Sustainability

Singapore is a City in Nature where large experiences come with small footprints. Through a collective movement, we are reducing our impact on the environment and developing offerings that are both innovative and sustainable.

HOST A SUSTAINABLE EVENT

As climate change has taken centre stage in global conversations, Singapore stands as an eco-friendly tourist and business events destination. Here, planners can readily put together events with sustainability at the core.

Travel green to and within Singapore

Transportation accounts for 21% of global carbon emissions and is the largest emitting sector in many developed countries1. Planning for sustainable events must therefore start even before delegates reach tradeshow floors and meeting venues.

National airline Singapore Airlines (SIA) and its low-cost subsidiary Scoot, which together connect more than 130 destinations around the world2, are doing their part to go green. By the third quarter of 2022, all SIA and Scoot flights out of Changi Airport will use a blend of refined jet fuel and sustainable aviation fuel, reducing CO2 emissions by about 2,500 tonnes annually3. SIA also offers a programme for passengers to offset carbon emissions from their flights by supporting environmental projects in India, Indonesia and Nepal4.

Resource efficiency and conservation principles are at work throughout Singapore’s Changi Airport5. During the day, natural light fills the buildings with the self-adjustable skylights and reflector panels on the roof, while jet diffusers strategically placed around the departure halls help distribute cool air near occupied zones. In recognition of these sustainable design elements and more, all Changi Airport terminals have been certified with Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Green Mark (Gold)6 and above.

Upon leaving the airport, delegates can easily make it to venues and other meetings by utilising Singapore’s reliable and interconnected public transport system. Event planners can make travel via public transport even more seamless by providing NETS FlashPay Cards customised with event branding. These cards for digital payments can be purchased in bulk through the Singapore MICE Advantage Programme and used for up to seven years.

Point-to-point transportation in Singapore is also eco-friendly with ride hailing service Grab enabling passengers to make contributions to solarisation projects when booking rides7. For those that require private transport, car-sharing services are widely available throughout the island with providers such as GetGo, BlueSG and Car Club8.

Looking forward, Singapore will continue to reduce emissions from transport. By 2030, half of the city's public buses and public taxis will be electric, and by 2040, all the city's public buses will transition off diesel and run on cleaner energy9.

 

Consider energy consumption and efficiency

According to the 2021 edition of the Singapore Green Building Masterplan, 80% of Singapore's buildings will be certified green by 203010. Yet, even today, event planners are already spoilt for choice when choosing among green venues in Singapore, many of which have a focus on energy efficiency.

Among these venues is Marina Bay Sands (MBS), which between 2012 and 2020 managed to cut its carbon footprint by nearly 50%11. MBS has long been recognised internationally for its commitment to environmental protection and sustainable event planning. In 2014, guided by its SANDS360° global sustainability strategy, it became the first MICE facility in Southeast Asia to receive the ISO20121 Sustainable Events Management System certification12. It is also the first MICE venue in Asia Pacific to garner LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Platinum Green Building Certification and in 2020, became Singapore's first carbon neutral MICE venue, supporting the city's green energy targets through investments in Renewable Energy Certificates13.

 

Introduce sustainable catering and minimise food waste

Photo Credit: Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford

Many business meetings take place over meals, and Singapore is a foodie's paradise offering countless choices for business and networking meals. Nevertheless, food waste remains a critical issue for the MICE sector. To help solve this challenge, Singapore is updating legislation to require large commercial and industrial food waste generators such as hotels and developments housing food caterers to segregate their food waste and allocate space for on-site food waste treatment from 2024 onwards14. Likewise, MICE venues in the country are providing more options for sustainable catering menus.

Fairmont Singapore and Swissôtel The Stamford are prime examples of MICE venues that have taken significant steps towards sustainable food preparation and waste management. They recycle food waste using an Eco-Wiz Dry System Model DV1000 machine which can process 100 kg of raw vegetable scraps and peelings daily, with the compost later used as fertiliser in their shared herb garden15. They also launched the industry's first urban aquaponics farm in 201916, a 450-square-metre space designed to allow fish and vegetables to grow together in an integrated system and supply vegetables and fresh fish for the two hotels. Event planners can request for catering menus to feature produce from this garden.

 

Reduce paper and plastic waste

Paper and plastic make up more than a third of waste generated at events17, and many event planners in Singapore have done one or more of the following to significantly reduce this type of waste:

  • Conduct registrations via QR codes or through online event ticketing applications like Eventbrite, Peatix and SISTIC.
  • Implement 'Bring-Your-Own' initiatives for reusable bottles, containers, cutlery or stationery.
  • Engage sustainable vendors like Triple Eyelids which upcycles industrial waste into furnishing for event spaces18 and XCEL Industrial which provides reconditioned wood pallets for event logistics19.

Singapore MICE venues have also made paper and plastic waste reduction a significant part of their operations. For instance, Resort World Sentosa (RWS) has stopped using single-use plastic straws, water bottles and tableware not just at MICE events but also in all its themed attractions, hotels and dining establishments, saving more than 100 tonnes of plastic every year20. In 2021, RWS also introduced Eco-MICE packages for sustainable events, which include serving meals in sustainable packaging and providing reusable pens and recycled paper at events. Affirming the integrated resort's ongoing sustainability journey, the Global Sustainable Tourism Council has honoured RWS with its Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria for Hotels certifications.

 

Book rooms at eco-friendly hotels

Many hotels in Singapore have incorporated sustainable measures that go beyond planting a few extra trees on its compounds. Delegates can unwind in these lush spaces equipped with the latest green technologies.

Case in point: the two PARKROYAL COLLECTION properties by the Pan Pacific Hotels Group are testament to how nature can be seamlessly woven into hotel design. PARKROYAL COLLECTION Marina Bay is Singapore's first garden-in-a-hotel and is home to one of Southeast Asia's largest indoor atriums that also function as natural air purifiers21. With its solar panels and double-glazed glass ceilings, the hotel reduces energy consumption by an estimated 160,000 kwh a year. Its sister hotel PARKROYAL COLLECTION Pickering boasts 15,000 square metres of sky-gardens, reflecting pools, waterfalls, planter terraces and cascading vertical greenery22. All in all, foliage constitutes more than 200% of the property's total land area - a scale unprecedented in a built-up city centre.

 

Explore the City in Nature

When networking sessions and meetings are done, planners should encourage delegates to explore the wide variety of flora and fauna in Singapore and discover how the country earned its moniker “City in a Garden”.

At Pulau Ubin, visitors can take part in Amazing Races and kayaking challenges while learning about the rich ecosystem of the island accessible via a 15-minute ferry ride from Changi Point Ferry Terminal. Available tours include the ‘Chek Jawa Guided Tour’ and ‘Kampong Tour at Pulau Ubin’ by NParks, as well as ones organised by private operators including Let’s Go Tour and Bike Around Tour.

Back on the main island, on the north-western corner of Singapore, sits Sungei Buloh Wetland Reserve. Through free guided walks held there every weekend, visitors can get the chance to glimpse resident wildlife like otters and estuarine crocodiles23. Sungei Buloh is also a must-visit for budding ornithologists, as Singapore is part of the East Asian-Australasian Flyway, the world’s largest flyway stretching from Alaska to Australia and New Zealand24.

For those who need a quick respite from the hustle and bustle of the city, the Singapore Botanic Gardens is a stone’s throw away from the Central Business District. Spanning 74 hectares, it is the first and only tropical botanic gardens on the UNESCO’s World Heritage Site list and has something for everyone including an Ethnobotany Garden where visitors can learn about plants used by indigenous cultures in Southeast Asia25.

With Singapore planning to add 1,000 hectares of green spaces by 2035, including 130 hectares of new parks by 202626, visitors can expect even more options to get in touch with nature when they visit in the coming years.

 

Footnotes

1https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/11/global-transport-carbon-emissions-decarbonise/

2https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/us/plan-travel/destinations/where-we-fly/

3https://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/all-sia-scoot-flights-from-changi-to-use-sustainable-aviation-fuel-from-q3-2022-in-1-year-trial

4https://www.singaporeair.com/nl_NL/nl/media-centre/press-release/article/?q=en_UK/2021/April-June/jr0521-210625

5https://www.changiairport.com/corporate/sustainability/sustainable-changi.html#s6

6https://www1.bca.gov.sg/buildsg/bca-awards/past-bca-awards/bca-green-mark-awards

7https://www.grab.com/sg/press/others/grab-singapore-announces-transport-sustainability-goal-as-part-of-its-grabforgood-initiative-aims-for-a-full-fleet-running-on-cleaner-energy-by-2030/

8https://getgo.sg/, https://www.bluesg.com.sg/, https://www.carclub.com.sg/

9https://www.lta.gov.sg/content/ltagov/en/newsroom/2022/3/news-releases/reducing-peak-land-transport-emissions-by-80-.html

10https://www.mnd.gov.sg/our-work/greening-our-home/singapore-green-building-masterplan

11https://www.marinabaysands.com/content/dam/singapore/marinabaysands/master/main/home/company-information/environmental-sustainability/mbs-2020-responsible-business-highlights.pdf

12https://www.marinabaysands.com/content/dam/singapore/marinabaysands/master/main/home/company-information/media-centre/february/Marina%20Bay%20Sands%20is%20Singapore's%20first%20ISO%2020121%20certified%20venue_26%20Feb%202014.pdf

13https://www.marinabaysands.com/content/dam/singapore/marinabaysands/master/main/home/company-information/media-centre/Sep2020/sands-expo-and-convention-centre-is-now-a-carbon-neutral-venue-8-sep.pdf

14https://www.towardszerowaste.gov.sg/foodwaste/#govt

15https://www.lifestyleasia.com/sg/food-drink/dining/going-green-how-hotels-and-restaurants-manage-food-waste-in-singapore/

16https://www.fairmont-singapore.com/blog/fairmont-singapore-debuts-urban-aquaponics-farm/

17https://plastic-action.asia/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/WWF-Guide-to-Zero-Waste-Events.pdf

18https://www.tripleeyelid.com/pages/about, https://www.creuse.sg/

19http://www.xcelindustrial.com/

20https://www.rwsentosa.com/en/sustainability, https://www.ttgmice.com/2021/10/27/resorts-world-sentosa-rolls-out-eco-mice-packages/

21https://www.augustman.com/sg/travel/hotels-resorts/parkroyal-collection-marina-bay-is-singapores-first-garden-in-a-hotel/, https://singaporeland.com/championing-sustainability-down-to-the-smallest-detail/

22https://www.visitsingapore.com/content/dam/MICE/Global/plan-your-event/venues/parkroyal-pickering/PARKROYAL-COLLECTION-Pickering_Sustainable-Green-Features.pdf

23https://www.nparks.gov.sg/gardens-parks-and-nature/parks-and-nature-reserves/sungei-buloh-wetland-reserve

24https://www.nss.org.sg/articles/2f436f5e-a10-15-NW20Q3FlywaysD.pdf

25https://www.nparks.gov.sg/SBG

26https://www.greenplan.gov.sg/targets

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