Earth Day is celebrated on 22nd April every year, dedicated to awareness about various environmental challenges that face our planet. Since 2006, SMU has embarked on a journey towards being a thought leader and solution partner in managing environmental change and contributing to sustainable city living. We highlight some of our latest research, thought leadership and achievements towards building a greener planet through the stories here.
Singapore, 20 March 2023 (Monday) – The availability of neighbourhood amenities, including parks, greenspaces, or exercise spaces within a 10-minute walk from home, is found to be associated with higher social well-being scores among Singapore’s older adults, according to a new study by the SMU Centre for Research on Successful Ageing (ROSA).
Study by SMU researchers reveals positive relationship between people’s psychological well-being and their willingness to consume cultivated meat; and the factors that can motivate this willingness
Singapore, 8 March 2023 (Wednesday) – Researchers from Singapore Management University (SMU) have released a study that reveals a positive relationship between people’s psychological well-being and their willingness to consume cultivated meat. The research, titled ‘Higher well-being individuals are more receptive to cultivated meat: An investigation of their reasoning for consuming cultivated meat’, which has been published in international research journal, Appetite, provides the first ever empirical evidence to support this correlation.
Singapore, 28 February 2023 (Tuesday) – Far-reaching interventions are needed to overcome existing shortcomings in Singapore’s approach to climate adaptation projects, according to a new paper from the Singapore Green Finance Centre, an initiative of Imperial College Business School and Singapore Management University.
Singapore, 2 February 2023 (Thursday) – There is no easy way to engage with the general public to communicate the risks of climate change, according to a new study. Contrary to the adage of ‘seeing is believing’, individuals who saw what the future impacts of climate change may look like were not positively motivated to make behavioural changes. This was particularly true for climate sceptics and for individuals who already live more climate-friendly and sustainable lives.
Researchers from the SMU compared what motivates people from Singapore and the US accept lab-grown meat. Their study, “A cross-country investigation of social image motivation and acceptance of lab-grown meat in Singapore and the United States”, published in the peer-reviewed Appetite journal, also explored consumers’ motivations to present themselves positively in social contexts. Further, it assessed the persuasive power of celebrities and expert social media influencers to overcome a habit of nearly three million years.
A study this year has found that more than 40 percent of households in Singapore that were struggling to put food on the table pre-pandemic are in a better situation now. Researchers from the SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation studied the impact that the pandemic has had on households that were previously facing food insecurity. The study suggested that the reasons behind the improvement include an increase in the number of Singaporeans seeking aid during the pandemic, as well as an increase in on-the-ground food support.
SMU publishes first peer-reviewed study on consumer acceptance of lab-grown meat among Singapore consumers
Singapore, 14 March 2022 (Monday) – The Singapore Management University (SMU) has published a study, “A cross-country investigation of social image motivation and acceptance of lab-grown meat in Singapore and the United States” in the reputable peer-reviewed journal, Appetite.
The pandemic has made it clear that we need to be more adaptive. From the way our lifestyles are changing with the continuation of home-based work and learning, to long-term effects on the economy and expectations on accountability and personal autonomy, we must all learn how to adapt for us humans (and other living creatures) to survive into the future generations.
The United Nations 26th Annual Climate Change Conference COP26 wrapped up in November with the adoption of the Glasgow Climate Pact. Negotiated by over 200 countries, the new pact to reduce global warming reaffirms the Paris Agreement to keep temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius, which translates into tougher national pollution policies across every sector, particularly those related to transportation and energy production.
“Green economy” and “green finance” are common buzzwords these days as the world faces a deluge of environmental crises. But what exactly is a green economy, and how do we navigate the web of ESG impact measurement?
Rising environmental problems and concurrent increase in public awareness have influenced the uptake of responsible investments in sustainable organisations. Referred to as impact investing, it generates a financial return, more specifically when accompanied by a disclosed intention to draw and measure social and environmental benefits. Taking into consideration the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors of investment products, investors may work towards achieving a portfolio that aligns with their goals and values.
Historically, big business and capitalism have been regarded as accelerators of climate change: From “the great smog of London” arising from the Industrial Revolution (powerfully depicted in Netflix series The Crown), to currently unsustainable livestock practices that—according to the United Nations—contribute 14.5 per cent of all greenhouse gas emissions from human activity.
Sharing Singapore’s vision on developing sustainable urban agriculture at global conference in Morocco
Speaking at the 10th International Micro-irrigation Conference (IMC) earlier this year in Dakhla, Morocco, was SMU’s Associate Professor of Strategic Management Tan Wee Liang. Themed “Micro-irrigation in the Era of Technology Innovation and Digital Transformation”, the 10th edition of the conference was organised by ANAFIDE, the Moroccan National ICID Committee with the collaboration of the Council of the Moroccan Community Living Abroad, CCME, in partnership with ICID and supported by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries, Rural Development and Water and Forests.
In a commentary, SMU Professor of Organisational Behaviour & Human Resources (Education) Thomas Menkhoff shared about his visit to Constance (German: Konstanze), the commonalities between Constance and Singapore, and the lessons Singapore can learn from Constance to become climate smart.
At the World Cities Summit 2022, Associate Professor Winston Chow presented on the topic of “Enabling Climate-Resilient Development in Cities & the Singapore Green Plan 2030” as part of the “Science of Regenerative Cities” panel at the Science of Cities Symposium held on 31 July 2022. The panel featured Leonard Ng from Ramboll Studio Dreiseitl (Asia Pacific), Seah Chee Huang from DP Architects Pte Ltd and Veera Sekaran from Greenology Pte Ltd.
Getting used to lab-grown food options might be necessary for Singapore's food security: SMU president
The use of alternative food sources such as laboratory-grown products might be necessary so that Singapore may not be vulnerable to supply chain disruptions that have been happening during the Covid-19 pandemic, said SMU President Professor Lily Kong. She said on Tuesday (Aug 2) that people must get used to this idea of alternative food, just as they did when Singapore first decided to purify wastewater and turn it into drinking water as one of the means to address water security.
More than just protecting trees, conservation is about managing disruptive human activities and avoiding the depletion of natural resources. Corporations are the key contributors to energy consumption, consuming 78% of the world’s energy and produce over 60% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Therefore, it is important that corporations, as main drivers of urbanisation are able to mitigate the effects of climate change through their actions.
In a commentary, SMU Associate Professor of Finance and Lee Kong Chian Fellow Liang Hao, who is also a management committee member at the Singapore Green Finance Centre, and SMU students Anwesha Agarwal and Caleb Low Wei Sheng discussed the two key factors driving demand for data centres (DCs) and why there is a need to balance the ever-increasing demand for DCs with operating them in a sustainable manner.
Commentary: Coastal cities like Singapore face outsized risks – and opportunities – in a warming world
In a commentary, SMU Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society Winston Chow explained the outsized risks and opportunities for coastal cities like Singapore in a warming world.
The latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) looks at the impacts, adaptation and vulnerabilities associated with the climate crisis, and we are three of the 270 scientists and researchers who wrote it. The document reports stark new findings on the way current global warming of 1.1℃ is impacting natural and human systems, and on how our ability to respond will be increasingly limited with every additional increment of warming.
The Dentons Rodyk Dialogue 2021 was held on 27 October this year. Organised in partnership with Singapore Management University (SMU)’s Centre for Commercial Law in Asia (CCLA), the hybrid event took place at SMU to a limited audience, along with over 750 live viewers tuning in virtually from more than 20 countries.
It has been six years since 196 countries signed the Paris Agreement to mitigate the effects of man-made climate change, and two since Greta Thunberg delivered her powerful speech at the UN Climate Change Action Summit. There’s no denying that worldwide sustainability efforts are imperative for maintaining a livable planet, but facts have shown that it is more an elusive dream than an attainable reality.
Sustainability and environmental, social and governance (ESG) are not new in the commercial world. These initiatives may have been motivated by profit seeking objectives in the past, however both the Covid pandemic and the climate crisis have triggered companies to take a serious look at ESG investing today. Sustainability has become the new cornerstone of the next era of our human civilisation, way of life and business.
In a commentary, SMU Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society Winston Chow, and a lead author in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report on Climate Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability, discussed how extreme weather events point to an increasingly dangerous roulette game we play.
In a commentary, SMU Associate Professor of Science, Technology and Society Winston Chow – who is also a lead author for two urban chapters in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s Working Group II (WGI) assessment report due in February 2022 and a contributing author to the WG I report – explained why the recently released IPCC climate science report communicates the consequences of climate inaction better than previous ones.
The term ‘Corporate Sustainability’ has increasingly become a business buzzword in recent years. Just what is it, and why is it important? While corporate growth and profitability are important, corporate sustainability recognises the need to pursue long-term growth that is achieved in harmony with people, the society and the environment.
For the first time, Singapore has nominated one of its climate scientists, SMU Associate Professor of Urban Climate Winston Chow, to the bureau of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to serve as a co-chair for the United Nations’ top climate science body. Assoc Prof Chow is nominated to the IPCC Bureau as a developing country co-chair, where he will contribute to Working Group II focusing on the impact of climate change on the planet, and possible adaptation measures, for the upcoming seventh assessment report cycle (AR7), which will commence in July.
As Singapore’s city skyline turned into a sea of blue to mark World Water Day on 22 March 2023, so did SMU’s city campus, as it joined in the initiative that marks Singapore’s commitment to water sustainability. World Water Day is designated by the United Nations (UN) as a reminder that water is a critical resource that should be cherished and protected. Globally, two billion people – more than a quarter of the world’s population – do not have access to safe drinking water...
The Big Read: Across the value chain, S'pore firms hop on the green bandwagon as budding ecosystem takes shape
SMU alumna Karen Cheah shared that her pitch about a sustainable food packaging solution when she was pursuing her masters programme in innovation at SMU in 2019 “generated significant interest” among some venture capitalists who were listening to her presentation. While they did not invest in her solution, which was part of a class project, they told her that it had the potential to solve the global problem of single-use plastic packaging. She immediately embarked on her business idea in the same year and founded the start-up Alterpacks.
The annual World Water Day, which falls on March 22, is an occasion that reminds everyone of the importance of water conservation. SMU, which launched its Sustainability Blueprint in September 2022, focuses on sustainable water management as one of its goals in building a Greener University. It harvests water through two underground water tanks and from air-conditioning, and has implemented a smart water management system.
Home-grown deep tech start-up Magorium, which was part of SMU’s Business Innovation Generator incubation programme, is targeting to raise at least $6 million in seed funding by early 2023, as it scales up its technology to plant a bigger market presence. The company is in talks with potential investors and said this funding is likely to last the company for about one to two years. It also plans to grow its headcount from five currently to 40 by 2025. Founded in 2019 by SMU alumna Ms Oh Chu Xian, Magorium’s technology converts plastic waste into an innovative material, called NEWBitumen that is used to build roads.
Construction costing $100m, Solar panels cover the roof of SMU's green building which is now in operation
SMU officially launched a new seven-storey multi-use building that added over 12,700 square metres of teaching, learning, research and faculty space to its footprint on Oct 28. From architectural design to construction materials, and building technology, the project – which was constructed at a cost of approximately S$100 million – was developed based on the theme of environmentally-friendly architectural design.
Singapore, 28 October 2022 (Friday) – Singapore Management University (SMU) today officially launched a new seven-storey multi-use building that adds over 12,700 square metres of teaching, learning, research and faculty space to its footprint. The ceremony was officiated by Guest-of-Honour Mr Heng Swee Keat, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic Policies, in the presence of 250 guests and SMU faculty, staff, students and alumni.
SMU has bagged the Business Leadership in Sustainability Award and the Building Project Leadership in Sustainability Award at the SGBC-BCA Leadership in Sustainability Awards. The biennial Awards, co-organised by the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) and the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), aim to recognise professionals, organisations and building projects for their contributions and significant achievements in the development of a green and sustainable built environment.
Co-organised by the Singapore Green Building Council (SGBC) and the Building Construction Authority (BCA), the third edition of the SGBC-BCA Leadership in Sustainability Awards lauded 20 recipients across four categories of awards for their achievements in developing a green and sustainable built environment. Eight organisations including SMU received the Business Leadership in Sustainability Award for their efforts in integrating sustainability into their business operations, products and solutions.
The COVID-19 pandemic created an exponential rise in online shopping globally and locally. Rachel Han (Lee Kong Chian School of Business and School of Social Sciences, Year 1), together with a friend (Rachel Lee, King’s College London) she met in a Telegram community during the circuit breaker observed huge amounts of packaging waste generated by the e-commerce boom.
The Internet-of-Things (IOT) has been driving radical technological advancements and transforming the traditional way of life into high tech lifestyles. From January till April, an SMU-X module, “Internet-of-Things: Technology and Applications” equipped students with state-of-the-art in Internet-of-Things technologies to enable them to conceptualise practical IoT systems to realise useful applications.
Social sustainability is a concept that typically takes into consideration the impact of certain projects and interventions on communities, people, and society, that could be both directly and indirectly impacted. In its efforts to drive awareness of social sustainability, the Singapore Management University’s (SMU’s) Lien Centre for Social Innovation (LCSI) participated in the annual Zero Waste Bootcamp (ZWB) organised by Secondsguru, a Singapore-based social enterprise that focuses on creating environmental awareness.
SMU-X’s student consultancy club, Growth-X awarded $10,000 to implement ideas on improving recycling habits in the community
To empower and support passionate youths to implement their innovative ideas to resolve municipal issues within their community, the Municipal Services Office (MSO) organised the “Love Our ‘Hood Youth Challenge” to transform their creative ideas into effective solutions that will create a better living environment for the community.
SMU students emerge 2nd runners-up in Young SDG Leaders Awards with business proposal to reduce carbon emission for City Developments Limited
Jointly organised by City Developments Limited (CDL) and Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS), the annual CDL-GCNS Young SDG Leaders Awards case competition offers young people a platform to champion sustainable development and SDG integration into business for positive change.
Two startups from Singapore Management University’s (SMU) Business Innovations Generator (BIG) incubation programme emerged as winners at the HSBC Swing for the Game Changers 2021 competition.
SMU is the Only Singaporean University to Win Best Teaching Case at the Financial Times’ Inaugural Responsible Business Education Awards
Singapore, 24 January 2022 (Monday) – The Singapore Management University’s (SMU) teaching case on sustainability scored a win at the Financial Times (FT) Responsible Business Education Awards 2022. SMU is the only Singaporean university to be acknowledged at this category of the Awards, which recognises the best teaching cases published in the past three years with sustainability and climate change as key learning objectives.
Outreach & Education
SMU, through its Centre for Global Education and Opportunities (GEO), has introduced a new summer programme titled Sustainable Futures. Sustainable Futures aims to equip future leaders with a deep and holistic understanding of sustainability issues impacting business and society. Dr. Navin Rajagobal, Senior Director of the Academic Services and Operations Group at SMU said: “We are excited to be pushing the boundaries of learning with this initiative, where SMU is the first university in Singapore to introduce a summer programme focusing on sustainability...
All incoming undergraduates at the SMU from 2023 will get a foundational understanding of sustainability issues. The move will be expanded in 2024 to require all undergraduates to complete at least one course in the field. This is part of an effort to prepare students for jobs that do not exist yet, but could enter the growing field. This effort has become the business of higher education institutions everywhere. What these future jobs will look like or require is unclear, but SMU is not leaving the development of necessary skills to chance...
Through interesting games, SMU organises green campaign on social media to encourage students to reduce food wastage
With the goal to address the issue of food wastage, Project Midori originally started off by leveraging on technology solutions to publicise information on leftover food on the campus to the SMU community. Since 2020, the student-led initiative expanded its scope, and focused on advocacy work to encourage the SMU Community to reduce food waste through interesting and fun challenges.
Social sustainability is a concept that typically takes into consideration the impact of certain projects and interventions on communities, people, and society, that could be both directly and indirectly impacted. In its efforts to drive awareness of social sustainability, the SMU Lien Centre for Social Innovation (LCSI) participated in the annual Zero Waste Bootcamp (ZWB) organised by Secondsguru, a Singapore-based social enterprise that focuses on creating environmental awareness.