Consetetur Sadipscing Elitr Sed Diam

  • Social

  • Jun 27, 2022

As the world continues to move towards a more sustainable future, large companies are following suit in instilling a “green” mindset in their employees, as well as adopting practices that are more environmentally friendly. While this is all well and good, the reality is that some of these practices may mislead consumers, like you and I, to believe that their actions are less damaging to the environment. In fact, many big brands have been found guilty, mostly unintentionally, of marketing their so-called “green” products when they are not. This is known as greenwashing, a less-heard term compared to its counterpart, brainwashing, yet it’s still a pretty serious problem.

A recent example of greenwashing that may have fallen under the radar is Nestle’s handling of plastic waste. Nestle pledged that by 2025, all their product packaging would be reusable or recyclable. A very ambitious target that many of us would get behind! Unfortunately, it appears that instead of reducing plastic use, Nestle has decided to burn the plastic waste instead. Indeed, they are reducing plastic but at the cost of harming the environment and the wildlife in the vicinity. Come on, Nestle!

Now that we know what greenwashing is, I thought it would be good to dive into how to spot greenwashing and run from it. Things to look out for:

  • - Vague words and false claims – some food companies may claim to sell organic vegetables but perhaps only a part of the production is organic. It is up to us to sieve through the many different brands to reduce the chances of falling prey to false claims.
  • - Use of “green” buzzwords – see too many “green” words? Tread carefully as companies may exaggerate their sustainable work to entice customers to buy their products.
  • - Hiding information – perhaps some of the production factories are doing huge damage to the environment but nothing is said about them on their website. Sometimes, not saying a thing is worse.

Yes, we don’t actually know what’s going on during the manufacturing process or how the products are brought to the store. But fret not for I have 2 simple ways that we can use to prevent being greenwashed (okay they may not look that easy but they are the easiest I could find).

Check not once but twice!

Seen a piece of news about a “green” product and not sure if you can trust that company? Check out any established news outlet or government websites if they are collaborating with government agencies. Furthermore, we should utilize our curious minds and keep asking ourselves the right questions as to how these products came about. Don’t settle for less than what will satisfy you as this reduces the chance of being misled into buying a product.

Recyclable or not?

Possibly the easier of the 2 methods and very beginner-friendly – you just have to determine if the items are really recyclable. 1 quick tip: NEA has an interactive website that allows you to see what materials and items are recyclable, making our lives that much easier!

Greenwashing is indeed problematic and companies may or may not realise they are committing but we can all do our part to reduce its harmful effects! Even if you are new to the eco-world, don’t worry too much about what “green” steps you have missed out on, instead look forward to what you can do from now on! Every little step counts!

#greenwashing #stopgreenwashing #sustainability #sustainablefuture

Consetetur Sadipscing Elitr Sed Diam

  • Environment

  • Jun 06, 2022

What does Food Sustainability mean to me?

I remember the first time I heard of “food sustainability”, thinking it was just about finishing the food on my plate. Yes, I was once ignorant. But as I read more about it, I realised it is so much more than food wastage. In fact, the very act of growing chilis or beansprouts at home is a positive contribution to food sustainability.

For the studious ones among us, the UN has defined food sustainability as an “idea that something (e.g. agriculture, fishing or even preparation of food) is done in a way that is not wasteful of our natural resources and can be continued into the future without being detrimental to our environment or health.”

But let’s take a look at what it means for Singapore. We all know the challenges Singapore faces when it comes to climate change but not nearly as many of us know about the challenges facing our future food industry. I for one do not know much about the food security in Singapore. That is why, it was even more shocking when I learnt that over 90% of our food is imported from countries all over the world. To put that into perspective, let’s recreate a plate of economical rice at your favourite local coffeeshop. Where do the various dishes come from? The meat probably comes from Brazil, the vegetables from Indonesia, the eggs from Malaysia and the rice from Thailand (fine, let’s take the accompanying spices and garnish as Singapore produce). Imagine going for a local meal but wind up eating global foods!

This is not sustainable, and we know it, so what exactly is being done?

What Singapore is doing to ensure food sustainability in the long run

In recent years, Singapore has brought food sustainability into the limelight, with the on-going COVID-19 pandemic exacerbating the need for swifter and greater actions.

The move to achieving food sustainability can be categorised into 2 main groups – the industry and society.

Industry-in-action

As you might already know, Singapore has some aims in place, such as reaching 30% of self-produced food products by 2030. And this requires space, but we can only carve out 1 whole percent of our tiny island to fulfil this ambitious goal. So, what can be done?

Technology has been at the forefront of improving space utilisation at local farms such as Citiponics. The government has also pledged extra funding through the 30x30 Express Grant to aid local farms in tech-adoption. You may also have noticed some multi-storey carparks being transformed into beautiful urban farms. These innovative methods will slowly but surely help us improve our food self-sufficiency!

Furthermore, Singapore has always diversified our baskets, ensuring that if one country fails to provide us goods, we will have 170 others who can. So, if your steaks are not coming from Brazil, you can probably still have some Japanese Wagyu.

Society-in-action

Now, it may be difficult for us to see where we can fit in amidst all these complicated actions. There is absolutely no need for big actions, but just small changes and habits can make a difference.

Go local, truly local

The next time you visit the supermarket, buy the food items with the “SG Fresh Produce” logo. I am neither a chef nor a food connoisseur, but with a biased Singaporean heart, I dare say the local produce taste better than the imported ones.

Buy (cook) what you can finish

When buying or cooking food, do it with your brains and not with your hungry tummy. While your stomach may be crying out for lots of food, your brain should tell you the proper portion you require. If everyone overcooks, the current Singaporean wastage of 1.5 bowls worth per day will easily creep upwards and that is not sustainable at all.

One thing I do is meal preps – cook a whole bunch of foods at one go and split and store them for the next week. This saves you time, money, resources and your planet!

Use recyclable containers

Probably the easiest thing to do in this list! Everyone has containers at home, you just have to spare a little effort to bring it with you when purchasing food!

Yes, you are but one individual and our actions may appear small but if you can just influence another person to commit to some of the above actions, this wholesomeness will go a long way!

#food sustainability #sustainableliving #sustainable #ecofriendly #golocal #food