Dr John Keung, the CEO of Building Construction Authority (BCA) once commented that “Sustainability goes beyond the effort of any single player in the value chain.” For both the green building and green energy agenda to propel forward, it is essential for all the stakeholders in the value chain to buy into it. Greening the value chain is no easy feat especially when different stakeholders have different viewpoints. Getting everyone on the same page requires a strategic move as well as a strategic partnership. Singapore has indeed forged a strong 3P partnership as it tries to be a more sustainable nation.
A close-knitted partnership among the 3P – people, private and public – sectors are of paramount importance in establishing a society that is environmentally aware and responsible as well as being a sustainable user. Non-governmental organisations like Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) plays an instrumental role in teaching the public as well as the industry players the importance of having green buildings (3rd Green Building Masterplan, n.d.). SGBC primary purpose is to advocate for green building design, practices and technologies in the building and construction industry so that Singapore can be a greener and sustainable nation (Singapore Green Building Council, n.d.).
The government, represented in particular by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR) and also the Ministry of National Development (MND). The two ministries aid in the advancement of the green agenda in Singapore by being a network facilitator, fostering a closer relationship with the private sector such as companies like CapitaLand as well as public sectors like tertiary institutes. Aside from that they also coordinate efforts amongst the different governmental agencies like the Housing Development Board (HDB), Land Transport Authority (LTA) and also the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Additionally, the ministries also publish blueprints to inform the different sectors its’ plan in making Singapore greener. The aim of a closer relationship between the various sectors so that they will be able to create their green initiatives to influence the rest of the value chain.
Having a brief overview of what the different sectors do and how they are involved in greening Singapore, let us now dive in deeper to understand the different sector contribution and their importance in ensuring the 3P partnership remains strong. Amongst the 3P sectors, the public sector is known to be the most influential and have the highest authority in making decisions. The centralised decision making is one key factor that has enabled the partnership to prosper as well as pushing the green agenda.
As mentioned above, the public sector involves the two ministries MEWR and MND as well as government agencies like the Building Construction Authority (BCA) and HDB. These organisations also collaborate to implement green solutions into buildings as well as green energy solutions into these buildings. As public sector is a significant sector in Singapore, the public sector is highly respected by the other sectors and are seen to be the one setting the standards towards a green Singapore. The public sector is important as without them the private and people sector will not have reference or guidance to how to make Singapore a green nation. Moreover, the ministries are the one that is responsible for steering Singapore towards its sustainable goals. By having them setting the green direction and the target, they can influence the supply chain and the other sectors.
Moving on will be the private sector. Involving the private sector is a tricky business. First of all, the primary objective of private corporations is to meet the company’s bottom line so that it will be able to please the company’s shareholders. Inviting them to jump on the bandwagon of green buildings and green energy is a tricky business. However as mentioned earlier, as the public sector has the most resources, they can incentivise the private sector to join them in the fight for a green Singapore. For instance, the BCA Green Mark Initiatives Scheme were introduced to encourage the private industry to build greener buildings and retrofit existing ones with green solutions such as vertical greenery and also photovoltaic cells (3rd Green Building Masterplan, n.d.). Incentivising the private sector is certainly a successful measure as quoted from Mr Lee Eng Lock, director of Trane Singapore, more building owners are pushing for higher energy standards on their own. Aside from incentivising the private sector, education outreach done by the SGBC, a non-governmental organisation, also helps to educate the private industry to raise the standard and recognition of green building products in Singapore.
Last but not least is the people sector. The people sector is certainly an important part in greening the value chain. The people sector are the end users of the chain and it is essential that they are educated. Having green features such as green buildings or green energy is useless if people still do not utilise them efficiently. Like Dr Keung’s quote mentioned at the beginning of the post, everyone has a part in greening the chain. The people sector or consumers are needed to be empowered so that they can make intelligent and informed decisions when making choices or decisions. Since 2009, BCA has conducted roving green exhibits to reach out to the public to educate them on the importance of green buildings and what green features are being used in the buildings (BCA, n.d.). To help the people sector contribute more towards greening Singapore, Green Mark schemes are introduced when people chooses their electronic appliances such as refrigerator or washing machines. This is certainly a positive step towards greening Singapore.
Moreover, as the young generation are going to be the future leaders of Singapore, it is important to start from young. Environmental and sustainable issues are being woven and incorporated into the teaching curriculum so that students are more aware of such matters. The BCA formed the Build it Green (BiG) club to recruit green advocates to enhance the awareness and understanding of green buildings amongst youths (BCA, n.d.). Aside from that students are also given the say in helping the nation towards a greener agenda. The Greenovate Challenge was introduced in 2013 to involve youths to help to green their school by working with Energy Service Companies which are involved in energy auditing schools.
All in all, collaborate is a step forward for a greener nation. As can be seen from the above, intersectoral and interagency collaboration has a positive outcome in greening Singapore. However, we have yet to evaluate the importance of the different sectors in the 3P Partnership. Each sector has its strengths and weaknesses. It is crucial to identify this importance so that we can figure out to ensure the strategic partnership continues and not crumble.
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