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Singapore Co-operative Federation (SNCF) Co-op Movement Night 2023

Speech by Mr Alvin Tan, Minister of State for Culture, Community and Youth & Trade and Industry at the Co-operative Movement Night 2023

Mr Tng Ah Yiam, Chairman of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation,
Mr Ang Hin Kee, CEO of the Singapore National Co-operative Federation,
Professor Ang Hak Seng, Director of Centre of Excellence for Social Good, Singapore University of Social Sciences,
Associate Professor Allan Chia, Assistant Provost (External Relations & CET) and Dean (School of Business), Singapore University of Social Sciences  
Co-operative Leaders,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening. Great to be here.
1.     The reason that we are here today is to honour you and the work that you are doing within your co-ops, making them as sustainable as possible. 
2.     I’ve been part of various Forward Singapore conversations organised by our co-op sector. These include the:

a. Annual Co-operative Leaders' Conference held last year; and

b. Exercise with youth co-operators by NTU Students' Co-op this year. It is important to see many of our youths taking on responsibilities in our co-ops.

3.     We tried cricket protein bars and turned our waste into drums at Beat-abox Green Drumming booth. These are examples of what we can achieve when we work together towards a more sustainable future.

Sustainability efforts in the Co-op Sector

4.     There are many ways that co-ops can promote sustainability. One way that co-ops do this is through education.  

a. NTUC First Campus Co-op’s (NFC) curriculum encourages children to participate in national gardening programmes by National Parks Board. It also partners NFC’s Outdoor School Singapore to take children on adventure trips to various parks and nature reserves in Singapore. These inculcate a love for nature from a young age so they can better steward our world.   

5.     Food sustainability is another area of concern, as our global population grows.   

a. Our planet’s resources are finite. How we produce, distribute, and consume food deeply impact our ecology.
b. It is great to see the Employment for Persons with Intellectual Disabilities Co-op launch the Mushroom Buddies. This promotes local food production by growing, harvesting and selling organic and nutrient-rich mushrooms.
c. E4PID aims to promote a caring community for members, which also contributes to our "30 by 30" vision – to sustainably produce 30 per cent of our nutritional needs by 2030. E4PID now aims to reduce carbon footprint by installing solar panels to power their office and mushroom farms.  Well done!

6.     Our co-ops can also impact lives while fostering sustainable practices in our communities.
In January, our women co-operators came together to help our taxi and private hire drivers stay healthy while reducing waste. In support of Healthier SG, they worked with unions and associations, and donated more than 1,000 new and unused water tumblers to encourage taxi and private hire drivers to stay hydrated and drink healthier drinks while on the job.

Sustainability Grant

7.     I hope these sustainability efforts by fellow co-ops inspire us!  
8.     To support you in your efforts, I’m glad to introduce a new initiative – the Central Co-operative Fund (CCF), a trust fund under the purview of MCCY, where we will set aside $500,000 as the CCF Sustainability Grant to:

a. Encourage co-ops to learn about sustainability and how to contribute to our Singapore Green Plan;

b. Recognise adopters of sustainability practices and environmentally friendly actions; and

c. Further co-ops’ sustainable efforts with measurable outcomes.

9.     SNCF will share more details after this event. 

MOU signing

10.     I’m also happy to witness the MOU signing between SNCF and the Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) tonight. 

11.    This MOU supports co-ops in embracing Environment, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG), through exchanges between industry and academia.

12.     Professor Ang Hak Seng will lead this. He is no stranger to our co-op sector.  

13.    Through the programme, co-operators will raise their professional standards in ESG. It will also strengthen confidence and support amongst your stakeholders in co-operators’ initiatives.


14.     We can all play a role as co-operators to make an impact, as you already have done. 

15.    I highly recommend the “Now Is Not the Time” Exhibition. It showcases Mr Lee Kuan Yew’s vision, not just as a chief gardener, chief sustainability advocate, but also an incredible vision of what a future Singapore can be - modern, sustainable and green. And I think the co-ops can play an important role to ensure the country can prosper, be green and sustainable for years to come.

16.     Thank you for having me here and letting me play a part in your journey to secure a more sustainable future for all of us. 

Last updated on 26 September 2023