Monday, March 14, 2011

Young CSR Leaders Award Competition

Singapore Compact is organizing Young CSR Leaders Award competition in association with CDL, a property developer. The competition is open to students from Junior Colleges, Institute of Technical Education, Polytechnics, Universities and International Schools in Singapore.

This is a team competition with each comprising 4-6 members who all must be from the same school.Participating teams will be paired with a selected SME. Respective teams will have to come up with a CSR strategy and action plan for their assigned SME.

Each team will also be provided with a mentor. Glad to share that I will be mentoring one of the teams.

A panel of judges will decide the winners of the competition.

The top team will take home $4000 in cash prize. The first and second runners up will get $2000 and $1000 respectively. There are prizes for other participating teams as well.

Registration for the competition will close on the 31st March 2011.

The competition is a great opportunity for Singapore's SMEs to access advice on CSR. At the same time, the contest engages with students who are the future leaders, and this is an opportunity for them to get a first hand feel of CSR.

For more information please contact Ms Minju Kim (

Friday, March 11, 2011

Fashionably Sustainable Competition : Challenging fashion designers to create responsible fashion

Asia's first sustainable fashion competition is being organized in Singapore. Sponsored by the Workforce Development Agency of Singapore and organized by the Textile and Fashion Federation of Singapore (TAFF), the competition which is titled "Fashionably Sustainable Competition" is now open for registration.

Participating fashion designers will need to create six designs that meet the sustainable fashion criteria of being environmentally and socially friendly. WDA and TAFF will organize sustainable fashion workshops to educate the participating designers in sustainable fashion principles.

WDA is Asia's first government agency which has taken initiative to promote sustainable fashion talent to keep Singapore textile fashion industry competitive as more and more multinational retailers seek to implement sustainable fashion principles across business.

Finalists will produce three selected designs into outfits which will be showcased in a sustainable fashion show in August. The winner will get $1500 cash prize and a free trip to Paris Fashion Week!

Just to add, I am deeply associated with this event. First, I helped developed the national competency framework for sustainable fashion for Singapore. Then I developed a sustainable fashion course which will be taught to WSQ Fashion Diploma students. I will also be conducting the workshop for the participants of sustainable fashion competition. More on this here.

For those interested in participating in the Fashionably Sustainable Competition, here is more information.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Cool brands fail in climate test

A new study by responsible investment research firm EIRIS says that two-thirds of the world's top 100 brands are failing on climate change.

The report "Cool Brands versus Hot Brands?" focuses on the world's leading 100 brands, and finds that 69% of those with a high climate change impact lack adequate policies, management systems and reporting on climate change.

According to the study, those who don't get it include Porsche. And those who get, and have shown leadership, include Gillette, Toyota, Mercedes-Benz, BMW and Honda.

EIRIS has applied its climate change methodology to give climate score to studied companies. Here is the report. But if you are hoping to find the list of the 100 brands and their respective scores or ranking, you will be disappointed.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Palm oil company's profits double in spite of reputational disasters

CSR consultants would like you to believe that reputational disasters can hit a company's bottom line. If this was true, palm oil giant Golden Agri Resources' balance sheet should have been bleeding. But that is not the case. Golden Agri has reported that its fourth quarter net profits more than doubled to $1.17 billion.

Golden Agri, part of Indonesia's Sinar Mas, has been at the centre of Greenpeace campaigns for allegedly destroying natural forests in Indonesia to pave way for oil palm plantations. Last year, the company actually faced the most intense campaign, and also saw its shabbily designed counter-attack on Greenpeace badly backfired. Golden Agri also continued to lose multinational customers due to accusations of forest destruction.

2010 should have been the company's worst year if reputational disasters had any effect. But actually, last year has turned out to be the best year in the company's history in terms of profits.

One can still be optimistic and say that the company would have made even greater profits if it had a better sustainability reputation. Who knows?

Multinational companies such as Unilever, Kraft, Nestle, Burger King and HSBC have deserted Sinar Mas group companies, under pressure from campaigners. The question then is who is fueling the group's growth, and profits? Well, the company's profits are pouring in from large developing countries, mainly China and India. The company plans to add 1.3 million tonnes crushing capacity in China this year to meet growing demands there.