29 Mar We Are Hiring – Research Project Manager in Singapore (Application Period Closed)

Note: The application period for this role has closed. We will be in touch with shortlisted candidates.

Placement Title: Research Project Manager
Location: Singapore
Start & End Date: 1st May 2018 onwards
Time Requirement: Full Time (5 days a week)

About the Role:

Gone Adventurin is working on several pioneering, strategic projects in Asia to tackle the serious environmental challenges posed by post-consumer waste in the areas of packaging, particularly plastics, and food.

Why Asia? Because Asia is the biggest contributor to post-consumer waste mismanagement in the world. Over 80% of plastics entering the oceans comes from Asia with just 5 countries responsible for most of this pollution. 52% of fruits and vegetables in Asia are wasted, with the majority of this food loss happening at farm, post-harvest and processing stages even before it reaches stores, supermarkets or consumers.

If you are inspired to tackle the complex challenges of plastic entering the oceans, making packaging circular and impacting the huge amounts of food waste generated across supply chains here in Asia then consider joining our team. Gone Adventurin is a sustainability consultancy and project implementation partner on a mission to tackle post-consumer waste in Asia. Our vision is to create a world without waste.

We are looking for an experienced Research Project Manager with strong analytical, strategic thinking and relationship skills. Ideally your background includes working in management or environmental consulting or in a research, strategy or data analytics role in business, government agencies or NGOs.

This role involves working on packaging and food waste projects for prominent clients from leading chemicals, packaging, consumer goods and retail industries as well as city and national government agencies across Southeast Asia and India. The focus of the role will be to: create pioneering science based research; provide key insights, strategic recommendations and measurable outcomes; and implement groundbreaking strategies to significantly drive circular economy in Asia.

Working with us provides the opportunity to work in a small, mindfully growing, Singapore-headquartered company dedicated to finding business-driven solutions to tackle waste challenges in Asia. We are dedicated, diverse team of 5 nationalities with multi-faceted backgrounds in packaging science, environmental science, engineering, economics, policy and finance. While primarily based in Singapore, the role involves local travel within the Asia region with an opportunity to meet and build relationships with a wide range of local stakeholders from industry, government and NGOs.


○ 3+ years of experience in management or environmental consulting or in a research, strategy or data analytics role in business, government agencies or NGOs

○ Bachelor’s degree in Physical Sciences (e.g. Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry), Engineering, Environment, Statistics, Business, Accounting or Finance

○ Advanced problem-solving, analytical skills, evidenced research capabilities (e.g. past research or data analysis reports which shows capabilities in these areas) and experience in primary and secondary data collection

○ Strong communication and interpersonal skills to work with various clients and stakeholders

○ The right attitude and skills to work with and manage relationships with people of all backgrounds, from C-Level and senior management of multinationals to recycling workers

○ Capable and comfortable traveling throughout Asia to conduct research and meet with stakeholders

○ Evidenced passion and deep-seated aspiration to tackle environmental challenges

○ Self motivated and highly organized individual able to work in a dynamic and deliverables-oriented work environment

○ Excellent referrals from at least 2 previous clients or past employers

○ Proficiency in Microsoft Office (Word, Excel)

○ Strong English skills – verbal and written

○ Based in Singapore and committed to be based in Singapore for a minimum of 2 years


○ Experience in leading teams to successfully deliver on projects within timelines

○ Past experience in plastics, waste management or recycling industries. If you do not have waste management experience and/or circular economy understanding we require you to take 1-2 short online courses before starting on the role

○ Proficiency in using Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Slides

How to Apply:

To apply please send to all of the below:

1. Your CV

2. Cover letter and

3. Past reports that you have worked on which shows your capabilities in research and data analysis

Note for Applicants:

○ We usually receive a number of applicants for our open positions so we’ll only be able to respond to applicants who meet our requirements

○ Applicants who meet our requirements for this role can expect a 3-step interview process

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EU Event

26 Oct Towards a Plastic-Free Oceans Conference

Without a doubt, plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental issues of our times. While an overwhelming amount of 8 million tonnes of plastics keeps on entering the oceans each year, the silver lining is that awareness is on the rise.

“There will be more plastics than fish in the ocean by 2050” is an oft-quoted research finding of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and is one of the several research findings in the burgeoning field of ocean plastics that has helped galvanize a global movement eager to work on solutions to tackle the problem.

Building on this global momentum, the European Union Delegation to Singapore and the Embassy of the Netherlands in Singapore organised a half-day conference on Wednesday 25th of October titled ‘Towards a plastic-free ocean: What role for policy makers, civil society and business?’. During the conference, businesses, policy makers, non-government organisations and civil society were brought together to act on improving the ocean environment and promote the transition to a circular economy.

In her remarks H.E. Barbara Plinkert, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Singapore stated, “This conference is highly pertinent and highly timely. It comes after the recently concluded Our Oceans conference in Malta where the topic of plastic waste in oceans figured prominently and was recognised as a global problem.“
Clip #70H.E. Barbara Plinkert, Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union to Singapore.

The attendees showed a great deal of empathy towards the topic. “We take from the oceans as if it is an endless resource and we dump in the oceans as if it was a bottomless pit”, said H.E. Margriet Vonno, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Singapore and Brunei during her openings remarks, echoing the words of Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission. José María Figueres, former President of the Republic of Costa Rica and co-chair of the Global Ocean Commission, added “If we could go back in time and rename our planet, we should call it “Ocean” instead of “Earth”, as the oceans cover 70% of our planet and life outside of the ocean heavily depends on good health inside of the ocean. Therefore, the oceans are a responsibility of everyone.”

2H.E. Margriet Vonno, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Singapore and Brunei.

Throughout the morning, representatives and attendees shared insights, approaches and solutions that were encouraging and made it possible to believe that we can tackle this problem urgently to move towards a plastic free ocean.

Here are the 5 solutions coming from the conference on the different areas of government, business, society, universities and funding:

1. Government – Policy & Enforcement Needed to achieve a Plastic Free Ocean

A bill imposing measures on manufacturers to take back their post-consumer packaging in Philippines, a complete ban on plastic bags in Rwanda, a ban on landfills and free plastic bags in Europe; these were some of the existing or proposed legislations mentioned during the conference. There was also an acknowledgement of the fact that while creation of good policies is very important, strict enforcement of these policies in several Southeast Asian countries is equally critical and remains a challenge.

Europe’s ban on landfilling is a successful example of this, according to Karl Falkenberg, former Director General for the Environment of the European Commission. “A ban on landfill is not penalising economic success, it is contributing to it. Converting from a linear economy to a circular economy offers a range of opportunities. In the EU alone, the waste management and recycling industry employs 2 million people and many of those people are in qualified positions.” said Karl.

The policy approach of Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR) was brought up multiple times during the conference. With EPR, producers are given a responsibility for funding or managing the recycling, treatment or responsible disposal of their products in the post-consumption stage.

It was observed that while it was common for local Southeast Asian entities of companies to think that EPR affects the business negatively, other companies focus on the benefits. “As an industry, we need to embrace EPR”, Roelof Westerbeek, President Amcor Flexibles Asia Pacific, stated. “EPR is not a risk or a threat, it is a social responsibility that we have and an incredible opportunity to add value to society as a company. Contributing to the process of creating it will increase the success and effectiveness of EPR”.

Karl Falkenberg said he had witnessed the same phenomenon in Europe over the last two decades where corporates were worried when calculating the negative effect the European EPR systems would have on their business. In hindsight, more than 20 year later, he concludes that the calculations used were widely exaggerated and by following EPR systems a wave of innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of waste management and recycling was created, leading to a flourishing industry with 2 million job opportunities and EU-wide average recycling rate of 65% for all household and industrial packaging. The ambitious Circular Economy Package recently adopted by the European Commission now has a target of 75% recycling rates for all packaging materials by 2030.

Roelof Westerbeek - Towards a Plastic Free OceanParticipants at the conference included representatives from businesses, policy makers, non-government organisations and civil society.

One of the other points raised during a panel was that the same businesses that are part of following EU EPR legislations are often found to be lobbying against it in Southeast Asia. On this point Ian Hayes, Global Packaging Development Director for GSK noted that businesses in EU were also initially unsupportive of EPR legislation, but once it was enforced business knew they had to go on with the program and made it work.

Up-to-date and consistent data on production and usage of plastics across various industries and in post-consumer use will be critical to ensure that any EPR legislations are effective in tackling the issue of plastic waste mismanagement.

In 2018 Singapore takes on the the role of Chair of ASEAN and EU coordinator for ASEAN. This offers a big opportunity for Singapore to influence regional-level legislations to tackle ocean plastics, as ocean plastics does not respect boundaries and this issue remains a regional, if not a global challenge.

2. Business – Solid Waste Management Offers Economic Growth Opportunities

On the sidelines of the conference, several businesses endorsed the need for a good legislative framework like EPR, provided that it is well-designed and implemented. Companies also saw the need to de-risk themselves from negative externalities posed by ocean plastics.

China recently announced that it will no longer accept various categories of waste imports by the end of 2017. A shutdown of borders might seem like a reason to panic, however the complete opposite has happened in European countries. Karl Falkenberg said, “Waste management and recycling business are delighted. These companies have been lobbying for an export ban on waste for years, and now their biggest competitor enables this instead. This is a fantastic opportunity for European recyclers.”

In Singapore, collection of municipal solid waste was done by National Environment Agency (NEA) itself until the 1990s and has since then been done the private sector. Ananda Ram Bhaskar, Director-General of Environmental Protection at NEA, explained that collection services were privatised as Singapore believed the private sector would do it better. He also noted that in Singapore household waste collection fees are included in the utilities bill together with electricity, water and gas. This means non-payment of waste collection fees by a household will lead to a cut-off of all utilities services.

Since waste collection across large swathes of several Southeast Asian cities is non-existent, a profitable, privatised model of waste collection is a system that other countries in the region could consider following. Such a system also offers opportunities to formalise and up-skill the waste management industry that still remains largely dominated by the informal sector, thus leading to better livelihoods and health outcomes for millions of people in the industry.

Amy Khor - towards a Plastic Free OceanDr. Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources & Ministry of Health was the Guest of Honour for the Conference and delivered the keynote speech.

3. Society – Shift in Mindset from Waste to Materials

The conference also indicated the consensus that rather than talking about post-consumer plastics as waste, we should collectively start talking about it as materials. Laura Allen, co-founder of Gone Adventurin, stated that USD 80 – 120 billion of business value is lost due to the current linear economy model of managing plastic packaging.

Kees Slingerland, Business Director of the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions, added that a fee on plastic bag usage in retail stores can help bring the issue of excessive plastic use and wastage into people’s consciousness.

Jeroen van de Waal, CEO & Founder of OrcaScuba, pointed out that many of us adults have kids. While adults sometimes end up working in silos, kids can produce the “candy-store effect” where they can help us see different perspectives. Engaging kids in a positive way is key to making a difference. “Nowadays, there are many environmental documentaries available online that succeed in pointing out the overwhelming impact of environmental issues. But we must ensure that our children don’t get demotivated by seeing all of this or think of the planet as a lost case.” Educating the younger generation through first-hand experiences of the beauty of our ocean and harmful effects of ocean pollution can be a potent tool in driving greater collaboration.

This point was well-highlighted at the conference, where the emcees were two high school students from Dulwich College and St. Joseph’s Institution in Singapore. The students helped to bring home the point that outcomes of this conference were also about the future generations.

4. Universities & Institutes – Research Needed to Drive Circularity of Plastics

Professor William Chen Wei Ning, Director of the Food Science & Technology Programme at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore shared his experiences on driving circularity in the area food that is currently being wasted. One of the of the new and pioneering technological processes developed by his team of NTU researchers is to turn spent beer grains into a economically valuable liquid used to grow yeast instead of being used as low-value compost or animal feed. One of the other outputs of this process is cellulose which is turned into feedstock for bio-plastics.

1Professor William Chen Wei Ning, Director of the Food Science & Technology Programme at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore.

Considering many streams of plastics such as PET bottles or diapers can last for as long as 450 years, there remains a lot of scope to bring similar circular thinking into plastics recycling technologies or more recyclable plastics. The need for recyclable packaging, better design and material choice to make sure that packaging can be circular was touched upon during one of the panels.

However, creating recyclable plastics does not necessarily lead to immediate adoption by the industry. Roelof Westerbeek shared his company had developed a new type of mono-material recyclable flexible packaging but it was rejected by consumer goods companies as it was deemed to be more expensive than multi-material flexible packaging which is currently not recyclable.

On a panel question on bioplastics and its feasibility as a solution for the ocean plastics challenge, Karl Falkenberg noted that bioplastics need the right conditions such as the right temperature to fully biodegrade and break down. Jacqueline McGlade, the UN’s top environmental scientist noted in a 2016 report that biodegradable plastics such as bioplastic offer a ‘false solution’ for the ocean waste problem.

5. Funding – Addressing the Huge Gap in Asean

Ian Hayes brought up a point from the Global Waste Management Outlook 2015 report by UNEP and the International Solid Waste Association that 1% allocation of a country’s Gross National Income (GNI) is considered best practice to achieve 95% collection rates or higher so that the current linear economy models of solid waste management. “However”, he added “most developing countries in Southeast Asia only spend 0.01% to 0.1% of GNI on their solid waste management efforts.”

This indicated the huge funding gap that is preventing the creation of infrastructure for municipal waste collection, behaviour change campaigns to increase segregation rates and development of alternatives to landfilling or open dumping of plastics, especially multi-material flexible plastics (such as sachets) which are considered to be of low-value by the recycling industry.

With plastics now beginning to enter the food chain through our oceans, it becomes even more pertinent to continue building the momentum towards a plastic free oceans from a global and regional health security point of view.

We at Gone Adventurin are honoured and proud to have been invited by the European Delegation to Singapore and the Embassy of the Netherlands to be a part of organising one of Singapore’s first regional dialogues on the issue of marine plastics together with the Singapore International Chamber of Commerce and the European Chamber of Commerce Singapore.

We look forward to driving the urgently-needed positive and constructive outcomes from this conference to drive change towards a plastic free ocean.

our-ocean_400x356_en_18976_13This conference was held on the back of the recently concluded Our Oceans 2017 conference in Malta hosted by the European Union.

Watch the summary video from the conference here:

This article was written by Emilie Rost Van Tonningen and Ashwin Subramaniam.

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13 Jan Ever dreamt about becoming a NatGeo Explorer?

Everyone has dreamt about becoming an adventurer once in their lives.

It is fascinating to see the influence that the simple title ‘National Geographic’ has on people. It immediately takes your imagination on an epic adventure. NatGeo is today, the number 1 brand on instagram. That means that not only are they helping to solve the most pressing environmental and social issues, but they also managed to gather a huge and diverse number of people worldwide along with the same objective: to care about our planet

Credit: Thomas P. Peschak/

And let’s face it, who has never dreamt about becoming a NatGeo explorer? Travelling to remote and untouched places to capture beautiful images and stories in order to save the planet? Best job in the world.

But must a dream… stay a dream?

What if you could meet with these explorers to get inspired by their stories?

What if you could become yourself an explorer?

Well. This is what National Geographic Live brings to town through its physical events. National Geographic Live is the live events division of the National Geographic Society, featuring live videos, concerts, films, and dynamic presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists and photographers — covering a wide range of topics including exploration and adventure, wildlife and habitat conservation, natural phenomena and relevant issues such as climate change. Proceeds from speaker series ticket sales help fund future National Geographic initiatives in field research, exploration and education. In the most recent year, National Geographic has also started to cover more thought provoking and contemporary topics such as LGBT, diversity or sex work. In the January 2017 magazine issue, National Geographic’s cover features Avery Jackson, a 9-year old transgender.

“Thought-provoking presentations by today’s leading explorers, scientists, and photographers.” – National Geographic Live new moto.

Explorers coming to Singapore

It has been 3 years since we first brought the National Geographic Live series to Asia to share about their assignments and discoveries. This year, we bring world renowned underwater photographer and marine biologist, Thomas Peschak, and submarine pilot and Young National Geographic Explorer, Erika Bergman.

Thomas Peschak

A National Geographic magazine contributing photographer and Director of Conservation for the Save our Seas Foundation, Peschek decided to become an environmental journalist when he realised that pictures are more convincing that statistics when it comes to conservation. He has been named by Outdoor Photography magazine as one of the 40 most influential nature/environmental photographers in the world.
Credit: Thomas P. Peschak/

Credit: Thomas P. Peschak/ Save our Seas Foundation

Credit: Thomas P. Peschak/ Save our Seas Foundation

Peschak’s adventures have brought to photograph humpback whales off the coast of Canada and even great white sharks in South Africa. Thomas believe sharks aren’t a reason to get out of the water. They’re a reason to get in. In fact, he has swum among hundreds of one-ton manta rays in the Maldives and even been up close and personal with the massive whale sharks in the Arabian Sea!

Credit: Thomas P. Peschak/

If your interest has been piqued, you should definitely check out Thomas Peschak’s talk at the iconic Esplanade Concert Hall on Sunday January 22nd, 3pm.

Erika Bergman

Bergman is a Young National Geographic Explorer and submarine pilot that loves all things aquatic. She studied chemical oceanography at the University of Washington and worked as a diesel engineer on the tall ship S/V Lady Washington. She has even worked as a submersible pilot for exploration, research and filmmaking.

Young Explorers 2015 Headshots

Young Explorers 2015 Headshots

Erika filming Curasub_©Barry Brown

Today, she is is the editor of, which supports and curates citizen exploration and also a co-founder of Global Engineering and Exploration Counselors that provides engineering camps to girls around the globe. Her Girls Underwater Robot Camps is a STEM initiative to get more women into Engineering and Exploration, and has made an impact across the United states and the Arctic, connecting girls around the world, and empowering them to run underwater expeditions.

Future Sub Pilots tour Antipodes_©OceanGate, Inc

Future Sub Pilots tour Antipodes_©OceanGate, Inc

In her talks at the Nanyang Technological University, Erika will be telling stories about underwater exploration as a submarine pilot, share her many projects and inspire the generation of National Geographic explorers.

In all,

Thomas Peschak and Erika Bergman, the explorers who will come to Singapore in January 2017, are gathered around the same fight: ocean conservation. As a social enterprise willing to inspire big brands to do good through their work, we have always felt aligned with National Geographic because like us, they use both storytelling and experiential trips to raise awareness around the most pressing environmental and social issues.

Our role in National Geographic Live Singapore has been to secure the best and most relevant partners for collaborating with NatGeo on the ground such as Nanyang Technological University that is certainly the one of the most prestigious Universities in Singapore.

While you run to get your tickets to National Geographic Live here, dont forget to read our article around oceans including our exclusive interview with the first female underwater explorer Sylvia Earle.

We hope to continue the Nat Geo Live partnership for inspiring generations of Asian to become explorers. So do stay tuned for upcoming talks by international photographers, scientists, and explorers!

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16 Dec Why it Pays to Find Your Company’s Global Purpose



Co-authored with Paula Miquelis, Senior Project Manager & Laura Allen, Founder at Gone Adventurin. 

There is a human being at the very end of every company’s supply chain. And the people who need a company’s services, use its products, or are on its payroll rely on one planet.

And here is something most can agree on: Our planet is suffering. The list of societal and environmental problems seems endless. Hunger, poverty, inequality, war, water scarcity, climate change, and so on.

Within these wicked problems may lie a company’s most compelling and profitable driver: A global purpose to save the world.

The world’s companies will play a vital role in solving these complex problems for generations to come. The unique ability for companies to reach billions of people and exert tremendous spending power positions them to be key players in reversing destructive trends and restoring our planet.

And for businesses, the economic stakes are high.

Lars Rebien Sørensen, President & CEO Novo Nordisk, warns, “In the long term, social and environmental issues become financial issues.”

Embracing a compelling global purpose now is good business strategy.

And while it may be an inherent moral responsibility of companies to serve the greater good for the long-term benefit of our planet, the ability for companies to awaken and become guided by a sense of global purpose can transform how companies operate and perform today.

Embracing a global purpose pays.


What is purpose?

Purpose is defined as “…the reason for which something is done or created.”

Your company’s purpose is not a mission statement, it is its guiding reason for existence on the planet. And a reason for existence doesn’t fade with time or change with market conditions.

Purpose, when defined as a “reason for existence on the planet,” is much more than a buzzword – it taps into people’s psychological desire to make the world better and permeates every behavior and thought in a company. A good purpose is worth committing to and an authentic calling that inspires service to the greater good.

A company’s purpose has to be more important than the company itself.

And when companies have a guiding global purpose that seeks to better society and the world beyond their financial returns, success follows.


Because a global purpose drives the people who ultimately drive the profit.


Why a Global Purpose Drives Profit

Having a global purpose is good business. Research from Jim Collins in Built to Last, found that companies with a higher purpose outperform the market by an average of six-to-one and experience growth rates three times that of their competitors.

The economic power of a higher purpose can be found when studying a company like Unilever. Unilever’s brands with a clear and communicated purpose toward the societal good – like Comfort, Dove, and Ben & Jerry’s – are growing faster than the rest of the portfolio.

Unilever CEO Paul Polman said, “Our sustainable living brands are growing 30% faster than the rest of our business and delivered nearly half our total growth in 2015, our latest figures show.”


To read more, go to:

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13 Dec What does COP22 mean for business in Singapore and Asia?

How COP 21 affected the world



In November last year, over 195 countries came together at COP 21 and created an agreement to commit to keep temperature rise below 2 degrees. And in October this year we saw the ‘ratification’ of that agreement – after countries accounting for over 55% of global greenhouse-gas emissions submitted legal instruments to ratify their performance. Which brings us to now – COP22.

The world came together in Marrakech in Morocco to start concrete actions to achieve the global targets for greenhouse-gas limits. Singapore, for example, has ratified this agreement and has formally pledged to reduce its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030.

And it’s not just governments that are running the scene, business has showed up to the party. Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, very aptly puts into words why businesses have a huge part to play. “Business has a historic opportunity and responsibility to lead the world down to a more just, rich and sustainable path. We cannot choose between economic growth and sustainability – we must have both,” he said.


This is a huge opportunity for businesses in Singapore, as the world gears towards combatting climate change. Companies that integrate sustainability into the core of their business will be pioneers in this new era, attracting the best brains and talent.

On the flip side, late adopters risk facing increasing regulation and government pressure to reduce their carbon footprint to maintain licence to operate, or avoid high taxes. The opportunity though, lies in the fact that more sustainable businesses not only frequently have lower operating costs, but also increase profits by appealing to an increasing conscious millennial market.

Corporations need to work both with the government and civil society to achieve our global climate goals. And if the COP 22 targets are any indication, the time for action is now.



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06 Dec 5 Insights From The 5th Responsible Business Forum in Singapore

2 exciting days – 700 multi-sector delegates – 17 SDGs – 17 workshops for each SDG – Asia’s First Zero Waste Event. 

In short, this is what we experienced last week during the 5th Responsible Business Forum in Singapore.


5 Biggest takeaways? Why did we attend?

This article aims to share our 5 biggest take-aways for companies facing challenges in delivering the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Before jumping into the details, here is a quick reminder on what the Sustainable Development Goals are. On September 2015, countries adopted the SDGs as part of their new sustainable development agenda in order to “end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all”. Each of the 17 goals has a specific target that needs to be achieved over the next 15 years. For the goals to be reached, everyone has a massive role to play: governments, private sector and civil society.

1. Companies should implement Circular Economy principles at the heart of their business.

Circular Economy – in contrast of linear economy that just ‘take, make, dispose’ – promotes the 3Rs philosophy and pollution avoidance through design, better processes, collection systems for reuse and supply chains.

These principles require a mindset change for companies. It actually offers a blue ocean of business opportunities and this is what Andrew Morlet – Chief Executive at MacArthur foundation told us. The foundation develops and promotes the idea of circular economy.

The challenges are that today products are not designed to be recycled. 99% of the value of what we produce is lost within a very short period of time, like 1 year. That produces a tremendous amount of waste that could be avoided and instead reused if better done. Other challenges include creating reverse logistics which must be supported by regulations. For instance, in some countries, you need a special license to pick-up trash, which means a company like IKEA (which is legally a retail company), cannot just collect old products as part of reverse logistics because it would also need to have a legal status as also a waste management company. Legislation needs to support adapt to support circular economy models.

With the arrival of new regulations such as EPR – Extended Producer Responsibility – companies will have to find solutions to reduce their waste. EPR is for instance was implemented as draft law in India in March 2016, and is now law from Sept 2016. It will be law in many other Asian countries between 2020-25. Our recommendation is companies develop strategies and partnerships before the laws come into place, in order to decrease costs of implementation, potential taxes and risking license to operate. First mover advantage also offers branding and greater trust with the public, and stronger relationships and synergy with government objectives. We have been working with many different different consumer goods company to help them to comply with these regulations. See HERE for a case study of our work with an FMCG company in India.

As illustration, we listen to Hui Mien Lee – Chief Sustainability Officer at IKEA APAC – that has committed to design products with a longer life cycle, create better logistics and give opportunities to consumers to recycle their products back to their point of sales. IKEA’s philosophy is ‘Sustainable Materials, Efficient Design and High Functionality’.

Roelof Westerbeek – President of Amcor APAC – focuses his efforts on recycling plastic. Globally only 14% of plastic created is currently recycled. And currently 8 million tonnes of plastic is thrown into the ocean every year – this is equivalent to dumping the contents of one garbage truck into the ocean every minute. He reminded the need to have a holistic approach throughout the value chain to be successful in implementing circular economy principles.


2. Partnerships are crucial to achieve the goals.

Governments and companies need to create partnerships with the civil society and grassroots organisations on the ground in order to deliver the global goals. Companies that expand overseas do not have the experience required to understand a particular market and the needs of emerging countries or the BoP. They need partners to understand the context.

‘Companies alone do not have all the answers.’ – Jenny Costello Country Director at Grow Asia – a NGO that connects companies with relevant organisations on the ground in order to improve farmers’ livelihoods.

Partnerships are not a goal, there are actually a mean to reach the other goals. That is what some people in the audience argued. Whether it is true or not doesn’t really matter because we need partnerships to deliver on the other global goals.

Partnerships need to be rethought. There needs to be new models. We need to think big and out of the box. We need to be disruptive and creative in the partnerships we create.

When it comes to partnership creation, one of the issue raised was competition. Anthony Hehir – Nutrition Program Partner at DSM reminded that competition is healthy to maintain a high level of expectations and innovations. Fokko Wientjes – VP in Nutrition in Emerging Markets & Food System Transformation at DSM reminded us on the importance of understanding the needs and interests of your stakeholders and especially of your clients, to perform better while delivering the goals. Companies need partners on the ground for that.


Finally, companies should create more partnerships with other companies in order to tackle specific issues. For instance, SDG2 of zero hunger should be tackled by all the agribusinesses working in collaboration.


3. SDGs should be used as a framework for companies that would like to do well by doing good.

Companies are often misled on what SDGs should be used for. As Malcolm Preston – Corporate Sustainability Lead at PwC said – way too often, companies wrongly think that SDGs:

  • Should be implemented by governments only
  • Are too big and impenetrable
  • Should be achieved at a national level

However, businesses have a huge role to play into reaching the Global Goals.

In 1998, Kofi Annan – UN General Secretary at the time – brought the private sector into the conversation. After almost two decades, it is now time for companies to realise the impact they have in meeting with the sustainable goals agenda.

‘SDGs are blueprint for the future, not only for governments but also for businesses.’ said Haoliang Xu – General Secretary of UNDP

More than targets, SDGs actually provide a clear framework on where companies should start when determining their sustainability strategies. It also provides clear tools and 169 indicators to measure their impact and progress. Once you understand the context in which you operate – the challenges and the opportunities – you select some SDGs you would like to focus on.

“Before, companies did not have a clear map on where to start.” Erin Meezan – VP and Chief Sustainability Officer of Interface.

Andrew McConville – Head of Corporate Affairs at Syngenta was present at the RBF and tweeted about the importance of the role of businesses in reaching the goals.


4. Conversations should not only be about the outcomes, it should be about the data and ownership of the data.

The forum emphasized on the importance of data in order to measure and to show impact. When companies want to tackle specific issues, the focus should not be on the outcome but on the data.

We learnt from Jeannette Gurung – Executive Director at WOCAN that way too often, companies only focus on the outputs of their initiatives forgetting to create accountability systems that efficiently measures the actual results and benefits.

For instance, once companies decide to focus their efforts on women’s empowerment, they communicate about the number of women reached through their educational programs. But what is often missing is the actual benefits of their programs, what comes next. Here is another example, it is not enough to state the number of hours of training you provided to women, it is important state the use results of these workshops.

Generally speaking, companies should create solid data collection processes, select some managers accountable for the data and reward the best practices.


5. Gender equality is a must to reach the goals and to perform.

Women empowerment is a catalyst for the sustainable development of businesses and a huge accelerator for economic growth.

Although there have been many improvements, there are still instances of injustice between men and women globally. On average, women earn 20% less than men for the same position. Among women who have jobs, 50% do not have a salary or any social protection. Only 5% of the largest companies have women CEOs. 26% of companies do not have women in their boards and the list is endless. Here for more info from the NGO Pathways to Equity.

These companies are missing the opportunity to add value to their business. In fact, gender equality is “not only an issue of doing the right things, but above all, a smart thing to do.” – Michelle Yeoh – UNDP Ambassador. Credit Suisse recently published a report that showed that companies with women on their boards were performing better than those without.

“Shares of companies where women make up 25 percent of senior managers had annualized average stock returns of 22.8 percent over five years, while those with women in more than 33 percent of senior management roles had a 25.6 percent average annualized return, the study found.” Therefore there is a need for companies to tackle gender equality not only to become more sustainable but also to perform better.

During the SDG6 workshop around Gender Equality – Pablo Lagarcha – VP Public Affairs & Communications at Coca-Cola – recommended to work with women across the value chain to support their empowerment. By 2020, Coca-Cola wants to empower 5 million women across the value chain. In emerging countries, approximately 60% of their sales are managed by small sellers and out of those, 70% are dealt by women that are usually untrained. Therefore, it’s crucial for the brand to empower women. In the last 5 years, they impacted 1.5 million women in more than 6 countries worldwide but there is still a lot to be done, and especially so in Asia. Pablo also emphasized on the need to take into consideration the gender equality factor into the creative processes e.g. in how companies illustrate gender equality in advertising and comms.

Another interesting insight was the use of storytelling and role models to encourage women to step out from the crowd and take leadership roles. Women leaders or CEOs should communicate more about their roles, challenges, solutions, and social media seems to be the right sharing platform.

Finally, Michelle Yeoh shared about the Gender Equality SEAL Certification for companies that would like to tackle gender equality. Her inspiring speech was a call for companies to understand the issue and to get certified. This certification aims at improving the respect and recognition for women through identifying bias for gender equality; eliminating salary gaps; sanctioning harassment at workplace etc.


Overall, we had a great 2 days at the forum.

We are a B Corporation certified sustainability consultancy and program execution partner for sustainability.  We create transformative strategies, partnerships and projects to further the SDGs in Asia. This forum was the perfect occasion to connect with brands in order to understand their challenges in attaining the global goals and see how we can create transformative projects and partnerships.

We met with many very interesting people and are currently chatting about impactful projects in the region.

As Minister Lawrence Wong said during the opening of the 5th RBF, we are currently experiencing time of uncertainty due to rapid changes in technologies, sluggish economies, wars etc. This has provoked nationalistic and protectionist sentiment across the world. Now more than ever, we need to work together to deliver the global goals and overcome the challenges.


Article Written by: Paula Miquelis, Nicholas Eng and Laura Allen of Gone Adventurin

To go further: HERE is the video of the full recap of all the sessions.

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02 Dec National University of Singapore takes the lead in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

On the 9th to the 11th of November this year, the National University of Singapore organised the Conference on Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals – Environmental Law, Policy & Management, bringing together corporates, students, NGOs and lawyers to put the best minds together to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).


Established September 25th 2015, this initiative by the United Nations set 17 goals to “end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all”, with specific targets to be achieved by 2030.

This conference was focused on the law, policy, science and management of SDG Goal 12: Responsible Consumption and Production; Goal 13: Climate Action; Goal 14: Life below Water; and Goal 15: Life on Land.

Our main takeaways:

Goal 13: Climate Action


Professor Nicholas Robinson talked about the role of the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) in climate action. Started in 1969 in the US, the EIA is a “process by which the anticipated effects on the environment of a proposed development or project are measured”. In Asia, it was the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that called for the assessment because with the EIA, potential environmental impacts that are deemed unacceptable, can be identified at an early stage and mitigated.

Why this is important was very well-illustrated by Mr Desmond Lee, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of National Development, about how by 2030, Singapore needs to cut CO2 emissions by 36%. As a nation, our objective is with new buildings, 86% of them would be green, which is to say uses low energy or is energy neutral. One way to achieve this would be through the EIA.

However, it is not without its challenges. Speakers and guests talked about how anyone can conduct the EIA, and there is no form of certification needed to carry it out. This is to say that, the results of the assessment could be prone to human errors and biases. And even if the results are accurate, the report generated is extremely long and boring, and it is difficult for the general public to understand its content.

Goal 14: Life below Water


Who better to talk about life below water than “Her Deepness” herself, Dr Sylvia A. Earle, best known as an oceanographer and a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence. Having spent more than 7,000 hours underwater, she had first-hand experience of the 50% of corals that have died in the Great Barrier Reef and the melting of the polar ice caps.

We had the chance to speak to Sylvia Earle herself and she shared her insights about what she has seen over the years.

She talked about how mankind have been dependent on nature for far too long without recognising that we too, are dependent on nature. She gave a great analogy of how if a piece of our computer was removed, however small, the computer will still not function properly.


Because of our interdependence, Earle believes that we need to start shaping a future in which both nature and mankind can prosper. One way in which she feels this can be achieved would be through better regulations. She was an advisor for the treaty that was signed by George Washington Bush in 2006 to create the world’s largest marine reserve. This reserve was then doubled under Obama’s administration.

While all these changes in regulations are in the right direction, Earle feels that more can be done. Right now, 64% of the world’s oceans lie beyond national jurisdiction, which makes it difficult to protect the world’s vulnerable oceans.


“We can’t claim ignorance anymore.” – Sylvia Earle

Goal 15: Life on Land


A lesser known threat to life on land is the issue of peat. Dr Mas Achmad Santosa, coordinator of the Special Staffs; Presidential Task Force to Combat Illegal Fishing, shed some light on how 30% of the earth is covered by PEAT and it contains 30% of the CO2 available on earth.

It is a huge issue in Southeast Asia because 83% of peat is found in the region. Peatlands are a form of soil that have been accumulating for millennia and have become a major store of soil carbon, sink for carbon dioxide, and a source of atmospheric methane. The problem is not peat itself, but rather that when peatland is disturbed for agricultural or forestry needs, then there is loss of habitats. This is because many ecosystems, plants and animals alike, thrive in peatland and harvesting peat is equivalent to clearing out the entire eco-system there.

Not only does the clearing of peatlands have an impact on life on land, it also has an environmental dimension to it. That is why PMHaze, the People’s Movement to Stop Haze, was present at the event to shed light on the peat issue and how in the clearing of peatlands, it releases greenhouse gas into the atmosphere contributing to haze.



Gone Adventurin’ team with Sylvia Earle

The conference was a platform for like-minded individuals with expertise in their own field to come together to work towards attaining the SDGs. It is now clear that whether you are a student, an NGO, a corporate, or from the government, the important thing is to work together. Afterall, the 17th SDG is “Partnerships for the Goals”.


“There’s no limit to what we can achieve if we don’t care who gets the credit.” – Tony Opusa

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31 Aug One woman’s mission to disrupt the health industry

Health, as a global problem, is growing. Asia is no exception – 80% of deaths are from lifestyle diseases. Diabetes in India has doubled in the last 15 years and 4.5 million Filipinos suffer from depression.

It is no wonder then that in the Southeast Asia region, the health insurance industry is expected to grow at an annual rate of 15% to $24 billion by the end of the decade, quadrupling from $6 billion in 2010. But the concept of health insurance remains a reactive measure rather than a preventive one.

One passionate self-starter is changing that, and is making a profitable business out of it. Founder and CEO Rosaline Chow Koo put her entire life savings coupled with a huge loan from the bank to build her passion project – ConneXionsAsia (CXA). We had an opportunity to chat with her in person to get her thoughts on health in the workplace, particularly in Asia.

A flexible insurance plan tailored to your needs

The concept is simple – each employee’s health is assessed and a benefits wallet comprised of the money spent on company insurance and other allowances will give them flexibility to decide if they need protection, treatment, prevention or chronic disease management.

“We’re trying to actually shift the money, especially when there’s excess insurance, into prevention and disease management,” says Rosaline. For example, a young person doesn’t need as much insurance and can instead use the money for yoga, mindfulness, vision-care and personal development. Married employees who are already covered by their spouses insurance, could rather spend it on maternity, pediatrics, dental care and health screenings.

Combating Asia’s “Silent Killer” – Diabetes

Chronic diseases like diabetes are rising in Asia at an unprecedented rate, and they’re hitting Asia roughly 10 years before the west. It is estimated that type 2 diabetes in South Asia will rise more than 150% between 2000 and 2035. What this means for companies is that the premiums they pay for insurance are doubling every three to five years.

She hopes to reverse this trend, which is in line with the UN’s sustainable development goal that hopes to reduce national and global health risks. One way she has done this is by coordinating onsite health screenings, diabetes management, corporate wellness competitions, yoga at work, and of course, education.

“Work is where most people spend their time, so every employer has every incentive to make their employees healthier, so this is this is the way to do it,” she says.

Putting depression and anxiety in the spotlight

But it is not only physical well being that she is concerned with. Mental wellbeing is sometimes overlooked, and conditions like depression and anxiety can go undiagnosed and are more often than not, underreported.

“In the workplace, we’ve actually been bringing a lot of mindfulness into the workplace so that people learn how to react to stressful events and how to put perspective on it, and how to handle things that happen so it doesn’t drag you down,” she said with optimism.

Reduce costs, Improve health

CXA uses data from employees’ health screening results and health risks to predict the trajectory of insurance claims. Based on this, their predictive cost model can actually help firms focus on the relevant interventions to reduce the overall healthcare costs.

CXA is working with reinsurers to bring down the future premium of insurance policies as an incentive for employers to empower their employees to become healthier. Having only launched two years ago, companies have shown very high participation and the results are telling – over 500 companies use CXA in Singapore alone.

And the benefit is not for the companies alone, employees have changed their lives in the process. “Some employees have actually improved their diabetes results or have lost weight from the last health screening”, notes Rosaline.

Screen Shot 2016-08-30 at 1.03.52 PM

Untapped business opportunity in the health industry

Not surprisingly, Rosaline might not be the only one disrupting the health industry. The LeapForGood programme under The Singapore Centre for Social Enterprise is a programme aimed at raising awareness for under-met emerging social needs in Singapore.

The theme for 2016 is Elder-care and Mental Health and participants will be challenged to come up with innovative ideas on tackling these problems. They will go through the entire startup incubation process from the ideation to the final implementation.

Globally, there are already startups like bluedot and Noora Health that have successfully made a business out of trying to improve the health industry. And why not? The health industry is worth over a whopping 1 trillion dollars.

So who said that profits and social responsibility are in constant conflict?

This article is part of our monthly series of insights to help business leaders discover business value through a social and environmental purpose.

Download our latest 16-page report on HEALTH in Asia

View our 2-min visual on HEALTH in Asia

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29 Jul Announcement

Gone Adventurin’ is pleased to announce an exciting development for the company as the co-founders of Gone Adventurin are taking bold and new directions which further build upon their individual strengths and passions.

Ashwin and Laura are accelerating their strategic consulting activities along with the team to help companies unlock business opportunities in tackling social and environmental challenges. Jacqui, will be leaving Gone Adventurin’ to focus on the B Corp movement into Asia and her natural love of storytelling.

Building upon the good work already done in the last few years, everyone in the Gone Adventurin’ family will continue working towards their greater purpose: to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Global Development goals (SDG) through integrating purpose into a profitable core of business.

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Gone Adventurin:

Ashwin Subramaniam:

Laura Allen:

Jacqui Hocking:

B Corp Community Building:

SDG Storytelling:

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04 Jul What the SDGs mean to us and how we use them as a framework in the work we do!

If you were asked to think of the idea of a waste-picker in a developing country the image that in your mind is probably a person wearing tattered clothes scavenging for pieces of plastic or cloth in a large open air dumpsite with eager vultures circling overhead. While this image is the reality in many parts the world, I recently came back from a 2-week expedition in India with inspiring memories of how this sad reality is changing for the better. I’ll explain how a global framework is enabling this local change.

Copy of Saahas, at Tetra Pack & Coca-Cola aggregation centre

When we started Gone Adventurin, our vision was to help businesses positively impact local communities. This was born out my previous work experience in a large corporate where I had constantly felt that my day to day work wasn’t directly empowering people. While our vision was clear, we couldn’t define exactly what “positively impact local communities” really meant because it meant different things to different people in our team. For some it meant creating inspiring stories while for others it meant creating sustainable partnerships between local NGOs and businesses.

The launch of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September 2015 gave our social business a clearer sense of what we could accomplish and what “positively impact local communities” looked like. The SDGs have provided a unifying framework where traditional businesses, NGOs as well as innovative startups and social enterprises can work together on the same global development goals in any part of the world.


Image Credit: UN

Our expedition in India across the urban centers of Bengaluru and Pune is a good example of this. The project started 2 months ago over my discussion with a member of the global leadership team of a leading consumer goods company. The company had then just recently picked up WASTE as a focus of their business innovation and was actively looking to understand the post-consumption waste landscape of its products in fast-growing developing markets of Asia such as the Philippines and India whose urban areas are struggling to cope with growing levels of household waste.

I brought up the idea of looking at waste holistically – this means not just as an issue by itself but also how it affected other sustainable development topics such as Poverty, Energy, Health and Responsible Production. We also discussed how collaborating with local Indian startups working on various aspects of waste management would help the company ensure it also included other sustainable development topics during its innovation process. The company loved the idea and in a matter of weeks my team was off to India to help the company develop a comprehensive understanding of post-consumption waste and identify potential startup partners to help develop its pilot innovation programs.

During the first week we met with 11 inspiring startups across Pune and Bengaluru (both are cities which have active citizen movements and forward-thinking waste management policies). This helped us design and map the post-consumption waste journey and areas where the consumer goods company can focus its innovations.

One of these startups – Hasiru Dala Innovations, has developed an unique franchise-model where waste-pickers with basic literacy skills are able to run their own waste management businesses in dry waste recycling centers across the city. Apart from enabling thousands of waste pickers across the city to get ID cards, the startup has also launched its first women-only waste collection unit where the women who run the unit have driving licenses, ATM cards, health insurance and earn enough monthly income to send their children to school.

Copy of Hasiru Dala - all female unit happy to be in uniform & getting driving licenses

The all women waste management unit enabled by Hasiru Dala

During our second week, we introduced many of such startups to the consumer goods company’s Indian leadership team. The team was left impressed at the business model innovation of these startups. The startups will now be chosen not only based on their impact on waste but also their impact on alleviating poverty (SDG #1), access to quality education (SDG #4), decent work opportunities created (SDG #8) and gender equality (SGD #5). Thus for businesses investing in social innovation programs, the SDGs now provide a comprehensive framework to develop and measure the impact of their programs.

Paul Bulcke, CEO of Nestle AG, says “The private sector helped prepare the SDGs and had the opportunity to give input. This opportunity to contribute, helped make these goals everyone’s goals. So, now is the time for the private sector to make explicit societal commitments, to explain how they will help the world achieve the SDGs”

A recent report by 3BL MEDIA suggests “With only two months of the second quarter of 2016 tallied, the number of Flexible Media Releases mentioning the SDGs had already exceeded the January-March period by 30 percent. Consumer and pharmaceutical brands are tops in referencing the Global Goals. Among the consumer companies outlining commitments to tackle challenges are PepsiCo, Diageo, General Motors, Kimberly-Clark, General Mills, Nestle and H&M.”

To us at Gone Adventurin’, the SDGs have become a powerful tool to focus our work with consumer goods companies in integrating impact into the core of their businesses and measure our impact. We strongly encourage business leaders across all industries to consider doing so too.


Read more:

More info on the 17 UN SDGs and targets of each goal

Learn how Nestle is linking its agenda with SDGs

Recent news on SDGs

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