Green Mark scheme to now recognise firms which encourage healthier living for employees

Aw Cheng Wei Straits Times 7 Sep 18;

SINGAPORE - Firms that design green offices and encourage their employees to quit smoking, exercise more and eat healthily will be recognised under a new government scheme.

Called the Green Mark for Healthier Workplaces, the scheme is an expansion of an eponymous benchmarking programme that the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) currently has to acknowledge energy-saving buildings.

The regulator is working with the Health Promotion Board (HPB) on this latest addition.

The scheme was announced by Mr Zaqy Mohamad, Minister of State for National Development and Manpower, on Friday (Sept 7) at an industry event that more than 300 business leaders attended.

Mr Zaqy said that office designs, such as ventilation and lighting systems, have an impact on energy use and their occupants' health and well-being.

So "it makes sense to dovetail the two objectives, to create environmentally friendly and healthy office spaces... This was the impetus behind this new scheme", he added.

Ten companies took part in the four-month pilot programme that started in May (2018), and six were certified last month.

The rest are working on their certification, according to a BCA statement.

Facility Link, a firm which builds offices, hosts health screenings and workout sessions such as zumba classes for its 140 employees. On Fridays, employees who smoke are encouraged not to light up.

The firm also recycles leftover materials from its renovation processes to use as furniture and decor.

Both the BCA and the HPB have incentive schemes to help more small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) follow Facility Link's example, said Mr Zaqy.

For example, the BCA will co-fund SMEs up to $40,000 for the firms to be certified under this new scheme, as part of its current Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings and Premises.

Similarly, the HPB has the SME Health+ and Workplace Alliance for Health schemes.

At the same event, Mr Zaqy also revealed results of a two-year pilot programme that aims to get building occupants to save energy.

Currently, six organisations are participating in the pilot that started in September last year (2017). "Several have already achieved significant energy savings," Mr Zaqy said.

For example, Swissotel Merchant Court in Clarke Quay saved more than 100 MW-hours after adopting energy-saving measures.

Now, the laundry department operates machines at full load, instead of half load as it used to. Employees have also been encouraged to use the stairs.

Mr Zaqy said that the BCA will work with the Singapore Green Building Council to develop standardised toolkits for firms which want similar results.

He added: "We wish to see more following in their paths, and will do our part to support."

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Malaysia: Villager trampled to death by wild elephant in Kedah

g.c. tan The Star 7 Sep 18;

ALOR SETAR: A wild elephant is believed to have trampled a villager to death near a forest reserve in Padang Sanai near here on Friday afternoon (Sept 7).

The incident occurred at about 4pm but the exact location is still unconfirmed.

The body of the man, whose ethnicity is unknown, was found by his relatives who rushed him to Kuala Nerang Hospital, some 50km from Alor Setar, where he was pronounced dead.

His family members lodged a police report at the Padang Terap district police headquarters.

It is believed that human encroachment into the forest reserve by illegal plantation had provoked the elephants roaming within.

A police source confirmed the report.

Wild jumbos spotted where man was trampled to death
g.c. tan The Star 9 Sep 18;

ALOR SETAR: At least three wild elephants were seen roaming the forest reserve in Padang Sanai, where a rubber tapper was trampled to death.

However, only one animal was involved in the death of Mat Juhid Osman (pic), 49, who died at the scene about 50km from here.

The victim’s brother Husin Osman, 53, they were about leave their fruit orchard when the elephant suddenly dashed out and attacked them.

“I managed to hide behind a tree, but my brother was a little late and was trampled by the elephant, the size of a Pajero four-wheel drive.

He said the incident happened at about 6.30pm on Friday, when he and his brother were tending to fruit trees in their orchard, about 5km from their house in Kampung Ulu, Padang Sanai.

Husin said they had planted some fruit tree saplings earlier in the morning and left for Friday prayers before returning to the orchard at about 3pm.

He said he had lodged numerous reports in the past about wild elephants in the area with the state Wildlife Depart­ment.

“But the officers merely came to see and left. Now, I have lost my brother,” he said.

Padang Terap district police chief Deputy Supt Noh Idris said the hospital alerted the police after the brother of the deceased sent him to the Kuala Nerang Hospital where he was pronounced dead upon arrival.

“The deceased sustained head injuries and fractured one of his hand.

“His body will be sent to the Sultanah Bahiyah Hospital in Alor Setar for post-mortem,” he said.

There have been wild elephant sightings at the Padang Sanai forest reserve near Ahning Dam in the Padang Terap district recently.

Villagers had lodged reports with the Wildlife Department.

It is believed that human encroachment could have provoked the elephants there.

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Indonesia: Public participation can prevent peatland fires - Bappenas

Antara 8 Sep 18;

Pontianak, W. Kalimantan (ANTARA News) - The head of the National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas), Bambang Brodjonegoro, said public participation has played a key role in preventing peatland fires and increasing greenhouse gas emissions.

"Firstly, we have to educate people on how to utilize peatlands and reduce the risk of land fires," Brodjonegoro said at the closing of the kick-off meeting and expose of ICCTF program here on Friday.

The National Development Planning Minister applauded the cooperation of the Indonesian Climate Change Trust Fund (ICCTF) and the Tanjungpura University, on the public-based peatland management and protection program in West Kalimantan.

"This program would encourage public participation and economic activities," he added.

The government, he said, has continued efforts to stop land and forest fires, and seek the root of the problem.

"Peatlands often become the source of fires, maybe because of the lack of public awareness that burning the land could spark fire not only in the area, but could spread to other locations in the peatland area as well," he said.

Hence, public education is important to encourage people to utilize the peatlands for their livelihoods.

He expressed hope that the program in West Kalimantan could be imitated by other regions.

The program involved 11 villages in the province namely Simpang Kasturi, Mandor, Kayu Ara, Sum Sum, Kayu Tanam, Sungai Segak, Retok, Kubu Padi, Peniti Besar, Peniti Dalam I, Peniti Dalam II.

Reporting by Desi Purnamawati
Editing by Sri Hariyati

Editor: Andi Abdussalam

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