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Post-pandemic recovery: Towards a more sustainable future?

If there is one thing 2020 made clear, it is that everything – from studying and working to shopping and socialising – can be done differently. Not just from a distance via digital platforms, but in a more sustainable and responsible manner. But who will take the lead in driving this movement?

For 54% of Singaporeans, this responsibility falls solely on the shoulders of the government, while 23% believe large corporations and businesses have to share this burden. These findings are very much aligned with who Singaporeans feel are currently making the most efforts: 52% feel the government is leading the way, followed by large corporations (18%). At 16%, NGOs and community groups are seen as doing nearly as much as companies. 

When asked what large businesses should prioritise in 2021, the top five answers revolve around improving working conditions, closely followed by more environmentally responsible business practices.

In terms of individual behaviours, Singaporeans believe in the sustainability cause – 57% say they take steps to lower their carbon footprint and 31% say they do not but would like to.

What would such steps look like? They would primarily entail shifting the way energy and food are consumed on a day-to-day basis. Turning off air conditioning when not in a room tops the list of actions Singaporeans feel have a positive impact on the environment (60%), followed by buying only unpackaged food (54%) and recycling comprehensively (52%).

The findings reveal that sustainability will become a key differentiator for governments’ and businesses’ post-pandemic agendas. Indeed, Singaporeans are not necessarily expecting to go back to the way things were; if anything, they hope to move towards a more sustainable and responsible economic growth model.