Published On: 08-Mar-2016
In the latest GEN magazine we reported on bold moves taken by member the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) to motivate consumers to take action against perpetrators of the haze that engulfed the city state during a period of about six weeks from late September to October 2015. It was caused by the deliberate burning of plantations in Indonesia supplying pulp to the paper industry, says SEC executive director Edwin Seah (above left).
The SEC “haze warriors” suspended the ecolabel license of Asia Pulp & Paper (APP) as one of the companies under investigation, and supermarket chains responded by pulling APP products off the shelves.
In a sequel, SEC was named as a finalist in the Singaporean of the Year awards, run by the newspaper Straits Times. The award recognises those who have “inspired Singaporeans most, through their acts of kindness, ingenuity or perseverance and helped improve their community and the lives of others”.
“We wanted to convey to consumers that what they purchased had a link to the haze, and that it was in their power to send a strong message to manufacturers that they would not support unsustainable products," Edwin told the Straits Times.
SEC Chief Environmental Engineer, Kavickumar Muruganathan (above right), said there was a spike of interest, as much as 20 percent, in companies looking at applying for the ecolabel. He believes it was “a good example of how a negative thing like haze led to a positive outcome, where people are now more conscious of environment issues, and took a stand against unethical practices of paper companies”. It is green consumerism in action, says Kavickumar.
This month (March) the 27-year-old will be in the hot seat as he visits Indonesia to see the hot spots as part of a master’s course in environmental management.
Meantime, the public has voted on the list of the 10 award finalists which included a conductor, a paralympian swimmer and a “grassroots volunteer” for children’s welfare. Although SEC did not gain the top award, it joined the other nine nominees in receiving $5,000 from sponsor UBS.