Greening made easy

CCT's green champions share tips on how they're helping to save the environment

Trying to go green can be intimidating for some — questions like “Where do I start?” and “How will my actions count for much?” are not uncommon for them. But ask some CCT tenants and they’ll tell you saving the earth begins with simple, small steps that all of us can take. Here, they share how they’ve made sustainability a key part of their daily lives. 

Reduce: the most essential ‘R’

The first way to reduce wastage is to use only what you need and avoid disposables. At CBRE, at Six Battery Road, all employees are given a bamboo cup as a substitute, while reusable cutlery is provided at pantries to discourage the use of single-use ones, said Ms Jessica Feng, the company’s Senior Manager of Sustainability, Property Management.

Meanwhile, at L’Oreal Singapore, One George Street, employees of Kiehl’s are given their own tumblers, metal straws and cutlery for takeaways, shared Ms Iris Lam, Country Managing Director at L’Oreal and Ms Sheenum Kumar, Kiehl’s Brand Manager. 

At work, thinking twice about printing documents goes a long way in reducing paper waste, said Mr Dylan Chua, Manager of Advisory & Transaction for Industrial & Logistics services at CBRE. This sentiment was echoed by Ms Janice Tee, Consultant of Financial Services Technology at recruitment consultancy Robert Walters Singapore, Six Battery Road. She shared, “One way I help reduce waste at work is by using digital CV copies instead of printing hard copies, as we encounter dozens of CVs a week!”

Agreeing, Mr Kavi Rai of Resource Solutions, an RPO business under the Robert Walters Group, added that mobile apps and other technology tools have indeed paved the way for paperless working. The APAC Head of Talent Acquisition avoids printing meeting agendas and creates his daily to-do list in Microsoft OneNote.

Certainly, a truly sustainable lifestyle begins with the individual. Reducing our carbon footprint at home comes in many forms, from taking shorter and cold showers, opting for appliances with high energy-efficient ratings, to growing your own food and making sure every washing machine load is full. “I also think twice before any clothes purchase, as the fast fashion industry produces more carbon than flights and ships combined, on top of being the second-largest consumer of world’s water supply,” said CBRE’s Ms Feng.

Reuse: the not-to-overlook ‘R’

Reusing is most effective in saving energy and preventing pollution caused by landfills — and it’s not at all difficult to achieve in our everyday lives. Ms Isabelle Lim, Corporate Communications Director at L’Oréal Singapore, “reforms” her old chairs with cracked leather with sew-on chair covers and uses old cushions and cloth to make them more comfortable. And she’s not alone in adopting clever hacks like these. Ms Janet Tan from the marketing department at Cargill, CapitaGreen, shared that she makes it a point to reuse plastic cutlery she uses for takeaway food, and repurposes used detergent bottles. 

Ms Isabelle Lim of L'Oréal shares how she upcycles her old chairs with cracked leather into 'new' ones

Recycle: the most rewarding ‘R’

It’s a long process, but one worth committing to. Recycling greatly reduces the strain that manufacturing puts on our planet’s nature and wildlife, on top of conserving vast energy reserves and resources. As long-time sustainability champions, Robert Walters, CBRE and Cargill have made recycling bins for materials like metal cans, paper and glass readily available in the office, in an effort to making recycling at work effortless. 

As part of Kiehl's 'Recycle & Be Rewarded' campaign, customers receive a succulent in exchange for empty Kiehl's products that they bring to the store

For Kiehl’s, it believes recycling should extend beyond their employees. It has run campaigns to gift succulent plants to customers in exchange for used product packaging, which is later sent for recycling, explained Ms Lam and Ms Kumar.

Meanwhile, Cargill has launched an eco-campaign that includes a series of talks to promote eco-consciousness and inspire colleagues to do their part to protect the environment, shared Ms Delphina Lim and Ms Geraldine Lam, who are from Cargill’s Treasury team.

It’s not uncommon for many people to struggle with adopting green habits, and it’s difficult to see how one’s own action can bring about measurable change, CBRE’s Mr Chua acknowledged. “My tip for them is to know that every great deed begins with a willing mind. Focus on cultivating small habits that require little effort and build from there.”