Green Office
Office Supplies
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Office Supplies

Office Supplies is a highly visible area for Sustainable Procurement, as employees will immediately realise the efforts made to improve the sustainability performance of the organisation‘s operations. 

Office Supplies encompasses a wide range of products, from writing instruments and paper to toner cartridges. We included Cleaning Products & Services and Textiles in this section.

Browse additional Paper & Printing solutions in the related sub-category, on the left hand menu.

The key environmental impacts of printing consumables and other office stationeries are: 

  • Forest destruction and potential loss of biodiversity
  • Energy and water consumption during production
  • Waste from disposal (unless reprocessed or recycled), 
  • Packaging (plastics), 
  • Heavy metals (e.g. mercury, cadmium, lead, nickel) and chemicals (e.g. chlorine substances, colorants and dyes)
  • Hazardous substances

Our best advice: less is more. Start with Reducing and Reusing your supplies, you will save money and waste.

Measure & Monitor
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Measuring your office carbon footprint is a key step for a greener office. It is of high importance for an efficient environmental management: if you don’t measure it, you can’t manage it!

It requires methodology and proper data collection: papers expenses, electronic equipments, electricity charges, office supplies...

  • Implement an adequate procedure to measure across all departments.
  • Set annually reduction targets to continuously improve.

For suggested sources of data and units of measure (paper, electronic, waste, energy...) refer to Pages 4 - 5 of the UK-based WRAP.org guide and Page 10 - 14 onwards of the Singapore NEA 3R Guidebook for Offices.

75%

of office waste is paper.
(Ademe Report - Sept. 2019)

20%

of office paper is recycled only vs 41% at home.
(Ademe Report - Sept. 2019)

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Set up a Green Procurement Policy
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Preliminary Note:

  • Many sustainable products could be still more expensive than the non-sustainable ones. This “extra cost” will be offset on the long run by better procurement practices as described below, will raise awareness and improve your reputation towards your employees and your final customers.
  • You need to take into account the whole life cycle of your supplies, from manufacturing to end of product life.

Steps to take:

1- Analyse your current comsumption and existing practices:

  • Identify your most purchased products and unused references (20/80 rule)
  • Ask your suppliers what are the carbon footprints for your 20% most purchased products.

2- Define Targets and KPI evolution, such as:

  • Office supplies annual costs
  • % of sustainable or eco-certified office products purchases (to be done per category: paper, inks cartridges…)
  • Carbon footprint evolution for main office products purchased. Eliminate higher footprints products and replace them with lesser carbon footprint products.

3- Prefer:

  • recyclable materials
  • biodegradable materials
  • refillable materialise
  • certified products (always ask for proof of certification). See Green Label Singapore. To find all other eco labels in Singapore, browse ecolabel website.

4- Make it simpler:

  • Limit your annual number of orders to decrease logistics/transportation cost by aggregating orders among services/departments & defining a minimum amount per order. It will help you decrease your costs.
  • Reduce your suppliers list: limit order volumes and aggregate volumes on 1 or 2 suppliers to optimize cost.
  • Limit the number of supplies references, eliminate unused references and define a green list, to negotiate better prices on less references with higher volumes.

5- Packaging : Discuss with your supplier to limit packagings, e.g. all pens in 1 carton box.

6- Involve all stakeholders in the sustainable purchasing policy and train them:

  • Employees : present the green product lines to them (especially people in charge of office supplies) in order to get their support.
  • Suppliers : involve them in the green purchasing policy, share objectives and let them find better sustainable options for you.

Refer to the global sustainable procurement policy in Resources section for more details.

58%

of businesses better mitigate risk with sustainable procurement, 30% achieve cost reduction.
(Ecovadis Barometer - 2019)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Browse categories of the Green Label Singapore Directory from Singapore Environment Council to find labelled products or ecolabel website to find all eco labels in Singapore.

Other resources:
- Ecovadis academy on sustainable procurement
- Sustainable procurement policy
- ISO 20400

Suppliers that provide solutions:
Plan a Stationery Amnesty
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Organise a yearly stationery amnesty:

"An event where everyone in an office or building is invited to get rid of their unused and unwanted stationery (pens, staplers, envelopes, etc.) so it can be collected and reused. This saves money, as you don't need to buy new stationery, prevents items from going to landfill unnecessarily, and frees up space."

(Rémi Césaro, Resource Efficiency Consultant - Zero Waste City)

Here are 4 steps to implement your stationery amnesty.

Up to ~$640

are spent on office supplies per employee annually in medium-sized offices in USA - a number that can be optimised.
(OPI)

~50-60%

About 50-60% of office spend is on traditional supplies and computer consumables.
(OPI)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Reuse Office Supplies
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low
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medium
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low
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Maximise reuse of all office supplies. E.g. Reuse used envelopes & folders; use both sides of paper, reuse paper as draft paper, etc.

To go a step further, consider a yearly Stationery Amnesty (see above solution).

25%

of printed documents are thrown within 5 minutes, 16% are never read.
(Ademe - Sept. 2019)

400 M€

Annual cost of the unread and forgotten documents on the printer in France.
(Ademe - Sept 2019)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Choose Sustainable Paper Products
Cost
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low
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medium
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low
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If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one  and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

Opt for recycled paper (less fresh pulp from cut-down trees) or up-cycled paper (e.g. made from waste). Choose at least ECF Paper (Elemental Chlorine Free) or prefer PCF Paper (Processed Chlorine Free), FSC (Forest Stewardship Council). Apply the same for letterheads, name cards, envelopes...

If recycled paper is not available, PEFC-certified (Program for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) paper should be your second choice.

Prefer eco-certified products: Green Label Singapore, EnergyStar, PEFC, FSC for paper… Always ask for certification proof.

1,2 vs 2,5 tons

1 ton of recycled paper requires 1,2 ton of recycled fibres versus 2,5 tons of wood for 1 ton of virgin fibre paper.
(Recycled Papers)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Recycled Paper products & eco-friendly printing services
Green Prints Services

Green Prints is an environmental social enterprise that aims to provide the greenest printing solution in Singapore.

They believe going green should not incur a premium but should be affordable to everyone.

Their key products include recycled copy paper, sugarcane waste copy paper and namecards, T-shirts made from 100% recycled plastic bottles.

Paper Products & Whole Workplace Solutions
Lyreco

The Lyreco Group is a leading European distributor and third largest global distributor of workplace solutions for businesses. The group is present in 25 countries and operates via partnerships in 42 countries. With a turnover of more than 2.2 billion Euros, its results can be attributed to its close partnerships with its customers, outstanding logistics and the ambition that it shares with its 9,000 employees: "Always at your side to make your work life easier".

In Asia, Lyreco has been operating in 5 countries for the past 20 years: Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

They provide Green office products such as paper, pen, notebook, etc. that are falling under their own green tree certification (see their green tree logo).

Regional ecolabelling scheme
Singapore Green Labelling Scheme

The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS) was launched in May 1992 to endorse industrial and consumer products that have less undesirable effects on our environment. Administered by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), the SGLS is the region’s most established ecolabelling scheme with over 3 000 products certified across 28 countries.

The Singapore Green Label acts as a seal of endorsement on the environmentally-friendly claims to prevent the abuse of green-washing. Singapore Green Label certified products have become more marketable and readily accepted by consumers or businesses when making a purchase.

Application for the Singapore Green Label is open to both local and foreign companies.

Choose Sustainable Stationery
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low
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medium
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low
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If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

Prefer recyclable or biodegradable material:

  • Ink: use plant-based ink, opt for refurbished/ remanufactured cartridges.
  • Choose refillable pens (more expensive when purchasing the pen but definitely a cost saving when buying the refills afterwards).

Prefer eco-certified products: Green Label Singapore, EnergyStar, PEFC, FSC for paper… Always ask for certification proof.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Stationaries, Remanufactured Ink Cartridges & Toners, Whole Workplace Solutions
Lyreco

The Lyreco Group is a leading European distributor and third largest global distributor of workplace solutions for businesses. The group is present in 25 countries and operates via partnerships in 42 countries. With a turnover of more than 2.2 billion Euros, its results can be attributed to its close partnerships with its customers, outstanding logistics and the ambition that it shares with its 9,000 employees: "Always at your side to make your work life easier".

In Asia, Lyreco has been operating in 5 countries for the past 20 years: Hong Kong, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand.

They provide Green office products such as paper, pen, notebook, remanufactured ink cartdriges & toners, etc. that are falling under their own green tree certification (see their green tree logo).

Plantable sustainable stationery & lifestyle brand, Reusable cups
Left-handesign

Left-handesign is Singapore's 1st Plantable sustainable stationery & lifestyle brand playfully designed with light & love. They celebrate collections inspired by simple joys of travel, art, nature, food, impressions as seen in day to day life.

Under left-handesign they design their ‘Plantable Series’ called BĪJ a Sanskrit word that means Seed. Their range of products includes Pencils, Pens and Notebooks, Gift tags which you can Plant into an herb like tomato, chili, marigold, tulsi (indian basil), spinach, okra, morning glory, mustard seeds.

Left-handesign was founded with a simple mission: put Nature back into peoples' lives. Through their "PLANT A TREE IN YOUR NAME” Program, they plant a tree for EVERY purchase.

Sustainable, ethical and eco-friendly stationery, promotional products and custom merchandise
The First Green Store

With the rising need to conserve and protect our environment, the first green store (TFGS) encourages individuals and enterprises to adopt environmentally responsible lifestyles, and advocate for Corporate Social Responsibility policies, through the products given away during various occasions and events.

They work with partners who are certified for Ethical Practices in their manufacturing process, and their retail brands are very carefully chosen keeping in mind their design, environmental and social impacts.

Remanufactured cartridges, printers repair & loan, buy back scheme
Green Cartridge

Since 2008, Green Cartridge has been taking part in the conservation and preservation of the environment through waste reduction and recycling of waste materials, particularly printer cartridges. Green Cartridge claims to allow customers to save as much as 60% of their printing cost compared to using OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) cartridges.

Besides remanufactured cartridges, they provide printers repair, printers loan, and a buy back scheme for your empties, event in small quantity.

Remanufactured Cartridges, Ink refill system for Cartridges & Toners
Singink

SingInk provide ink bottles to refill cartridges and toners instead of buying new ones.

They cover most of the popular brands.

Reusable Masks & non-toxic, naturally derived, cruelty-free sanitizing products
SimplyGood

SimplyGood is a consumer brand created by the UglyGood team. They shine the spotlight on plastic waste with their line of sustainable cleaning products, such as cleaning solutions in refillable tablet form and reusable bottles.

To support the fight against the recent COVID-19 outbreak, SimplyGood have also launched a pack of reusable masks & hand sanitisers to help Singaporeans stay safe and protected. These 70% Ethyl Alcohol sanitisers are derived from organic wheat and are non-toxic, yet highly effective (kills up to 99.99% viruses) for various usage purposes. These sanitisers are also available in refill packs to reduce plastic wastage.

Products:
SimplyGood provide refillable cleaning tablets are 100% non-toxic, naturally derived and cruelty-free. They are also eco-friendly as its packaging utilise up to 90% less plastic than traditional cleaning products.

SimplyGood also provides food-grade sanitisers naturally derived from organic wheat and comes in refill packs to reduce plastic wastage. They are very versatile in terms of application, and can be used on not just skin but also food contact surfaces (i.e. knife, cutting board, ...)

Choose Green Cleaning Products (Floor)
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LOW
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low
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medium
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low
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If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

Prefer recyclable, recycled or biodegradable material:

  • Refillable solutions
  • Recycled products
  • Non-toxic, chemicals-free, tree-free, plastic-free products.  

If the choice of office cleaning products is done by your cleaning agents, discuss with them how to use eco-friendly products.

11%

In California, 11% of work-related asthma attacks are due to VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in cleaning products.
(Safe Household Cleaning)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
100% ecological detergent & desinfectant machines
Aquama Pacific : Bewoki Pte. Ltd.

Bewoki stands for better world for our kids and is the exclusive distributor of aquama® in the SEA region. They import unique machines from Switzerland that empower everyone from individuals to corporates to produce onsite a disinfectant and detergent 100% ecological (based on salt and water) that replaces 90% of polluting chemicals.

So upstream you eliminate the CO2 footprint of current chemicals production, downstream you release only salty water in the nature while in the process you do not create any additional plastic waste!

Moreover aquama® machines are seamless to use so everyone can connect to any of them with a mobile app. to get its own spray of hand-sanitizer for example thus contributing to a sharing economy which can be crucial in pandemic situations.

In the workplace, aquama® machines offer a safer work place by providing a disinfecting solution with no allergen, no chloramine and no endocrine disrupter that is both bactericide and virucide. On top of cleaning the common areas of the office, the machine is accessible by all staffs or employees so they can use it at their work station or home.

Aquama® machines are available in various size and some of them like the Freedom® or the Freedom® S are meant for home use.

B2B cleaning and washroom hygiene industry.
Duprex

Duprex is a Singapore-based company operating for more than 20 years in cleaning and washroom hygiene industry.

They are not specialised in sustainable products but provide a range of green detergent, soap and surface cleaners.

Non-toxic & environmentally-friendly cleaning products
Idocare

Idocare provides concentrated cleaning products that are 100% non-toxic, formulated from fully biodegradable ingredients; thus absolutely safe for people, pets and the environment.

Products range from floor cleaner, dishwashing liquid to hand soap and all purpose spray.

Sustainable cleaning products
ETLNo9

ETLNo9 offers certified organic and 100% natural formulations for a truly minimalist and toxin-free Lifestyle.

They believe that the act of purifying our environment is the most direct way of purifying our heart and soul and that by taking care of nature, nature will take care of us.Their brand focuses on the spiritual aspect of sustainability.

You can also contact them on their facebook page : facebook.com/etl.littleflower

Choose Green Cleaning Products (Others)
Cost
LOW
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MEDIUM
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HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
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HIGH
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low
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MEDIUM
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If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

Prefer recyclable or biodegradable material:

  • Refillable solutions (e.g. soap dispenser)
  • Recycled products (e.g. toilet paper)
  • Non-toxic, chemicals-free, tree-free, plastic-free products (e.g. bamboo pulp toilet paper)

If the choice of office cleaning products is done by your cleaning agents, discuss with them how to use eco-friendly products.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Hand & Surface sanitizers - plastic-free packaging, chemicals-free, BPAs-free.
The Nurturing Co

Zero plastics, no chemicals, no fragrances, and no BPAs. The Nurturing Co. is a next generation sustainable consumer products company that creates, manufactures, and sells earth friendly, modern brands answering today’s consumer needs for tomorrow. They offer a range of liquid food-grade hand & surface sanitisers and anti-bac wipes (refill canister, 300 wipes).

Under their bambooloo brand, they also offer sustainable toilet rolls, hand towels and other paper-based products from 100% sustainable bamboo, and 0% one time use plastics.

Non-toxic, naturally derived and cruelty-free sanitizing & cleaning products
SimplyGood

SimplyGood is a consumer brand created by the UglyGood team. They shine the spotlight on plastic waste with their line of sustainable cleaning products, such as cleaning solutions in refillable tablet form and reusable bottles.

To support the fight against the recent COVID-19 outbreak, SimplyGood have also launched hand sanitisers to help Singaporeans stay safe and protected. These 70% Ethyl Alcohol sanitisers are derived from organic wheat and are non-toxic, yet highly effective (kills up to 99.99% viruses) for various usage purposes. These sanitisers are also available in refill packs to reduce plastic wastage.

Products:
SimplyGood provide refillable cleaning tablets are 100% non-toxic, naturally derived and cruelty-free. They are also eco-friendly as its packaging utilise up to 90% less plastic than traditional cleaning products.

SimplyGood also provides food-grade sanitisers naturally derived from organic wheat and comes in refill packs to reduce plastic wastage. They are very versatile in terms of application, and can be used on not just skin but also food contact surfaces (i.e. knife, cutting board, ...)

Chemical free, allergen free, biodegradable, refillable cleaning products
Soapnut Republic

Soapnut Republic provides safe, natural cleaning for home and office. Their products are powered by Soapnut berries, blended with plant based minerals and naturally scented with essential oils.

They are chemical free, allergen free, child friendly, biodegradable and refillable.

Tree-free and plastic-free packaging toilet paper
Bambooloo

Zero plastics, no chemicals, no fragrances, and no BPAs. The Nurturing Co created Bambooloo as Singapore's first plastic packaging free consumer product range. They offer sustainable toilet rolls, hand towels and other paper-based products from 100% sustainable bamboo, and 0% one time use plastics.

They also have The Nurturing Co range of liquid food grade sanitisers and anti-bac wipes (refill canister, 300 wipes). The Nurturing Co. is a next generation sustainable consumer products company that creates, manufactures, and sells earth friendly, modern brands answering today’s consumer needs for tomorrow.

Regional ecolabelling scheme
Singapore Green Labelling Scheme

The Singapore Green Labelling Scheme (SGLS) was launched in May 1992 to endorse industrial and consumer products that have less undesirable effects on our environment. Administered by the Singapore Environment Council (SEC), the SGLS is the region’s most established ecolabelling scheme with over 3 000 products certified across 28 countries.

The Singapore Green Label acts as a seal of endorsement on the environmentally-friendly claims to prevent the abuse of green-washing. Singapore Green Label certified products have become more marketable and readily accepted by consumers or businesses when making a purchase.

Application for the Singapore Green Label is open to both local and foreign companies.

Choose Green Cleaning Services
Cost
LOW
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MEDIUM
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HIGH
EFFORT
low
EFFORT
medium
EFFORT
HIGH
IMPACT
low
IMPACT
MEDIUM
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HIGH

If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

For services, prefer providers conscious of environmental and social challenges:

  • using water & energy efficient equipment
  • using eco-friendly cleaning products (see solutions "Choose Green Cleaning Products" above)
  • training their employees on eco-friendly practices, natural resources' preservation & waste segregation
  • with clear human resources social engagements such as a safe work environment, inclusiveness and diversity policy, and real competencies development plans
ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Non-toxic & environmentally-friendly cleaning services and products
Green Cleaners Asia

Green Cleaners Asia is an eco-friendly professional cleaning service in Singapore. Since 2009, they have been using non-toxic and environmentally friendly products - not polluting the environment or your indoor air.

A toxic free working environment contributes to improving productivity levels at work, reducing sick days and operational costs!

Their corporate clients include kindergartens, offices, gymnasiums and hotels. GCA actively raise awareness and encourage their customers to adopt a ‘greener’ lifestyle, across their social media platforms and through educational talks and events.

Choose Eco-friendly Textile Merchandise
Cost
LOW
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MEDIUM
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HIGH
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low
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medium
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low
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If you do not have yet a sustainable procurement policy, see above solution "Set up a Green Procurement Policy" on how to implement one and our sustainable procurement page on how to write one.

• Avoid non-bio cotton textile

• Prefer recyclable or biodegradable material:
     - Bio-cotton
     - Up-cycled fabrics
     - Recycled material: coffee grounds, polyester
     - Natural material: seaweed, linen, hemp…

• Prefer eco-certified products: Global Organic Textile Standard (GOTS)…

• Logistics: go for local sourcing

• For clothes production, choose manufacturers with social-consciousness:
     - Safe work environment to prevent work accidents or illness
     - Employees wellbeing
     - Ethical work conditions (minimum salaries levels, no forced labor, no child work...)

200%

Innovative technologies can turn coffee grounds into fabrics that offer up to 200% faster drying time compared to cotton.
(S. Café®)

2,700L of water

are used to produce a non bio t-shirt.
(pSEau.org)

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES
Suppliers that provide solutions:
Sustainably-made generic & customised corporate wear, textiles & accessories
Merchandise.blue UG

Merchandise.blue is committed to offering companies alternative textile merchandise, from uniforms to trade show giveaways  to towels/napkins to tote bags and other accessories, that are made sustainably and fairly to ensure the long-termwell-being of the planet and for all of us living on it.

They offer both ready-made styles and custom sustainable merchandise items using carefully selected materials and partner with environmental impact in mind. A few examples of the environmentally progressive fabrics that used in their products include recycled fishing nets, recycled polyester, recycled cotton, seaweed, organic cotton and Tencel.

Tshirts & Totebags made of upcycled plastic bottles
Plastic Bottle Tees

Plastic Bottle Tees upcycles plastic bottles into T-Shirts and totebags, by turning used plastic bottles into recycled polyester (rPET) and then into clothing. These clothing can be recycled back into rPET after they are used, closing the loop.

They own their production plants and can cater from small to large orders. High quality control and sustainable practices are observed throughout the production process. They do not use environmentally harmful dyes or bleaches.

Besides, they commit part of their proceeds to local recycling programs. Plastic Bottle Tees is a subsidiary of Green Prints Services and operates in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei.

Buddies - Experience sharing

The « green journey » may feel overwhelming sometimes, but you are not alone.

Our Buddies have tried, succeeded, failed to implement change in their companies. They share their experience so you can learn, take shortcuts, get inspired and ask questions.

Everybody can become a Buddy and give back to the community; if you are keen, get in touch with us.

Ivona Balint-Kowalczyk
Sustainability consultant, founder of Sustainao

Ivona is a sustainability consultant, founder of Sustainao, a Singapore-based company that helps businesses in their sustainability journey, from conducting materiality assessments, creating a sustainability strategy, to implementing and improving sustainability reporting and performance.

Ivona has an MBA in CSR-Sustainability and a master’s degree in Environmental Management. She has first worked for Air France Industries and Arkema in their environmental and sustainability departments. After that, she has gained strong experience as a sustainability auditor for KPMG France. She verified non financial information published in the Sustainability Reports of French groups of Media, Agri-food, Transport, Industry sectors and conducted audits in 15 countries across Europe, Africa and Asia.

Nadège Claudel
General Manager - BSI (British Standards Institution)

I have been General Manager of BSI Singapore for 2.5 years. Prior to joining BSI, I held different job assignments for the international retailer Carrefour. For them, I oversaw Quality, Food Safety and Sustainability in China and then at the Group level.  

I spent most of my career working in Asia: in Shanghai, Hong Kong and I have been happily settled in Singapore for 8 years now. 

I have a real passion for sustainability and nature conservation and I love to share the knowledge and experience I gained in this field. I am also a volunteer for the Singaporean NGO called Climate Conversation which aims to raise awareness on climate change.

Virgile Viasnoff
Professor, Mechanobiology – NUS, CNRS

Virgile is an academic researcher who works for the CNRS (France) and the National University of Singapore. He heads an international collaborative lab between Singapore and France at the mechanobiology institute.

He is also in charge of the transition towards more sustainable practices in the lab and in the institute. He has already implemented various actions covering energy efficiency, consumables usage reduction, waste management...