Many destinations proclaim they are sustainable, but very few have been working in this area for as long as Singapore, or have as much to show for their efforts. For visitors and those organising business events, the effect is immediate. Who can forget the impact of their first sight of the biophilic Gardens by The Bay, which as well as being visually stunning was built according to green principles. For instance, several of the Supertrees have photovoltaic cells on their canopies, allowing solar energy to be harnessed to light them at night, while horticultural waste from the Gardens and around Singapore is turned into energy to power the chillers of Flower Dome and Cloud Forest.
Singapore’s outstanding attractions all have sustainability at their heart. Marina Bay Sands has reduced its carbon footprint by over 30 per cent since 2012 through investments in an Intelligent Building Management System, Building AI data analytics, and other carbon tech efficiency measures. Resorts World Sentosa, meanwhile, continues to integrate sustainable practices in its operations, invest in innovative sustainable solutions, and engages its guests and partners through education and outreach programmes to promote environmental conservation. Sentosa is aiming for carbon neutrality by 2030.
For incentive groups, a Sustainable Singapore Guided Walk gives more information on the way that Singapore had to be creative in using its limited land space, designing Marina Bay over 40 years to be the model for sustainable and liveable cities around the world. The effect is that these environmentally friendly strategies can now be seen in their maturity, anticipating the future for generations of Singaporeans.
Leaving land behind, A Southern Islands Discovery Sunset Sail leaves Singapore Harbour with expert maritime guides informing and entertaining with various facts about Singapore’s efforts towards Marine Conservation, and a sustainable Maritime Industry. For more active fun, The Singapore Supermarket Race Challenge (CSR edition) sees teams race to earn their team’s “Budget”, by attempting a series of challenges during a race to purchase essential items for beneficiaries with limited time and resources, all for a good cause.
Lastly, food isn’t forgotten with Edible Garden City which champions the grow-your-own-food movement in cities around the world, starting with Singapore. A Vertical Farm Tour at Artisan Green, a modern agricultural farm in the heart of Singapore will show how the local community can enjoy pesticide-free sustainable produce all year round.
These sustainable achievements have been because of a focus at the highest level of government. The Singapore Green Plan 2030 (SGP30) which charts Singapore’s ambitions and targets over the next decade strengthened Singapore’s commitments under the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and Paris Agreement. For business events organisers, the announcement by Singapore Tourism Board (STB) and the Singapore Hotel Association in March 2022 of the Hotel Sustainability Roadmap will be welcomed. It sets out clear targets and strategies for Singapore hotels to adopt in their sustainability journey, as well as strategies and related initiatives that harness technology and innovation to help hotels achieve these targets. This in turn enables the industry to contribute to sustainable development goals, capture new opportunities presented by the Green Economy, strengthen enterprise resilience, and tap new visitor segments.
Singapore joined the Global Sustainable Tourism Council in October 2021 and strongly supports local tourism businesses in their sustainability journey. Most recently Singapore has joined the Global Destination Sustainability-Index (GDS-Index), a sustainability benchmarking and improvement programme for destinations around the world. It is used to assess current social and environmental performance of a destination annually, and, in turn, drive improved performance. Building on Singapore’s identity as a City in Nature, Singapore’s participation in the GDS-Index is aligned with the vision and targets of SGP2030.
Finally, STB is looking to the future and harnessing technology for its journey. It has partnered with innovative technology providers to co-develop sustainability-related industry pilots through Tcube programmes such as the Singapore Tourism Accelerator by STB. It has also developed innovative and best-in-class sustainable guest experiences with STB’s support via Experience Step-Up Fund. The Singapore Tourism Accelerator programme helps to match good technology and sustainability solutions with tourism businesses.
As an example, local start-up Lumitics helped Millennium & Copthorne International Limited reduce food waste and lower costs through its solution which combines AI, data analytics and image recognition software. The accolades have come to Singapore’s resorts with The Sands Expo and Convention Centre being Singapore’s first carbon-neutral business events venue and the first in the Asia Pacific region to achieve EIC Sustainable Event Standards certified GOLD in 2019. Meanwhile, Resorts World Sentosa was the first tourism business in Southeast Asia to secure GSTC Destination Criteria and Industry Criteria for Hotels certification in 2021. Come and visit Singapore to see what the future of sustainability looks like.