat that climate change poses. Extreme weather events have become ever more common. Hurricane Ian has devastated the state of Florida, and research has found that climate change intensified the storm’s rainfall. Closer to home, devastating floods in Australia, India, Pakistan and Bangladesh have caused massive destruction and countless fatalities. In Singapore, we are experiencing increasing temperatures and extreme weather patterns. As a low-lying island state, we are also vulnerable to sea level rise.
4 Last year, we launched our Singapore Green Plan 2030 to rally collective action to tackle climate change. The Green Plan outlines concrete and ambitious sectoral plans and targets that will position Singapore to achieve our net zero aspiration. One of our key targets is to reduce waste sent to the landfill by 20% per capita per day, by 2026.
Epson exemplifies how businesses can make strides towards Zero Waste
5 Companies play an important role in our collective efforts under the Green Plan. Many are taking actions to lower their resource footprint and adopt circular operating models. Epson has gone a step further by regularly reviewing areas for improvement as part of your annual sustainability report.
6 Alongside your commitment to environmental sustainability, Epson products also showcase the value and potential of sustainable innovation. For instance, your digital textile printers significantly reduce water and electricity consumption compared to traditional fabric printing. In 2021, Epson launched PaperLab, the world’s first-in-office dry papermaking system. PaperLab enables businesses to securely destroy sensitive information while reducing the corresponding environmental impact. Innovations such as these will surely play important roles as we strive towards becoming a Zero Waste Nation.
Partnering for Forward Singapore
7 While the Government will lead the way in driving our national sustainability agenda, we recognise that businesses and individuals play indispensable roles. That is why we launched our Forward Singapore exercise to bring all of us together to examine our aspirations and build consensus. The Forward Singapore exercise will allow us to consider and discuss what the priorities on our national agenda should be, what the trade-offs are, and what we are willing to do to achieve them. For example, how do we pursue competing economic, social and environmental goals? And how fast can we move towards net zero and how do we do it?
8 These are important questions, and the Government is committed to partnering with businesses, community groups and individuals to build consensus and forge progress together. This year’s Climate Action Week held in September demonstrates the importance of such collaboration, with over 80 partners from corporates, community groups and schools organising 140 activities. MSE kicked off Climate Action Week with a call for the public and partners to share their views on environmental sustainability and pledge to take action.
9 Similarly, one way that we can jointly show our commitment tonight to make Singapore a green, liveable, and climate-resilient nation is by making the Green Nation Pledge. I encourage everyone here to think about how you can make a difference in your workplace, community, and home, and take action by being a contributor, advocate, or champion for environmental sustainability.
10 As an African proverb says, “if we want to go far, go together”. Besides transforming their own businesses, companies can make an even bigger impact through partnering with other like-minded organisations and communities. As we look back on 40 years of Epson in Singapore, I am heartened that you recognise the value of collaboration. Just last year, Epson Southeast Asia announced your collaboration with WWF to scale up coral restoration efforts in the region and launched education programmes on topics like sustainable consumer spending. These are commendable efforts that contributes to our green transition.
11 To conclude, as the theme of tonight’s event exemplifies, vision will continue to be crucial for Epson, Singapore and the world as we collectively deal with the existential threat of climate change. To rise to this challenge, the Government, companies and the community must work together to forge a shared vision of a green, liveable and climate resilient Singapore and take collective action to achieve this vision.
12 Once again, congratulations to Epson on this special occasion. Thank you and have a good evening ahead!