POSTED 1 Jul 2019 - 13:05

How may the private sector do its part to reduce plastic / other pollution in the oceans?

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What incentives or other measures could help in combating the problem?

Top Response

Ruth Yeoh, Executive Director, YTL Singapore

There is a moral obligation for the private sector to conduct business responsibly, above anything else. All stakeholders must continue to work on developing alternative substrates to plastic, design and implement return and reuse systems, and focus at the same time on cleaning up polluted...


Anders Liss, Country Manager, Scania Singapore
2 Jul 2019 - 11:19

The greatest hope is in educating our youth on the environmental impact of every decision they make. This is where the private sector can contribute, by working together with schools and youth groups on programmes that will raise awareness of pollution and other environmental issues.

The children of today will play a significant role in shaping the future we want. From a young age, children can form lifelong habits to reduce the use of plastics and carry reusable food containers and water bottles. Children can also take away what they learn to influence their family members to recycle and dispose of waste in responsible ways.

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Andy Postlethwaite, Chairman & Board Director, BASF South-east Asia Pte Ltd; SVP, Performance Materials Asia Pacific
2 Jul 2019 - 11:19

Plastics are efficient materials that can save resources and offer convenience for society. They become a problem when they are not managed or disposed properly and end up in the environment. As one of the world's leading chemical companies, BASF is engaged in reinforcing responsible handling of plastics, including promotion of solutions contributing to a circular economy.

The global Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), an alliance of some 30 companies including BASF, will drive solutions to solve the world's plastic waste problem. The alliance will work with governments, academia, non-government organisations and civil society to invest in joint projects to eliminate plastic waste from the environment.

Stu Garrow, SVP of Sales and GM, Asia-Pacific, Talend
2 Jul 2019 - 11:18

According to the National Environment Agency, in 2017 only 6 per cent of the 815,200 tonnes of plastic waste generated was recycled. The issue of waste management and reduction, but also recycling and recovery, are major challenges for all humanity in terms of both resources and the environment.

By leveraging data collection and analysis, the waste industry can help to reduce these challenges through better management decision making. Real-time logistics flow management with better adapted collection routes, waste recovery where waste becomes secondary raw material for industrials, transfer of non-recyclable common waste to incineration plants to produce energy or to storage centres that capture the biogas produced by the fermentation of organic waste are a few methods.

In the waste management sector, data-driven strategy is certainly in its early stages; however, there are certainly opportunities to use data to improve planning, efficiency levels and recycling efforts.

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Paul Dickson, Executive Chairman, Integrated Green Energy Solutions Ltd
2 Jul 2019 - 11:17

Tackling the issue of plastic pollution needs immediate and urgent attention, and the public and private sectors need to work together to achieve this goal. While governments are laying the important groundwork and taking affirmative actions through policy-making and public awareness campaigns, the private sector can contribute technology expertise and innovative solutions to help build a resource-efficient future.

An example is IGES' patented and commercially-proven technology that converts end-of-life plastics destined for landfill into road-ready fuels that require no further processing, blending or refining. This technology offers a sustainable solution to reduce plastic pollution and deliver lasting positive impact to governments and local communities to create a cleaner planet for the next generation.

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Nirvik Singh, Chairman & CEO, Grey Group, Asia-Pacific, Middle East and Africa
2 Jul 2019 - 11:17

There are a multitude of ways the advertising industry can help and raising awareness by visualisation is one of the most powerful means. GREY Malaysia's Unforgettable Bag' a Cannes Lions Award-winning campaign for Tesco (which encouraged customers to embrace reusable bags) not only raised awareness globally but contributed to behavioural change. The same with the agency's "Plastic Diet" campaign for WWF, which drew worldwide media attention to the volume of plastic people inadvertently consume.

Even at a local level one can take meaningful action, GREY Singapore staff recently volunteered to do a Changi Beach clean-up. This helps to protect the environment as well as give back to the community.

At a global level, one can take WPP as an example. It recently took the word "plastic" out of its name - Wire & Plastic Products - and has committed to phasing out single-use plastics in all of its 3,000-plus agency offices and campuses worldwide by 2020. It has also signed the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment and pledged to work with clients and partners to drive change.

The advertising world can lead when it comes to championing waste-free living. It has the commitment, and the communications expertise to help make plastic pollution a priority for people. By collaborating at scale, it can make an even more discernible difference.

Prakash Govindan, Co-Founder & CTO, Gradiant Corp
2 Jul 2019 - 11:16

The majority of industrial processes produce wastewater that contaminates oceans/surface water and increases landfill wastes, upending the delicate balance of marine ecosystems and irreversibly damaging water bodies. Business leaders can champion conservation efforts in their own fields through the adoption of innovative wastewater treatment technologies, creating a circular economy where usable resources are extracted from wastewater and reinvested into industrial processes.

This vastly reduces not only the environmental footprint but also decreases operating costs in the long run. Challenges to implementation involve high upfront investment, which can be mitigated by not only technological innovation but also by a creative business model (such as one in which the water treatment company owns, operates, and maintains the infrastructure).

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Yeoh Oon Jin, Executive Chairman, PwC Singapore
2 Jul 2019 - 11:16

The private sector can do its part to reduce pollution by minimising the amount of plastic generated at source, increasing the collection of plastics and reducing post-collection leakages. At PwC, we manage our own environmental impact and beyond through reducing our own use of plastics as well as participating in volunteering efforts to clean our beaches.

Forward-looking companies have started integrating circular economy principles into their operations like re-designing products and using new materials that facilitate end-of-life recycling. Measures such as extended producer responsibility (EPR) systems, advanced disposal levies to product bans and dumping fines can also help combat pollution.

Ruth Yeoh, Executive Director, YTL Singapore
2 Jul 2019 - 11:16

There is a moral obligation for the private sector to conduct business responsibly, above anything else. All stakeholders must continue to work on developing alternative substrates to plastic, design and implement return and reuse systems, and focus at the same time on cleaning up polluted waterways and oceans.

However, the stick may work just as effectively as the carrot, so a robust regulatory framework and the imposition of stiff penalties are also required to drive necessary change in lifestyle and habits.

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