April - nº 01
Focus on Asia
going green makes sense for Asian leaders?
Innovation in Sustainability – an opportunity for Asian businesses
Asia has developed from
being the manufacturing plant of the world to becoming a major
driver for global economic growth. The Asian growth trajectory is
projected to continue, resulting in noteworthy economic,
political, social, resource and environmental challenges. However,
the burning question we need to address is – can Asia afford, for
the next 50 years, to grow its level of consumption at the same
rate as Western nations have done for the past 50 years?
reported that that if every one of the new consuming middle class
‘were to adopt the historic consumption patterns of the average
citizen in the United Kingdom, three planet Earths would be
required to sustain them – five if they were to live like the
average North American.’ Asian business leaders will have to face
the consequent challenges. A lack of solutions to these challenges
will have a devastating effect on the rest of the world. At the
same time, Asian business leaders need to assess if the
Anglo-American or European model is suitable for Asian countries,
societies and businesses, and to find new ways to mitigate poverty
as well as provide directions for a sustainable way of life.
It is a unique
opportunity for Asian leaders to turn these challenges into
extraordinary opportunities to drive solutions that could
potentially be exemplary models for the rest of the developing
world to emulate. Solutions in sustainable design, sustainable
manufacturing, and innovations in clean tech and clean energy can
point to a future where growth and raised living standards are
possible without neglecting the environment challenges that so far
have gone hand-in-hand with economic progress.
Fostering Innovation and
With the rise of the
middle class, business leaders in Asia are looking to create their
own success stories of products or services through a focus on
R&D, design, innovation and brand strategies. However, substantial
investments into R&D, design and brand do not always guarantee
Millenials base their
purchase decisions on image and aspirational values. Increasingly
social issues also play an influential role for these new
consumers. A great rise in population, particularly of the middle
class in Asia, coupled with this new consumer behavior is bound to
transform Asian businesses. We will see them eventually moving
away from emulating Western businesses to spearheading new
innovations for Asia and the world.
Insight into the
methodologies used by established design firms, paired with the
disruptive power of creativity and innovation can help to
formulate winning strategies. These methodologies of design
thinking and systems design have the potential to arrive at
solutions that never lose sight of economic, market, social,
psychological, behavioral, cultural, ecological and environmental
challenges or situations. At the same time they can provide
aesthetically pleasing and quality-of-life enhancing products or
services that can help counter problems such as climate change and
Environmentally Friendly Development Agenda
processes are continuously maturing. The value of design,
innovation and its methodologies are increasingly recognized at
every executive level. All of this has urged business leaders to
seriously consider the impact of their businesses on the life of
their customers – not just from a technical or a financial point
of view, but also from that of sustainability and social issues.
Sustainable design, clean
energy and clean technologies have become the new hot buttons for
many countries and businesses alike. For countries in Asia,
investment in clean energy and technology has started to solicit a
more important place in the development agenda. According to the
2010 Thomson Reuters’ Cleantech Handbook for Asia Pacific, the
‘Asia Pacific Region (APR) will be the largest Energy Market and
clean technology Market in the world, by 2030.’ Research also
indicates that – just for renewable energy alone, China and India
will lead the renewable energy market; by 2016 China’s renewable
energy market will be US$53 billion, India’s US$14.4 billion.
The large numbers of
investment into clean energy and clean technology is a necessary
consequence in anticipation to the rise of the middle class.
Without a doubt, the rising middle class will be the growth engine
for Asia Pacific in the years to come. The increase in the
availability of consumer credit, however, and of general
consumption will in turn increase the hunger for energy and the
need for energy generation.
For business leaders in
Asia the imperative conclusion and message is clear and simple –
- to reduce energy, material and water consumption of offices and
- to design for disassembly and recycling
to comply with Restriction of Hazardous Substances Directive (RoHS,
adopted by the European Union in 2003) and Waste Electrical and
Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE, introduced by the UK in
While this might seem
like a lot to ask for, it is the foundation for innovation of new
processes that lead to the development of greener products,
improve the lifestyle of people, reduce carbon footprint or waste
and help consumers understand energy consumption and waste. The
list of opportunities here is extensive, showing plenty of reason
for Asian businesses to be in the position to lead if their
leaders are able to form their organization’s corporate culture to
be open for these new opportunities.
Cultural Diversity Builds Opportunities for Sustainability
In Asia it is not
uncommon to find diverse cultural situations, not only in business
but also at the ethnic, national and regional levels. As
innovation is best achieved through an open dialogue of different
opinions and ideas, this diversity of the Asian markets and
culture has the potential to be a petri-dish for nurturing
innovation. Organizational cultures need to be primed to accept
innovation and thus and one of the biggest challenges for Asian
business leaders is to embrace the regional cultural diversity as
well as establish an organizational culture that is conducive to
innovative products or services.
Business leaders in Asia
need to be aware a) that any sized company’s success is rooted in
what its organizational culture stands for, and b) that a guiding
framework of behavior, norms and values can lead an organization
to becoming a high-performing business. Affecting changes to a
corporate culture – with the aim to provide meaningful innovation
to society at large – need to start with listening to the
customer, and understanding consumers’ needs and requirements.
Luckily, it has become very easy today to be attentive and to
listen to the experience customers have with companies. There are
myriad possibilities for connections between companies and its
customers, more than ever before, through technological
advancement in interconnectability, social networking and cloud
The opportunities are
vast for the true Asian leader to guide businesses to
significantly contribute not only towards their own commercial
success but also the success of the region as a whole. Today, the
market-moving innovation and cultural dynamism is what builds a
country’s or a company’s prominence. It will definitely be
challenging to navigate an increasingly complex, multi-polar
environment with geo-political challenges, economic and cultural
differences. However, Asian business leaders are in a good
position to step up and steer organizations toward a more mature
and dynamic economies through innovations in clean tech and
sustainable design. More than ever, there is a role to be played
in Asia to build authentic, clear, consistent, strategic and solid
brand stories for the innovation of products and services to
enable all of us, collectively and consciously, to contribute to a
Source: 1 March 2012, Green Business
69% of businesses to lift green spending
Most businesses plan to
boost their commitment to sustainability this year, despite the
tough economy, a new global study has revealed.
A report study by MIT Sloan Management
Review (MIT SMR) and The Boston Consulting Group (BCG)
has found that 69% of firms expect to step up their investment in
and management of sustainability this year.
Only 26% plan no change,
and just 2% say they will cut back on their commitment.
The study, carried out
for the second year, is based on a survey of 3,100 corporate
leaders across all industries, and 30 in-depth interviews with
It found that a two-speed
landscape is emerging, with a gap between sustainability
“embracers”—those who place sustainability high on their
agenda—and non-embracers or “cautious adopters,” who have
yet to focus on more than energy cost savings, material
efficiency, and risk mitigation.
significantly more confident about their competitive position than
non-embracers, with 70% saying they believe their organizations
outperform industry peers.
By contrast, only 53% of
the cautious adopters described themselves as outperformers, and
14% admitted to lagging behind peers.
In addition, nearly three
times as many embracers (66%) than cautious adopters (23%) said
that their organization’s sustainability actions and decisions
have increased their profits.
“What’s fascinating is that our findings depict a business
landscape in general that’s tilting hard toward where the
embracers already are,” said Michael Hopkins, editor-in-chief of
MIT SMR and a co-author of the report. “So the embracers have
handed us a kind of crystal ball. Their insights and behaviors
suggest a blueprint for how management practice and competitive
strategy will evolve.”
The report said improved
brand reputation was perceived as the biggest benefit of
investment in sustainability, while the auto sector was send as
the industry for which sustainability was most critical – 80% of
car executives in the sector said sustainability-related
strategies were essential.
companies—whether currently embracers or not—are looking toward a
world where sustainability is becoming a mainstream, if not
required, part of the business strategy,” said Knut Haanaes, a
BCG partner and managing director and co-author of the report.
“Those not already putting sustainability at the heart of their
business will need to do so in the near term.”
Source: 25 March 2012,Green Channel Staff
jobs to grow up in India by 60% in 2012
With 'global warming'
becoming a major concern world over, hiring of green professionals
is likely to grow by up to 60 per cent this year, say experts.
"Companies are today
taking steps to become environment-friendly and are hiring green
professionals, who can help them reduce energy consumption.
"The demand for
environmental professionals is expected to go up by 55-60 per cent
this year, as firms are raising their spending on creating clean
technology, reducing emissions and wastage and regulating use of
natural resources," Elixir Consulting Executive Director Kanika
Green job is mainly
defined as work in agricultural, manufacturing, research and
development, administrative and service activities that contribute
substantially to preserving or restoring environmental quality,
professional reviews the direct and indirect impact of products on
the ecology and devise strategies to protect the atmosphere, she
Green jobs can either be
white or blue-collar in sectors like agriculture, manufacturing,
administration and service activities like IT and finance.
With growing demand for
green buildings, the real estate sector is likely to emerge as one
of the biggest recruiters of green professionals, she said.
Elixir has observed a
trend of hiring environment professionals in the FMCG and retail
sector as well.
Companies are offering
attractive salaries to green professionals, which varies, Vaswani
said adding that at middle-level, the package is usually at Rs 12
lakh and Rs 35-40 lakh at senior positions.
Echoing the view,
executive search firm GlobalHunt Director Sunil Goel said the
hiring of green professionals began a decade ago, but paced up 5-6
years back, when many industries faced mandatory regulations to
have environment experts and green department to manage waste and
In 2012, he said, hiring
will increase by 30-40 per cent for green professionals and this
growth is likely to remain consistent for next five years.
"With attractive salary
packages, interest towards this profession is growing constantly,"
professionals are hired at all levels and get compensation between
Rs 5-7 lakh, depending on experience, he pointed out.
Executive search firm
Symbiosis Management Consultants CEO Vinay Grover opined that
usually these professionals hold masters degree (M.Sc, M.Tech) in
Environmental Engineering by IIT's, state owned universities and
other couple of AICTE approved colleges as well.
People with Civil and
Chemical Engineering background also become environment
professionals, he said.
The power, oil and gas,
chemical sectors, he said, are the traditional employers for the
environmental professionals, however, with the growing concern
towards the ecology, the trend is also visible in FMCG and IT.
"In India, there aren't
many green professionals available in the market and seeing it as
coveted career, more and more people are likely to pursue it as a
career option," he said.
This year, he opined that
the hiring for such professionals would see a phenomenal increase
to the tune of 35-40 per cent, since the base is very low...
Source: 8 January
2012, The Financial
building: a sustainable concept on the rise!
The two upcoming
integrated resorts in Singapore, which open in the first quarter
of next year, are not planning to gamble with the environment.
In fact, they have spent
millions of dollars on green technologies and sustainable building
concepts to conserve resources.
It has been a roller
coaster ride for the environment, and climate change is a real
threat. So companies, like Singapore's two integrated resorts, are
striving for greener practices.
Resorts World Sentosa,
for instance, transplanted 900 trees affected by construction
work. It is now replanting them - along the streets of Hollywood
and New York - within its Universal Studios theme park.
The resort also has
Singapore's largest solar installation, that can generate over
500,000 kilowatts per hour of energy a year.
Noel Hawkes, vice
president, Resort Operations, Resorts World Sentosa, said: "(With
regards to) the solar power, we reckon we can save half a million
Singapore dollars easily on electricity bills.
"We also have a very
interesting ETFE roofing system over many of the al fresco dining
areas of the resort, as well as in the Universal Studios where
people are queuing, and this reduces the amount of sunlight by
"And we couple that with
an eco-cooling system, which we have developed; it is not air
conditioning, but it is cooling and it costs one-third of the cost
of air conditioning."
The ETFE plastic roofing
will shelter about 70 per cent of the pedestrian walkways at the
Another cost saving of
over S$160,000 a year will come from a lagoon, which will harvest
rainwater to be used for irrigation.
Meanwhile, Marina Bay
Sands resort is also doing its part - by recycling paint from
previous projects, as well as recycling construction waste. When
completed, guests staying in the 2,500 luxury rooms at the three
hotel towers can also play a role.
Thomas Arasi, CEO, Marina
Bay Sands, said: "We have spent S$25 million on an intelligent
building management system, and what that would do is that it
would automatically record the customer's needs and energy saving
"On the remote control in
our guest room, there will be an eco button that you can hit and
it will just take things up a notch and hopefully you will not
Marina Bay Sands said it
has also invested a substantial amount of money on the
construction and operation of a massive chilled water plant to be
located just off its third hotel tower. This will be done on a
cost sharing basis between the resort and public entities.
The plant is expected to
be ready in late 2010. Marina Bay Sands said it will provide
chilled water to cool the resort as well as new buildings in the
Observers said the use of
chilled water could help lower air conditioning costs by up to 20
Source: 11 December
2009, Channel News
FlexiWorks: a Milestone in Singapore! A government initiative
towards an enhancing Workplace Environment/Motivations and to also
reduce Carbon footprints
Flexi-Works! is an
initiative by the Singapore Workforce Development Agency (WDA), in
partnership with the National Trade Union Congress (NTUC) and
Singapore National Employers Federation (SNEF) to help companies
hire new workers on part-time or flexible work arrangements.
Flexible work arrangements include part-time working, staggered
hours, flexi-time, job-sharing, telecommuting, and alternative
Flexi-Works! offers a grant of up to $100,000 to support a
company’s efforts in implementing flexible work arrangements. The
programme has been extended to run from 1 April 2010 to 31