Supporting Singapore’s drive to waste less, OCBC Bank put its signature OCBC Cycle 2019 event through a rigorous green audit process – and has become the first event here to earn the Singapore Environment Council’s Eco Event certification.
The green label is intended to recognise events in Singapore that take proactive steps to use less and green more, benchmarked against a set of stringent environment compliance guidelines.
The certification is the latest validation of OCBC Bank’s on-going push to create a positive environmental impact.
As part of that push, because OCBC Bank had committed to plant one tree for every 50 cyclists who registered for OCBC Cycle 2019, a total of 140 trees were duly planted on 1 June 2019 at Dairy Farm Nature Park.
Waste reduction measures at OCBC Cycle 2019
Ms Koh Ching Ching, OCBC Bank Head of Group Brand and Communications said: “The decision to reduce the carbon footprint at OCBC Cycle 2019 stems from our commitment to be environmentally responsible as a bank. We could not have done so without the support of our event associates, Friends of OCBC Cycle and participants.
“It was encouraging to receive approval and positive feedback from many participants; they welcomed the move to drop single-use plastics and understood the importance of sustainability.
“We hope that more event organisers and the community will step forward to do their part to create change for a greener world. Every act, no matter how small, counts towards making an impact.”
This year’s mass cycling fiesta took place from 10 to 12 May 2019. In a first for a sporting event in Singapore, single-use plastics were eliminated from the event pack collection process. Through careful planning, the organisers managed to prune almost 40,000 unnecessary items – from bubble wrap to ziplock bags – compared to OCBC Cycle 2018.
Significant waste reduction initiatives included:
|No plastic packaging for event packs. Instead, participant bibs, tags and apparel were packaged in recyclable paper rolls or envelopes.||Prevented 8,000 ziplock bags from entering the waste stream.|
|No paper flyers in event packs. These were replaced by large information boards at the event as well as information on the OCBC Cycle website.||8,000 pieces of paper were eliminated|
|No bubble wrap for medals. Instead, they were packed in tracing paper that was compostable.||8,000 pieces of bubble wrap, which cannot be recycled, were eliminated. 8,000 pieces of tracing paper were composted|
|Recycling bins were placed at strategic locations for collection of banana peels||183kg of banana peels was collected and immediately distributed to the gardening community for composting. The high level of interest among participants – wanting to know how the fruit peels will be used – is encouraging as it can lead to behavioural change.|
|Meals for working teams and volunteers were provided using biodegradable containers and cutlery as well as reusable water bottles.||Prevented more non-recyclables from reaching the incinerator.|
Said Ms Jen Teo, Executive Director of Singapore Environment Council:
“We are encouraged to see a large sporting event such as OCBC Cycle taking the step of undergoing a thorough assessment of its environmental practices. SEC is looking forward to working closely with the team in further reducing its carbon footprint at future events. We hope other event owners will adopt a similar approach towards environmental sustainability.”
Planting trees to offset carbon emissions
OCBC Bank planted 140 trees – one for every 50 cyclists who registered for OCBC Cycle 2019. On 1 June 2019, more than 60 cyclists, young and old, helped plant these trees that were donated through NParks’ Garden City Fund, at the Dairy Farm Nature Park, together with NParks and OCBC staff.
Mr Tan Cheng Teck and his wife were among those who helped plant the different species of trees. “Both of us are glad that we can do our part to help restore the environment,” he said.
According to Dr Adrian Loo, NParks’ Group Director for Conservation, the 140 trees planted can help store close to 9 tonnes of carbon in the next 10 years. “This can offset one year of carbon emissions from 56* persons in Singapore,” he explained.
OCBC Bank’s multi-prong approach for tackling environmental sustainability
Beyond OCBC Cycle 2019, OCBC Bank has progressively taken steps to adopt environmentally-friendly changes to the way it conducts business and to inspire the community to take action to protect the environment. These measures include:
• Eliminating the distribution of plastic bottled water at all its branches in Singapore since 2017, saving more than seven tonnes of plastics from entering the waste stream to date. This is equivalent to the weight of a full-grown elephant
• Encouraging customers to switch to e-statements to save paper since 2013. As of December 2018, 50% of eligible account statements are issued as e-statements
• Rallying employees to support green initiatives; these include consuming meals and drinks using lunch boxes, flasks and reusable cutlery to reduce single-use plastics, coastal clean-ups and a habitat enhancement project to plant critically-endangered trees
• Committing S$100,000 annually to support environmental ground-up projects that improve Singapore’s environmental landscape. Launched in 2017, the #OCBCCares Fund for the Environment has supported initiatives that include
a. recycling 800 kg of plastic bottles and composting of 880 kg of fruit peels
b. enhancing biodiversity at a scout camp
c. supporting a project to create an aquaponics farm which requires 90% less water than the hydroponics way; and to develop teaching materials to help families grow healthy organic vegetables the aquaponics way.