It is indeed heartening to see an unprecedented public awakening to the importance of nature in our lives and well being.
If the pandemic has taught us anything other than the importance of building back better, it is that by working together, we can truly overcome the worst of times. Imagine the possibilities of what we can all achieve when we work together for the one planet that we all share.
2022 is the year of the tiger based on the Chinese Lunar calendar. It was also a crucial year for the WWF network, as it marked 12 years of continuous tiger conservation work. As you may be aware, wild tigers have disappeared in Cambodia, Lao PDR, and Viet Nam in the last 25 years. Further, at current rates of decline, the Malayan tiger could become extinct within our lifetime.
When wild tiger numbers hit an all-time low, as few as 3,200 in 2010, all 13 tiger range governments came together for the first time at a summit in St. Petersburg, where they committed to double the number of wild tigers by 2022. In 2016, the year marking the halfway point in the 12-year goal to double wild tigers, the population was approximately 3,900 wild tigers.
In collaboration with more than 100 sponsors, partners, locally and internationally acclaimed artists, and the support of other WWF offices in the region, we launched the WWF-Singapore’s AR-mazing Tiger Trail. This island-wide art trail took place between February and April 2022 and involved the public display of 33 life-sized tiger art sculptures at iconic spots all over Singapore.
This display was designed to raise the public’s awareness and educate them on the urgent need to conserve, protect and restore tiger habitats, and prevent the poaching of wild tigers in Southeast Asia. Beyond the conservation of this spectacular animal, securing tiger landscapes has far-reaching benefits, including the protection of forests which help prevent drought, reduce flooding, and mitigate the impact of climate change. Tiger landscapes are also home to a multitude of other species such as elephants, orangutans and rhinos. Further, by protecting tigers, we are also preserving a cultural and spiritual icon for millions of people in this region.
Each of the art masterpieces presented a unique perspective on how climate change, poaching and deforestation was affecting wild tigers. Using art as a medium to enthral and educate, the trail helped to ignite hope that positive change is possible if we unite for a common goal. The trail culminated in an auction of the sculptures, held by our partner Sothebys, with all proceeds going to further our tiger conservation work in the region.
Earth Hour on 26 March 2022 at 8.30 pm Singapore time saw a record-breaking 1,000 businesses and organisations switching off non-essential lights along with individuals who did so in their homes. Further, the count of personal net zero pledges as part of the WWF’s Kosong Plan, doubled since its launch in 2021.
In a stunning display of the nation’s united resolve for nature, Singapore and its iconic skyline went dark as hundreds of landmarks, buildings, residences and individuals islandwide made a stand for climate action and switched off their lights for this global movement.
The impact was greater with the active participation of local communities. Several grassroots organisations, like the West Coast Grassroots Organisation, Pioneer Constituency and the Marymount Community Club, held a month-long line up of activities for their local communities.
It’s now very clear that people, individually and collectively, are ready to take action against climate change. We are confident and ready to play our part and help everyone along on this journey.
Caption: WWF-Singapore CEO sharing insights of our programmes with Minister for Education, Mr Chan Chun Sing, and Minister for National Development, Mr Desmond Lee at the annual Festival of Biodiversity organised by the National Parks Board.
Educating our local community on environmental issues and solutions is a vital part of our sustainability agenda.
This year, we launched a series of reports through collaborative research projects with partners on vital sustainability issues in different sectors.
Through a research collaboration with Lendlease, we launched a report for the retail sector that provided tailored inputs and recommendations to improve waste reduction efforts and support a circular economy strategy. This effort closes the knowledge gap for tenants in commercial properties on the volume of waste generated and the best methods to deal with them, with technology as a key enabler for waste reduction. Following the launch of the report, WWF’s Plastic ACTion (PACT) held a closed-door roundtable with 18 key industry players to share more findings, and further encourage cross-sector collaboration for improvement.
We also partnered with Epson Southeast Asia, to co-create sustainable solutions and empower communities. Our new partnership with them seeks to scale up marine conservation and climate solutions and involves working with businesses, youths, citizen scientists, and local communities over the next couple of years.
Climate was also one of the major concerns. This year, we launched a report titled “Decarbonising Singapore’s Energy System in the Context of Cooling” authored by the Carbon Trust. We worked with the National Climate Change Secretariat (NCCS) to shape the study, which focuses on the importance of clean cooling and provides viable recommendations on how it can play a critical role in achieving Singapore’s net zero ambition. The report produced from the study, provides viable recommendations on how clean cooling can play a critical role in achieving Singapore’s net zero ambition. The report also highlights four clean cooling solutions that can bring about grid flexibility to aid and support Singapore’s decarbonisation goals.
The finance sector plays a key role in enabling sustainable practices in businesses and across our operational economy. WWF-Singapore established the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI), which anchors global and regional science-based and financial organisations for collective engagement and capacity building of the finance sector in Asia. This year ASFI launched its e-learning Academy – a suite of accessible, practical and technology-enabled digital courses on sustainable finance based on the latest science and designed specifically for Asia-based finance professionals.
The courses were developed through multi-stakeholder collaboration between ASFI Knowledge Partners including WWF-Singapore, Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI), University of Oxford Sustainable Finance Programme, the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), and EDHECinfra, among others; and supported by the ASFI Advisory Group whose members include the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), the Institute of Banking and Finance (IBF), the Investment Management Association of Singapore (IMAS), the Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Singapore Venture Capital and Private Equity Association (SVCA).
The launch of the ASFI Academy came amidst growing momentum around sustainable finance in Singapore and the region. ASFI Academy courses are accredited and follow the MAS/IBF 12 Sustainable Finance Technical Skills Competencies (12 SF TSCs).
Also within the scope of ASFI collaboration, WWF-Singapore together with the 2° Investing Initiative (2DII) released a report on a study that uncovered what driving tangible, real world change entails for Asian financial institutions. This study was undertaken using survey tools that were based on first-hand research on effective actions to tackle climate change and to align with Paris 1.5 degree goals. This report articulates recommendations for policy makers, financial supervisors and financial institutions on the most effective ways to break down existing barriers and accelerate the region’s financial sector contributions to support a transition to a low-carbon future.
For the second year running, together with Temasek Foundation, we opened admission for local youths to join the Class of 2022 of our youth sustainability incubator programme – We Got This. This follows the successful completion of the inaugural edition of We Got This, for the Class of 2021. WWF-Singapore and Temasek Foundation have worked with like-minded partners to create a youth-led community movement to empower younger generations in Singapore and Southeast Asia to take the lead in their own sustainable future, through social media advocacy. We Got This equips youths with skills, knowledge, and tools on sustainability, innovation and digital advocacy so that they can build up a sustainability following, reach out to peers and the larger community, and drive change through their own social media platforms.
As the world evolves, we need leadership capabilities and diverse skills to navigate towards our vision. Therefore we are glad that WWF-Singapore continues to attract quality talent who are equally committed to drive positive change for our planet. Towards the end of 2021, we saw the onboarding of a few key personnel. These were Vivek Kumar, our Director, Marketing, Communications and External Relations, Sophia Zhu, our Director of Finance, Uma Sachidhanandam, our Deputy Director of Conservation, and Kamal Seth, our Head of Global Palm Oil. Each one plays a significant role in ensuring that our programmes are successful and impactful
As the year wraps up, we express our gratitude to everyone who has been on this journey with us, working tirelessly to produce great results. We look forward to a successful rollout of our refreshed strategy in FY 2023 comprising four themes and nine programmes along with greater collaborative partnerships that will seek to deliver lasting impact for the protection of our natural world. We hereby commit ourselves to work diligently for a more promising future, together.
Achal Agarwal, Chairman, WWF-Singapore
R. Raghunathan, CEO, WWF-Singapore