The Paia team attended the Responsible Business Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 (RBF) held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre and Gardens by the Bay, 3 to 4 November 2015. The RBF saw over 600 business leaders, policy makers and NGOs from around the world gather to share innovative solutions for creating sustainable growth and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.
2015 is indeed being hailed as a historic year for the world. The discussion at the RBF could not have been more timely, focusing on two major events this year. First, this year has seen the launch of the new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to ensure prosperity and environmental protection for future generations. Second, this year will end with a new treaty to be agreed upon in Paris where the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 will take place. This is where the worlds nation states will decide to limit the greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global warming beyond the two degrees that is expected. In addition, the current haze situation in the region was a hot topic that raised a few questions for the policy makers from around the region. In the opening plenary address, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan called it a ‘man-made tragedy’ and asserted that growing consumer awareness on sustainable business practices and companies’ supply chains, means that businesses have to be more transparent in their operations and policies.
Day one of the conference saw business leaders, international government officials and sustainability experts across several sectors such as agriculture and forestry, palm oil, consumer goods, building and infrastructure, energy, mining and financial services hold pertinent discussions about how improvements in innovation and technology, mind-set shifts and transparency are necessary for businesses. In the face of an ever increasing population, a consumerist society, strain on the earth’s natural capital coupled with rising carbon levels, businesses must embrace sustainability at all levels and restructure their conventional practices if they want to continue operating in this climate.
This paradigm shift has already occurred for some innovative companies such as Autodesk, April, and DSM – who have embraced transformational sustainability changes such as new closed-loop and circular business models and have become leaders in their own right. The various panels explored the possibility of transitioning to a low carbon economy, and the benefits and challenges of placing a monetary value on natural capital. Almost all agreed on the imperative need to integrate this valuation into future decision making. Organisations present were WWF, Ersnt & Young, South Pole Group, A*STAR, Rolls Royce, Aviva, Trucost, Autodesk, DHL, and NTU, to name a few.
The Sustainable Development Goals were discussed in great detail on day two by policymakers from around the region, business leaders and NGOs. The speakers ranged from businesses such as Levis Strauss & Co, Novartis, INDISKA, Sime Darby, Wilmar, HMP Family, policy makers from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and NGO’s such as UN Women Singapore, WWF etc. The SDGs were combined into broad topics and the speakers shared their thoughts on approaches and programmes that will contribute to a transformative, inclusive, low-carbon economy where a dignified standard of living can be achieved by communities. NGOs had a special role to play on this day, as they shared their thoughts on forging effective, multi-stakeholder partnerships which are crucial for successful collaboration.
Look out for more on this page by the Paia team on Green Freight Asia (GFA) Forum: Bringing Green Freight Practices to Scale.