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Establishing a sustainable home business in Singapore for expats

Starting an eco-friendly business for an expat or relocator in Singapore may be less straightforward than expected. Don’t get the wrong idea, this bustling nation-state is definitely committed towards their 2030 Green Plan. Across different industries, both the public and private sectors have already made leaps and bounds in trailblazing a greener future, with momentum expected to pick up further from here. 

But where do you begin? What’s needed for a business to be considered ‘green’? In recent years, consumers have placed increasing emphasis on how a company embodies their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) spirit. A study conducted by Dentsu International and Microsoft found that 77% of consumers wanted to spend only on brands who have adopted green practices, with more than half intending to boycott brands that don’t address climate emergencies. 

Intuitively, the success of your home-based business is intertwined with how you’re able to resonate with customers’ desire for eco-friendly products and services. Let’s look at how to put your business “out there”…

Certifying your products

Just as Instagram and Facebook have a ‘Verified’ icon for legitimate social media accounts, having the appropriate certifications can really speak volumes about your commitment to grow a green business. In the space of ESG, examples include the OEKO-TEX Standard, which extensively measures the presence of harmful chemicals within your products, especially for clothing. You never know when customers may choose to discard their items on a whim, so it would be environmentally prudent to promote a safer ecosystem for future generations.

Alternatively, if you are more involved with food products, infusing organically-grown materials into your recipes could potentially qualify you for the EcoCert certification. EcoCert audits the entire supply chain, starting from the raw material all the way through to the finished product. The process is a lot more rigorous than it sounds, so being able to attain this certification is a firm affirmation of your dedication to sustainability. EcoCert also has equivalent standards for testing cosmetics, homecare products and other textiles too. 

Granted, there may be costs associated with attaining the certifications, but if it sweeps your customers off their feet, isn’t it worth it?

Wrapping them in biodegradable packaging

Saving the Earth is a bit of a moot point if your wrappers are going to last so much longer than the product itself. After all, the first thing that consumers throw is the packaging. 

It may feel daunting to scale up eco-friendly materials, but large companies have proven that it’s feasible. In 2019, Qantas Airways made history by having zero waste in their commercial flights. All single-use plastic items aboard QF739 were substituted with fully compostable alternatives (such as using cornstarch for cutlery), or not used at all. If even airlines, which are notorious for generating millions of tonnes of waste per year, are able to pull this off, why not you? 

Biodegradable packaging is no new technology, and there’s many suppliers out there who can cater to a wide range of packaging needs, such as paper bags, napkins or even bioplastic cutlery. 

If implementing biodegradable packaging is a bit out of your reach now, you can opt for second-hand packaging. There are like-minded consumers out there who don’t immediately rip their packages to shreds; instead, after carefully removing its contents, they donate these used packages to select organisations, which in turn ‘refurbish’ the packaging and re-sell it at very affordable rates. 

Embracing green logistics

Solar powered warehouse in Singapore - green options for home businesses for expats

Solar Powered Warehouse

The view atop every green warehouse…

A small van can easily emit 7.3 tonnes of CO2 annually (that’s about the weight of 1 elephant). As of 2021, there are 165,434 commercial goods vehicles in Singapore. Delivering your products to customers definitely requires specialised transport… but can you imagine how much pollution there has been, and how much more there will be?

Fortunately, a critical facet of the Singapore Green Plan is that from 2025, no new diesel vans can be registered under the Certificate of Entitlement (COE) scheme; from 2030, all newly registered vehicles must be of cleaner energy. While many logistics companies are scrambling to convert their vehicle fleet, there are some startups who have already begun with a full-EV fleet. With 0 direct carbon emissions, along with committed Driver-Partners to deliver your packages timely, your customers’ satisfaction (and yours too!) will be guaranteed. 

If you have further need for storage, you can consider engaging the services of a green warehouse. These warehouses have fully decked solar panel rooftops, which greatly reduces the building’s reliance on the national grid for electricity. 

At the time of writing, there are not many companies or startups that can offer eco-friendly alternatives to serving your warehousing or last-mile logistical needs. Check out our recommendations for companies that can efficiently serve you. Alternatively, click here to understand how green logistics will be an inevitable revolution in Singapore’s supply chain ecosystem.

Overall…

It is not impossible to start a green business in Singapore. There’s so many avenues for your eco-friendly business to blossom (pun intended), so what are you waiting for? Greenify your home-based business today!

Read on more to find out different types of Singapore Visas and how to obtain them.

– Gareth Wang

woman doing research to relocate out of singapore