NEA releases first Sustainability Report, sets benchmark for public agencies

The National Environment Agency (NEA), the agency "responsible for improving and sustaining a clean and green environment in Singapore", has decided to walk the talk and report on its own internal efforts in promoting sustainability and social responsibility. With its inaugural Sustainability Report, which covers the 2011 fiscal year, NEA became the first public agency in the city-state to formally report on its sustainability efforts. The release of the report coincides with the agency's 10-year anniversary this year and was first announced during the Sustainability Forum held during the CleanEnviro Summit at Marina Bay Sands in early July.


The report follows the Global Reporting Initiative's (GRI) standards and achieved a "B" level, which indicates that the report includes disclosures on at least 20 sustainability performance indicators and at least 1 each from the economic, environment, human rights, labour, society and product responsibility categories. NEA had the report checked by GRI to ensure compliance with the reporting standard, though it does not have the "+" rating which would indicate third party assurance and verification.

"This is our first attempt at sustainability reporting based on the Global Reporting Initiative. It will spur us on to improve our efforts going forward," shared Andrew Tan, CEO of NEA. "In doing so, we are demonstrating to the community that we are committed to promoting sustainable practices as a responsible organisation and encouraging all our other stakeholders to do likewise. We hope that other public agencies and businesses will be encouraged to embark on their own sustainability journey."

For a first attempt, the efforts for NEA must be lauded. It challenged itself to go for a B-level report from the start and hopefully this will lead to an even higher level of reporting next year. And based on an informal conversation with an NEA officer, it seems that NEA's leadership is bent on setting the benchmark even higher in the coming years.

Will other public agencies in Singapore and the region follow NEA's example? We hope that this is a start of a trend for government institutions leading by example in promoting sustainability reporting.