Firms should be responsible for their impact on the environment: Dr Balakrishnan

Alice Chia Channel NewsAsia 3 Sep 14;

SINGAPORE: Companies need to account for unintended consequences to the environment as a result of their business decisions. Environment and Water Resources Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan made this point at the second annual Global Green Economic Forum on Wednesday (Sep 3).

More than 300 delegates - including environmentalists and policy makers - attended the event, for discussions on building a sustainable future.

Dr Balakrishnan said it is important that companies be responsible for their impact on the environment, especially following the recent haze episodes.

"There is nothing wrong with planting palm oil. But if the companies that plant palm oil do not have to pay for the externalities of polluting the air because they have burnt the forest in order to plant the palm oil, and they have privatised the gains and socialised the external costs, that is not sound economics, that is not sustainable development," he said.

“We recently passed legislation, not as a reflex fit of anger, but because we are trying to put this principle that you have to account for externalities."

- CNA/ms