On 22nd May, EuroCham in collaboration with GCNS, SBF and UOB, organised the ‘Forum: Local SMEs and their sustainable transition: how can European MNCs support it?’ at SBF.
We would like to thank the Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Mr Alvin Tan, for being the Guest of Honour and for his insightful sharing during the moderated Q&A with Mr Don Wee.
In this business seminar, we explored the role that MNCs can play in supporting local SMEs, with an emphasis on the importance of collaboration and partnerships between MNCs, SMEs, and other stakeholders in creating a more sustainable future for all in five different breakout sessions covering topics like Mobility, Consumer Markets, Pharma, Chemical and Waste/Energy. We would like to thank all our moderators and panellists involved:
– Ms Emma Thompson (Spurwing Communications)
– Mr Samuel Koh (AstraZeneca (Singapore))
– Ms Serene Cai (Speedoc)
– Ms Yvonne Zhang (Deloitte)
– Mr Mats Nilsson (Volvo Buses Asia Pacific)
– Ms Sarah Lee (Airbus)
– Mr Melvin Tan (Cyclect Holdings)
– Ms Sue Meng CHAN (Global Compact Network Singapore)
– Ms Patricia Lee (Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore)
– Ms Lizum Mishra (the LEGO Group)
– Ms Yee Chin Cheng (DTC World Corporation Pte Ltd)
– Ms Melissa Moi (UOB Limited)
– Dr Claus Rettig (Evonik Industries AG)
– Ms Vimala Arumugam (BASF)
– Mr Dro Tan (Matex International Limited Ltd)
– Mr Kim Huat Chia (SBF / Rajah & Tann LLP)
– Mr Sundar Chidambaram (Siemens Energy)
– Ms Claire Langrée Saf (WABIO Technology)
– Ms Dora B. (Marquis Energy Global Pte. Ltd.)
The attendees benefited greatly from the various panel discussions and sharing during the Q&As.
We would like to thank all who joined us in order to make the event a success!
Small- and medium-sized entities (SMEs) might think that sustainability is only relevant to large companies—that for a small business, the administrative and financial costs outweigh the benefits. In addition, the challenges facing SMEs in making this transition to more sustainable practices include limited resources, lack of knowledge and difficulty accessing financing. However, SMEs that integrate sustainability into their core business strategy can benefit from lower costs, reduced risks and new opportunities.
Sustainability can be a key differentiator for businesses. The discerning customers may demand the goods and services produced to be sustainable by adopting economically-sound processes that minimize negative environmental impacts while conserving energy and natural resources.
Increasingly, investors and other financial institutions do want to work with companies which are sustainable or may require the companies to procure from sustainable sources. Investors may also bypass companies that are too slow in making this green transition.
SMEs are crucially important to the health and stability of the global economy: they account for over 95% of all businesses and for the majority of wealth and employment creation, and social and environmental impacts. Today, SMEs are increasingly being faced with pressure to measure and manage their impact on the environment. They are an integral part of the supply chain where there is a growing demand for sustainability management both from customers and suppliers, especially for those SMEs seeking to secure contracts with governments or larger companies.
MNCs can gain from supporting the sustainable transition of local SMEs, such as access to innovative technologies, diversification of supply chain and enhanced reputation. It will also improve their sustainable reporting obligations to regulators and shareholders.
In this business seminar EuroCham in collaboration with GCNS, SBF and UOB will explore the role that MNCs can play in supporting local SMEs, with an emphasis on the importance of collaboration and partnerships between MNCs, SMEs, and other stakeholders in creating a more sustainable future for all.
08.30 am Registration
09.00 am Welcome Remarks by EuroCham President and SBF Council Member, Federico Donato
09.05 am Opening Remarks by Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan
09.10 am Moderated Q&A session with Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan
09.30 am Remarks by GCNS Executive Director, Esther Chang
09.35 am Coffee Break
10.00 am Break-out Sessions (40 min per panel discussion)
- Room 1
- Consumer Markets
- Room 2
12.00 pm End
The organisers reserve the right to change the programme content without giving prior notification or any reasons thereof.
Guest of Honour
Mr Alvin Tan
Minister of State
Ministry of Trade and Industry
Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth
Republic of Singapore
Mr Alvin Tan was elected as a Member of Parliament in 2020, and appointed Minister of State at the Ministry of Trade & Industry (MTI), and the Ministry of Culture, Community & Youth (MCCY). He is also a Board Member at the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS).
At MTI, Mr Tan is involved in growing Singapore’s economy, focusing on the tourism, tech startup, agri-food tech and advanced manufacturing sectors, and securing free trade agreements with Latin America. At MCCY, he is working on empowering youths, promoting mental well-being and mentoring, strengthening racial and religious harmony and supporting Singapore’s sports, arts and culture sectors. At MAS, Mr Tan is helping develop Singapore’s financial sector, including as a fintech, green finance and digital assets hub.
Before leaving the private sector to join politics, Mr Tan worked in finance and tech at companies such as Goldman Sachs, Facebook and LinkedIn. He has also worked in the United Nations and Oxfam, and in New York, Hong Kong, Sydney, and San Francisco. He has also served in the Singapore Armed Forces as an armour officer, and the Ministry of Defence in diplomacy, research and counter-terrorism roles.
Mr Tan has degrees in Economics from Sydney University and Harvard University, and was an International and Global Affairs Fellow at Harvard’s Belfer Centre for Science and International Affairs.
Moderator for the Q&A session with Minister of State for Trade and Industry, Alvin Tan
Mr Don Wee Boon Hong
Senior Vice President, UOB, Corporate Sustainability Office
Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC
Institute of Singapore Chartered Accountants, Fellow Chartered Accountant, Elected Council Member since 2019
Mr Wee is the Senior Vice President of UOB’s Corporate Sustainability Office. Prior to joining UOB in 2018, Mr Wee spent 8 years with HSBC Asia Pacific.
Mr Wee is a Member of Parliament for Chua Chu Kang GRC and also a member of the Government Parliamentary Committee for the Ministry of Sustainability and Environment. He is also a member of the Accountancy Workforce Review Committee which is convened by the Ministry of Finance.
Don has more than 22 years of banking experience and possesses an MBA as well as a Master’s in Public Administration.
Break-out Sessions Moderators & Panellists
Ms Emma Thompson
CEO & Founder
Emma is an expert healthcare communicator and CEO of Spurwing Communications, a leading public relations agency that specialises in healthcare communications across Asia Pacific. With almost 20 years of experience in the industry in Asia and Europe, Emma has established herself as a trusted advisor to many of the world’s leading healthcare companies on their corporate, investor, and product communications strategies. Her experience spans the entire healthcare spectrum, working with leading global pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotech companies.
Mr Samuel Koh
Director, Corporate Affairs & Market Access
AstraZeneca (Singapore) Pte. Ltd
Samuel Koh is currently Director, Corporate Affairs & Market Access for AstraZeneca (Singapore) Pte. Ltd. In his 20 years career in the pharmaceutical industry, he has built a wealth of commercial pharmaceutical experience, having held various leadership roles in sales, product management, market access, corporate affairs and communications.
In his current capacity where he sits as a member of the Country Leadership team, he is responsible for leading and overseeing the policy shaping, market access and communication initiatives. He works with government agencies such as the Ministry of Health to explore access opportunities for AstraZeneca’s innovative portfolio of drugs to the larger Singapore population and also assess opportunities to establish private-public partnerships aiming at improving overall patients’ health outcomes. Samuel also sits as a member of the Public Policy Committee of the local pharmaceutical trade association, the Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries (SAPI), supporting policy-related work at the industry level.
Samuel graduated from Murdoch University, Perth, W.A. Australia with a 1st Class Honours in Biomedical Science.
Ms Serene Cai
Serene is a co-founder of Speedoc, one of the region’s leading digital health startups. In 2020, Speedoc raised S$6.7 million in a Series A funding round led by Vertex Ventures; and in 2022, raised a further S$28 million in a pre-Series B funding to expand its virtual home care programme.
During the pandemic, Speedoc was a key member in Singapore’s COVID-19 response providing medical attention to the foreign worker dormitories, performing more than 25, 000 swabs, helping more 18, 000 seafarers be certified fit to fly home when global shipping lanes came to a standstill, and administering COVID-19 jabs to the housebound. As part of the efforts to uplift the healthcare landscape, Serene also worked with government and hospital partners to create virtual hospitals in Singapore. Speedoc has since discharged more than 4,000 patients successfully from its virtual ward programme.
Today, Serene leads a team of 200 in 3 countries and works on establishing Singapore’s digital health leadership in the region, with close to 200, 000 patients who have used Speedoc’s services till date. She was named on Forbes’ 30 Under 30 Asia list in 2021, one of TechNode Global’s Southeast Asia’s top 50 rising Women in Tech 2021 and was also listed under Edge 35 Under 35 list in 2021. She also received the Emerging Star Award at the Wee Kim Wee School of Communication and Information’s Spotlight Awards 2021 and was conferred the Nanyang Outstanding Young Alumni Award by NTU in 2022. Speedoc was also named as a top winner of the OCBC Emerging Enterprise Awards 2022 and was also listed in the J.P. Morgan Asia Pacific Top 100 Women-Powered, High-Growth Businesses Report.
Ms Yvonne Zhang
Southeast Asia’s Sustainability & Climate Director
Yvonne Zhang leads the Sustainability & Climate Risk practice for Deloitte South East Asia. She has been working with corporates to unlock value in doing business sustainably. Her current focus areas include carbon trading, clean energy transition, responsible sourcing, supply chain due diligence, impact financing, public policy advisory and advocacy.
Yvonne has more than 17 years’ experience in building and trading financial & commodities products (metals, renewables, energy, agriculture) in global banks (Morgan Stanley, Societe Generale, ANZ), she led the development of commodities and digital assets at Chicago Mercantile Exchange Group (CME) and founded start-ups to digitalise sustainable commodities trading and green financing.
Yvonne holds double degrees in Law and Commerce from the University of Sydney. She is the deputy chair of ISO/TC 307(Blockchain) for Singapore, an expert contributor to standards-making in sustainability reporting (GRI agriculture & fishing sector standards), cross-border terms of trade (International Chamber of Commerce Digital Standards Initiative) and a teaching fellow at Singapore University of Social Sciences.
Mr Mats Nilsson
Volvo Buses Asia Pacific Region
Mats Nilsson is leading a highly dedicated and professional team in the Asia Pacific region towards the new tomorrow of sustainable transport solutions for Bus & Coach. Maximizing customer success and market opportunities for Volvo Buses. Mats joined the Volvo Group in 1994 at Volvo Trucks France and have thereafter worked for Volvo Buses, Volvo Trucks, and Renault Trucks cross-functionally in product planning, purchasing, and strategic planning both on a global scale and with extensive focus on Asia markets. His most recent position was Vice President Commercial Trucks for Renault Trucks Europe, and prior to that, he was President and Managing Director of Volvo Trucks Malaysia for over 5 years.
Mats attended Executive Management Programs from EM Lyon, INSEAD, London Business School and HEC Paris, and holds a degree in Marketing from The University of Strathclyde.
Taking advantage of the strong base built in Singapore and Malaysia over recent years with continued expansion in Indonesia, Mats will leverage his expertise and experience to build deeper customer and stakeholder relationships and further develop Asian markets to the fullest potential.
Ms Sarah Lee
Head of Strategy & Transformation, Asia Pacific – Airbus Commercial
Sarah Lee assumed the role of Head of Strategy and Global Account Management for the Asia Pacific region in March 2021. In this capacity, she oversees the development and execution of research, technology, and innovation strategies, with a focus on fostering a sustainable aviation presence in the region.
Before her current position, Sarah joined Airbus in 2019 and established the Skywise Digital Solutions Customer Services division for the Asia Pacific and China regions. She played a pivotal role in launching the Skywise Customer Experience Centre in Singapore.
With over 16 years of experience in sales and marketing, Sarah has honed her skills in key account management for technology solutions, services, consulting, digitalization, and innovation solutions development. Her expertise spans multiple multinational corporations in the IT and telecommunications sectors prior to her tenure at Airbus.
Sarah is an IATA-certified Aviation Management Professional (AMP) and holds a BA (Hons) in International Business Management from Northumbria University, Newcastle, UK. Additionally, she earned a Diploma in Law & Management from Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore.
Mr Melvin Tan
SBF SME Committee Member and Group Managing Director
Melvin Tan is a highly accomplished Group Managing Director with over 26 years of experience managing businesses in the engineering, construction, maintenance, and operations sectors. In his leadership role at Cyclect Group, Melvin has been instrumental in driving the company’s growth and success.
Established in 1943, the Cyclect Group has several business groups, including Engineering Solutions, Technical Solutions, Integrated Facilities Management, Industrial Distribution and Trading, and Sustainable Energy Solutions, serving a wide range of industries, from manufacturing, process manufacturing, power, utilities, water, energy, marine, and offshore.
The company is committed to promoting sustainable practices and has developed sustainable energy solutions such as a utility-scale solar power plant, energy-efficient cogeneration power plants, and a net-zero green data centre.
Cyclect Group has received several awards for its outstanding performance, including the WIPO-IPOS IP Awards, Enterprise 50 Awards, Singapore Sustainability Awards, Asean Best Electrical Contractor Awards, Singapore Prestige Brand Awards, and Asean Business Awards.
These recognitions highlight the company’s commitment to excellence in all aspects of operation, including sustainability.
Melvin is an active member of various industry organizations, including the Singapore Manufacturing Federation, Association of Process Industry, and Enterprise 50 Association, where he holds key positions. He is also a member of the Young President’s Organization, reflecting his dedication to driving innovation and excellence in the industry.
Melvin earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Simon Fraser University, Vancouver, Canada. In his role as a Group Managing Director, Melvin’s leadership, strategic thinking, and business acumen have been critical in driving growth and success for Cyclect Group.
Ms Sue Meng Chan
Deputy Director of Sustainability and Capability-Building
Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS)
Sue Meng is Deputy Director of Sustainability and Capability-Building at GCNS overseeing a team that develops and manages capability-building initiatives, encompassing training, trainer and alumni engagement, partnerships, thought-leadership publications, and conversations to inspire SMEs to engage in sustainability. She is also the trainer for the Enterprise Sustainability Programme – Foundations in Corporate Sustainability, a partnership with Enterprise Singapore.
Sue Meng has 14 years experience in developing sustainability programmes and stakeholder engagement and has served companies and NGOs in China, Malaysia and Singapore.
Her journey in sustainability began in 2003 when she took a module in Alternative Development in Southeast Asia as part of her M.A. in Asia Pacific Studies. She is a published author of an untold history of her hometown, Ipoh, and has built a marker trail based on this book to lead the way in responsible tourism.
Ms Patricia Lee
Corporate Affairs Director
Asia Pacific Breweries (Singapore) Pte Ltd (Heineken)
Patricia is seasoned communications and corporate affairs professional with over two decades of experience across various industries and sectors. Today, she is the Corporate Affairs Director at Asia Pacific Breweries Singapore (APBS) which is part of the HEINEKEN Company.
Patricia joined APBS in February 2019 where she heads the Brand PR, Communications, Public Affairs and Sustainability functions to deliver business value and drive sustainable growth in support of APB’s business strategy. This includes amplifying the stories of diverse range of innovative brands and quality products and driving HEINEKEN’s Brew a Better World sustainability agenda as the country’s leading sustainable brewery.
Prior to joining APB, Patricia spent six years managing the communications activities and spearheading the sustainability agenda with the Dairy Farm Singapore Group (member of the Jardine Matheson Group). As a communications professional who has experience in retail and FMCG industries, Patricia has also held multiple senior leadership positions in the healthcare industry at SingHealth and Thomson Medical Group as well as with Bloomberg News producing current affairs news programmes for TV and Radio.
Patricia holds a degree from the University of Oregon, specialising in communication, journalism and marketing.
Ms Lizum Mishra
Senior Director, Government & Public Affairs, Asia Pacific
The LEGO Group
Lizum Mishra heads government affairs for the Asia Pacific region for the LEGO group based out of the company’s regional headquarters in Singapore. In this capacity, she is responsible for shaping and influencing regulatory environments to enable access to LEGO© products offerings across key markets in Asia Pacific. Lizum also drives partnerships and industry alliances, which supports the LEGO group’s priorities in these markets. Lizum also provides leadership oversight to corporate affairs priorities in Asia Pacific for the company. In addition to her role, she represents the LEGO group as chairperson and director with the Asia Toy & Play Association, which drives the unified priorities of the toy sector in Asia Pacific and helps grow the toy industry in the region.
Lizum brings close to 20 years of experience in the government and corporate affairs function working for Fortune 100 companies in technology, retail and aerospace. Prior to joining the LEGO group, Lizum was the head of Government Affairs and Public Policy for South Asia for Amazon and was part of the core team that helped bring Amazon to the region. Lizum previously has also led the Business Software Alliance in South Asia as well as been the corporate affairs leader for the Boeing Company in South Asia. She began her career with an internship at CNN’s international desk at their global headquarters in Atlanta. Lizum holds a Master’s degree in Public Affairs from Syracuse University, New York.
Ms Cheng Yee Chin
DTC World Corporation
Ms Melissa Ker-Zia Moi
United Overseas Bank Limited
Melissa Moi is the Head of Sustainable Business in the Corporate Sustainability Office at UOB. In her role, she supports the delivery of a sustainable business strategy across UOB’s footprint including the management and mitigation of ESG risk, development of sustainable business strategies and frameworks, supporting sustainable product innovation, and driving the bank’s leadership in sustainable finance.
Prior to joining UOB, Melissa spent a decade at Bank of America where she led the firm’s ESG efforts in Asia Pacific. Her role included client-facing advisory on sustainability, driving a sustainable finance strategy in the region as well as the implementation of corporate ESG initiatives across risk, social investment and environmental footprint.
Melissa has also spent a decade in the NGO sector in the education and healthcare sectors in Canada and Asia in both program implementation and organizational leadership roles.
Melissa is a member of the Board of Directors of the Children’s Medical Foundation, a charity focused on improving healthcare for newborn babies in rural China. She holds a Master’s Degree in Human Systems Intervention from Concordia University and a Bachelor of Science from the University of Ottawa.
Dr Claus Rettig
Member of the Extended Executive Board of
Evonik Industries AG
President Asia Pacific
Dr Claus Rettig is the regional president of Evonik Asia Pacific since July 1st, 2022. As a member of the extended executive board of Evonik Industries AG with general power of attorney, Dr Rettig is responsible for driving the company’s growth plan in Asia and making sure that Evonik is present on the ground with modern production and a strong research and development footprint.
With extensive experience in the international chemical markets and deep knowledge about the chemical industry in Asia, Dr Rettig has played a pivotal role in realizing several strategic investments in the region.
Dr Rettig, who holds a doctorate in chemistry, began his career in Hüls AG, one of Evonik’s predecessor companies in 1987. He worked in South Africa and Japan respectively to oversee business strategies and operations for the company. In 2003, he returned to Germany as the President of the former Degussa Care Specialties Business Unit and continued with various executive roles. In 2015, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Management Evonik Resource Efficiency GmbH, before moving to his role in 2020 as the President of the Smart Materials division of Evonik.
Ms Vimala Arumugam
BASF South East Asia Pte. Ltd &
BASF (Malaysia) Sdn. Bhd.
Vimala Arumugam was born in 1967 in Malaysia. She joined BASF in 1998 and has been in various positions in Malaysia and Hong Kong. Vimala studied business at Universiti Utara Malaysia and is an alumnus of Kellog’s Business School, Northwestern University and Ross Business School of Michigan.
Mr Dro Tan
Matex International Ltd
As the group’s Executive Director, Dro is responsible for Matex’s business projects that cater to the branding of the company, product innovation and development. He helps out with the design, expansion and overseeing of the group’s buildings and infrastructures. He is actively involved in the group’s diversification projects that aim to complement the group’s existing core businesses. He is an associate EXCO member of the Singapore Fashion Council. SFC is committed to helping the Singapore textile and fashion industry and its members globalize.
Prior to this, he has worked with various architectural firms in Seoul, Korea and Singapore. Mr Tan graduated with a Masters in Architecture and a Minor in Technopreneurship from the National University of Singapore in 2008; his research thesis focused on the global study and development of sustainable suburban and rural communities.
Over the years Matex has been repeatedly recognised as a homegrown global leader in the material specialty chemical space as a company focused on clean colour chemistry. Matex was a past recipient of the GCNS 2019 Singapore Apex Corporate Sustainability Awards under Sustainable Solutions Award and more recently in 2022 SFIC Singapore Furniture Industry Council, Sustainability Leaders Recognition Initiative.
Waste / Energy
Mr Chia Kim Huat
SME Committee Member, SBF
Regional Head, Corporate & Transactional Group, Rajah & Tann LLP
Chia Kim Huat has extensive experience in commercial transactions, financing and dispute resolution in the Asia Pacific region. He is widely acclaimed by clients for his legal acumen, business insight and deep knowledge of the region, and has been listed in numerous legal publications as an “excellent lawyer”, “elite lawyer”, “best lawyer” and “leading lawyer”.
Mr Sundar Chidambaram
Vice President, Strategy and Business Development
Siemens Energy Pte Ltd
Sundar currently oversees strategy and business development of Siemens Energy in Asia Pacific.
Sundar is responsible for evaluating market potential across different business areas, including power generation, industrial applications, transmission, and new energy business (Hydrogen, battery storage, carbon capture and renewables). He is also actively developing partnership opportunities to increase footprint and cater to increasing energy demand in the Asia Pacific.
His portfolio also includes government affairs and customer excellence, where he is in charge of understanding energy plans and policies across Asia as well as build a customer excellence network to cater to the energy needs of Asian countries.
Sundar holds a Doctorate in Business Adminsitration from the University of Manchester and a Master of Science from the University of Southern California.
Ms Claire Langrée Saf
Head of Investor Relations and Sustainability
Claire is a Member of the Group Executive Team of WABIO where she heads Investor Relations and Sustainability globally. WABIO is the world’s leader in high-tech biogas technology and large-scale biogas plants, with over 30 years of biotechnology research. Claire re-entered the corporate world by joining an independent, purposeful and impactful renewable energy company, where she brought two decades of experience in large business transformations as a member of the executive team for two Forbes 500 banking and insurance organisations.
Claire’s sustainability career initially brought her to her passion for soil regeneration and nature-based solutions. Claire specialises in energy, decarbonisation and soil regeneration. All three areas are the focus of her work since 2014 through a sustainability advisory company she founded several years ago, and much pro-bono work with the experts on the ground.
In addition to being passionate about classical music piano playing and a mother of two girls, Claire consciously supports independent wine growers and cooperatives whose focus is on sustainable farming & production in the Champagne area.
Claire holds an M.A in Marketing and Economics from the Paris Sorbonne University and obtained her Corporate Finance training from the London Business School. Her sustainability academia comes from the University of Cambridge Sustainability Institute of Sustainability Leadership (CISL) in Sustainability Management and Sustainable Finance, as well as from the IMD in Lausanne on Sustainability Strategies.
Ms Dora Branyan
Director, Sustainability and External Relations | Singapore
Marquis Energy Global
Dora Branyan graduated from the United States Naval Academy and served as an officer onboard surface warships. Following her military service, she began an extensive 13-year career in the oil and gas industry in various project management roles for major capital upstream projects across the globe.
Aligned with her passion for energy and a sustainable future, Dora is responsible for the long-term development and sustainability of Marquis Energy Global while building an external network. She also enjoys running and outdoor adventures with her family.
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Please follow these simple steps for easy registration to our paid events.
Step 1: Register below by choosing which breakout room you want to attend:
o Room 1
- Consumer Markets
o Room 2
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Kindly note that there are limited seats available, registration is binding and payment is non-refundable. The organisers reserve the right to change the programme content without giving prior notification or any reasons thereof.