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Sustainability central to MPA's social responsibility efforts
SUSTAINABILITY feels like a buzzword, or a term that is fashionable for the moment.
But that is not the case for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), as the word is a central theme in the statutory board's corporate social responsibility (CSR) efforts.
Its initiatives are channelled through the MPA Sustainability Office, which was set up in 2014 to build on MPA's focus on internal and external sustainability issues that cover environmental, economic, social and governance causes. MPA director of corporate development and chief financial officer Yvonne Chan told The Business Times that the office's objectives are to "foster a culture of good governance, prudent resource management and conscientious environmental and social practices".
These are achieved through advocacy drives, philanthropic efforts and staff volunteerism. Among its advocacy efforts, MPA enforces the application of consistent environmental standards among ship owners and port users while also complying with environmental regulations set by national and global bodies, Ms Chan said.
Recognising its role, the statutory board has also made investments in green initiatives and technologies. In 2011, MPA pledged to invest up to S$100 million over five years in the Maritime Singapore Green Initiative. In 2016, the initiative was enhanced and extended until Dec 31, 2019.
The initiative comprises five voluntary programmes designed to recognise and provide incentives to companies that adopt clean and green shipping practices required by International Maritime Organization (IMO) Conventions.
MPA's social initiatives are funnelled through its core community involvement programme - CARE. The programme was set up in 2011 in consultation with MPA staff who wanted to work together to shape MPA's social responsibility agenda.
Ms Chan said that there has been growing interest by MPA staff to engage in CSR activities and noted that CARE provides a channel for staff to initiate activities or enquire about volunteering opportunities.
The CARE team plans various philanthropic and volunteering opportunities for staff throughout the year and regularly engages partners and beneficiaries at MPA's two adopted charities - Kids In Play (KIP) and REACH Community Services Society (RCSS).
Beneficiaries from KIP and RCSS have attended a number of events organised by MPA including the MPA Family Day and the Children's Day Goodie Bag Distribution.
At the same time, the CARE team organises events such as the Charity Flea Market and the E-bidding Charity Sale, where proceeds from sales are donated to MPA's adopted charities. MPA also organises a bi-annual Charity Golf event to raise funds for the less privileged; the most recent one was held in April 2018. The first Charity Golf event took place in November 2014 to support the Care & Share Movement, a national fund-raising and volunteerism movement led by the Community Chest. MPA underwrites the entire cost of fund-raising for the MPA Charity Golf.
Ms Chan said: "Going forward, MPA hopes to continue to rally the maritime community to play an even larger part in reaching out and assisting those in need." She added that it is important for MPA to lead by example. "We want to show the world that Singapore can be both a busy and sustainable port."
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