“Ten years ago, I was covered in cow piss and cow manure, and never would have imagined I would be here, being honoured this way,” said Bjorn Low, co-founder of Edible Garden City, a social enterprise that promotes urban farming, during his acceptance speech at The Peak Power List 2018 gala. The 37-year-old was referring to the time he spent in England learning about animal husbandry, during which one of his tasks was learning how to milk cows.
Low was one of 10 individuals honoured in The Peak’s annual list, which recognises movers and shakers in a specific area. This year, the theme of the list was Green Entrepreneurs and Champions. Honourees from various industries were celebrated at a gala held at Sheraton Towers Singapore, graced by guests including ambassadors and business leaders.
Honourees in The Peak Power List 2018 include names such as Esther An, City Developments Limited’s (CDL) chief sustainability officer who has been driving conservation education and eco-friendly practices in the group’s properties; Wong Ann Chai, co-founder of Nano Sun, a start-up specialising in customisable water treatment systems that have been used locally and regionally; and Apollo Aquaculture Group’s Eric Ng, who uses vertical seafood farming methods to maximise production and efficiency.
The nomination and selection process was done by The Peak editorial team in consultation with a panel of industry leaders, comprising veteran venture capitalist Koh Soo Boon, managing partner of iGlobe Partners; Simon Tay, chairman of Singapore Institute of International Affairs; Frank Phuan, chief executive of Sunseap Group; and Jessica Cheam, founder of digital media platform Eco-Business. The event was also presented by Huawei, McLaren, Mitsubishi Electric, Sheraton Towers Singapore and World of Wood.
As The Peak editor Jennifer Chen noted in her introductory speech, “In choosing our candidates, we wanted to avoid duplicating the list of winners of Singapore’s various sustainability awards – there’s enough press about that. Our focus is on the men and women who have built successful businesses centred on furthering ecological sustainability, and who drive sustainability within their organisations.”
It’s a clear-eyed view echoed by honourees such as Alan Lee, founder of Elmich, a leading provider of eco-friendly urban landscaping solutions. Elmich uses recycled plastic to make products such as pedestals for boardwalks and pots for vertical gardens. Last year, it saved 25,500 cubic metres of landfill space by recycling plastics that were designated as waste. However, as Lee shared during a five-course dinner curated by chef Chung Yiu Ming of Sheraton’s Cantonese restaurant Li Bai: “It’s not just your product that has to be sustainable; your business has to be too.”
Indeed, the light-hearted evening provided plenty of opportunities for like-minded individuals to meet and discuss potential collaborative opportunities: CDL’s An, for instance, swapped stories about large-scale efforts to give clothing a second life with fellow honouree Aloysius Sng, whose company Refash helps women to sell and buy pre-loved clothes.
The powerful topic of ecological sustainability also connected honourees past and present: Edible Garden City’s Low was spotted in conversation with Sunseap Group‘s Phuan, who is a 2017 Power List honouree as well as a member of the advisory panel for this year’s list. Low later shared: “Frank also runs an urban farm, Packet Greens. Some people might think we’re competitors, but we can work together to do something good.”