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Sustainable Homegrown Businesses

These days, there’s been a shift away from conspicuous consumption in Singapore and all around the world. And the reason for that is arguably Global Warming and the fight against climate change. Have you heard ‘sustainability’ and the ‘Singapore Green Plan 2030’ thrown around a lot?

What is Sustainability?

Sustainability is the ability to exist and thrive without depleting natural resources for future generations. Because the Earth’s resources are finite, it's important to use what’s available sparingly so that the next generation can meet their own needs. This goes beyond the depletion of fossil fuels, it includes necessities like water. With billions living on this planet, it’s inevitable that resources are used up. And research shows that to keep up with our current rates of resource consumption, we’ll need 1.75 Earths. If we do not adopt sustainable practices immediately, all signs point towards devastating consequences such as:

 

Understanding the Singapore Green Plan 2030

The Singapore Green Plan 2030 is a national movement that seeks to achieve the goals put forth by the UN’s Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement. With several key targets such as planting a million trees and reducing waste sent to landfills, the Green Plan aims to build a greener and more sustainable future for all. A pledge to the next generation, the plan has 5 programmes - City in Nature, Energy Reset, Sustainable Living, Green Economy, and Resilient Future – and is a large step our Lion City is taking to transform the nation.

Why are Sustainable Business Practices Important in Today’s World?

Regardless of who is the main culprit for climate change, one thing is for sure - we all have a role to play in mitigating the risks that accompany it. Individuals need to make informed and sustainable consumer choices. Businesses that produce what we buy need to take responsibility and stay true to the climate commitments. Why the emphasis on sustainable business practices?

Did you know that only an estimated 9% of all plastics are recycled? The 3 R’s of waste management have been ingrained in our minds, but recycling has only seen so much success. There is a desperate need for companies and investors to double down on sustainable practices - according to a report published by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), “100 of all the hundreds and thousands of companies in the world have been responsible for 71% of the global GHG emissions that cause global warming since 1998.

There is most certainly a need for sustainable business practices to become much more mainstream. Locally, part of the Singapore Green Plan 2030 is to introduce an Enterprise Sustainability Programme. By embracing sustainability, the government hopes for 2 things - an increase in job opportunities, and the promotion of homegrown innovation.

Supporting Local Business

While businesses make their move towards sustainable business practices, one thing we can all do is support local businesses. Buying locally can do a lot for the environment and the local community. Some benefits include:

1. Supporting the local economy

When you support local businesses in your area instead of shopping online or going to a global chain store, the money you spend there has a greater chance of being reinvested into the local community, which is fantastic for the economy.

2. Increasing jobs

If we buy from small-scale, locally owned businesses, rather than international chains, there’ll be an increased need for manpower at these shops. With increased demand and competition, new job opportunities will open up too.

3. Helping the environment

Because you’re buying local, you’ll reduce your carbon footprint because you won't be shipping things from hundreds - if not thousands - of kilometres away. From food to fresh produce, costs and environmental impact will be dramatically reduced.

4 Sustainable Local Businesses

For those keen to support businesses in Singapore with a sustainable business model, there are several entrepreneurs who have made green growth their priority. Raising the bar to create an eco-friendly Singapore, each of these have introduced innovative new business ideas aimed at promoting a greener lifestyle.

1. The Sustainability Project

The Sustainability Project, aims to drive and inspire the adoption of a low or zero-waste lifestyle. By educating, transforming, and inspiring, The Sustainability Project offers everything from an informative blogosphere with tips to workshops to inspire the next generation. They also have a shop that offers a range of products including bamboo tissue paper and stackable bento boxes - all of which abide by their Zero Waste Packaging Initiative.

2. Unpackt

According to The World Counts, it takes 1,000 years for a plastic bag to break down, and approximately 5 trillion plastic bags will be used this year. As one of Singapore’s first packaging-free stores, Unpackt offers package-free bulk food, products, and daily necessities. Customers will have to bring their own bags and jars or grab one of their recycled containers to fill them up.

3. Citiponics

You can’t talk about sustainable business practices without discussing agriculture. A significant contributor to anthropogenic climate change, agriculture is a major source of Greenhouse Gas emissions. Contributing 17% of emissions directly through agricultural activities and up to 14% more due to extensive land-use changes, climate-friendly agriculture mitigates potential damage to the environment.

Citiponics was set up in 2015 after recognising the pressing need to change how we do things in agriculture. Developed to supply produce for local and overseas markets, Citponics created the first ever multi-storey carpark rooftop commercial farm. This innovative and sustainable solution produces a massive 4 tonnes of leafy greens every single month which is sold at specific NTUC FairPrice supermarkets in Singapore.

4. Karana

Plant-based meat alternatives are on the rise. One might suggest the inspiration for plant-based meat stems from cattle and dairy farming being ‘unsustainable’ as determined by climate scientists, which makes sense, considering the industry is responsible for 14.5% of human-caused carbon emissions.

Karana is not just Singapore's, but Asia’s very first plant-based meat business whose pork alternatives are sure to surprise and delight. Taking on the multibillion-dollar meat industry, Karana uses jackfruit, oil, and salt to produce meat substitutes that are free from preservatives.

Sustainable Inspirations are Closer Than You Think

Addressing our impact on the planet has never been more critical. Bringing everyone together to inspire more responsible living and sustainable business modelling is a must, and we will see more local and international businesses take on the challenge of doing things more sustainably.

And it will, without question, be incredible to witness.