On 2 March 2023, we hosted the first-ever WWF Earth Hour Summit at the Marina Bay Sands. This event brought together hundreds of CEOs, thought leaders, and decision-makers from the private and public sectors to inspire collective action. Together, we explored green transition opportunities and practical steps towards achieving Singapore’s Net Zero goals. Singapore’s Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, Ms. Grace Fu, shared her insights in a virtual address, emphasising the crucial role of businesses in accelerating decarbonisation, promoting innovation, and fostering collaboration. She also encouraged business leaders to commit to sustainable actions, such as setting the temperature of office air-conditioners at 25 degrees Celsius. The event earned praise from the delegates and our partners.
In the same month, from March 24 to 26, thousands of Singaporeans and families joined the WWF Earth Hour Festival at Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay. The weekend-long festival featured sustainability-themed talks, workshops and nature walks. The symbolic 1-hour Switch Off at 8.30 pm on 25 March 2023 was graced by Senior Minister of State, Ms. Sim Ann. More than 1,000 businesses and establishments participated in the Switch Off, sending a powerful message of solidarity for our planet.
We are committed to using technology and innovation in our efforts to protect nature. As part of our Cyber Spotter Programme 2.0, we trained over 160 new volunteers to detect and report illegal wildlife trade products across various e-commerce platforms. This year, our volunteers detected nearly 10,000 listings of illegal wildlife trade products that were reported for further action. We also collaborated with AI-Singapore (National University of Singapore) to develop a cutting-edge AI-powered Cyber Spotter Model. This model enhances efficiency, productivity, and accuracy by employing artificial intelligence for text and image analysis. It precisely identifies illegal wildlife listings, classifies species, and assesses the likelihood of illicit trade. This model aligns with the Coalition to End Wildlife Trafficking Online.
To highlight the detrimental effects of illegal wildlife trade, we also partnered with the National Parks Board (NParks) and the award-winning filmmaker Jayaprakash Bojan to release a heartfelt documentary titled, “In Pursuit of Tackling the Illegal Wildlife Trade: Singapore.” The film delves deep into the illegal wildlife trade in Singapore and the surrounding region, shedding light on its scale and complexity.
In April 2022, we conducted a pilot study under WWF-Singapore’s Plastic ACTion (PACT) initiative to promote reusable e-commerce packaging in Singapore. This initiative signifies our commitment to a circular economy. In partnership with UOB, SingPost, and Better Packaging, the 6-month pilot initiative yielded promising results: 90% of participating retailers found it convenient to implement sustainable alternatives. One in three customers chose reusable packaging, with over half of them voluntarily returning the packaging. Insights suggest that with increased consumer education and convenience, return rates could potentially exceed 75%. The report offers valuable guidance for retailers and organisations planning to adopt reusable packaging for a more sustainable e-commerce landscape.
In another initiative to engage our local community, we collaborated with NParks to launch the Rifle Range Nature Park Walks programme in January 2023. The programme aims to foster an appreciation for our natural heritage among Singaporeans. To date, over 120 participants have joined our guided walks, demonstrating a growing passion for connecting with nature.
2023 marks the first decade of our flagship Eco-Schools programme in Singapore, a testament to the belief that education is the foundation of change. Designed to engage both youth and educators in sustainable practices and environmental stewardship, its impact has been extensive this year—engaging 127 schools and involving 8,886 students and 69 teachers as part of the educators’ programme. #WeGotThis, our youth-led sustainability incubator programme (in partnership with Temasek Foundation), concluded its Year 2 with a Graduation Dinner, which marked the end of an 8-month-long programme. Fellow sustainability champions in Singapore and the region began their advocacy journey to create positive ripples of change.
#WeGotThis provided a meaningful platform for knowledge-sharing and shared achievements towards sustainability, by fostering collaboration amongst youth and celebrating their campaigns.
To further amplify our local outreach efforts, we collaborated with ‘We are Majulah,’ a social media platform focusing on youth and identity-building. In a 4-minute video interview, we explained WWF-Singapore’s purpose, and how everyone can be part of the solution for the nature and climate crises and be responsible for our shared well-being through our community-led activities.
Our actions to achieve conservation and sustainability impact start at home with our local communities, and extend well beyond our shores into this region. We are dedicated to delivering impactful initiatives that are relevant to our mission to create a world in which people live in harmony with nature.
We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our volunteers, donors, partners, and employees. Your unwavering commitment and support inspire us to persevere in our noble mission!
Hsieh Fu Hua, Chairman, WWF-Singapore
R. Raghunathan, CEO, WWF-Singapore