The Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC) and Singapore Environment Council (SEC) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) today to heighten the awareness of environmental sustainability and encourage the adoption of green best practices.

The MOU outlines a three-year plan where SFIC and SEC will work together to improve furniture manufacturers’ sustainability expertise through various programmes. This includes training seminars and conferences, as well as programmes to help companies undertake the SEC’s Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS), a leading environmental standard and certification mark. The SGLS motivates and empowers manufacturers to adhere to international environmental best practices in their manufacturing process. The SGLS was successfully audited by the Global Ecolabelling Network (GEN) as meeting ISO 14024 and ISO Guide 65 standards for the GENICES accreditation in October 2011, thus providing manufacturers with opportunities for regional expansion through a global network of eco-labels.

To date, 11 SFIC members have attained green certifications awarded by both local and international bodies. The SFIC aims to double this number by 2014.

Mr Ernie Koh, President of SFIC says, “Our Singapore furniture companies are already well-recognised in the global market for their high quality and professional business management. This MOU will further enhance our standing and raise our competitiveness and reputation in the eco-friendly furniture market.”

The MOU also calls on both organisations to jointly educate consumers on the value of environmentally sustainable products through community outreach programmes, beginning with the School Green Awards (SGA) showcase to be featured during SingaPlural 2013.

Currently in its 11th year of running, the SGA is a simple environmental audit programme that has seen the participation of 284 schools island-wide, ranging from primary schools to junior colleges and international schools. During the programme, students work in teams to gather data and conduct an audit on their school’s environmental performance. Through such activity-based learning, students will increase their understanding of environmental and sustainability issues.

By featuring the works of schools that have participated in this programme on the SingaPlural platform, both SFIC and SEC aim to raise the level of awareness of issues such as waste minimisation, resource conservation and greening of the environment, using the schools to reach out to both industry and the public.

“This partnership is a strategic move in facilitating the Council’s role in driving sustainable business and consumer practices. We hope to extend the outreach and awareness of the SGLS in the furniture sector by harnessing SFIC's network, thereby facilitating our pursuit of enhancing Singapore’s position as a ‘green dot’ in the business world,” said Mr Jose Raymond, Executive Director of the Singapore Environment Council.

The MOU underscores the growing importance of sustainable manufacturing and enhances SFIC’s vision of developing a sustainable furniture industry.

Supported by International Enterprise Singapore and SPRING Singapore under the LEAD Programme, several furniture sustainability exhibits will take spotlight at the upcoming SingaPlural 2013. This week-long design celebration from 8-15 March will be held in the city streets of Singapore, in conjunction with the annual International Furniture Fair Singapore (IFFS).