27 October 2011


Distinguished Guests,



Good morning and a very warm welcome to the Singapore International Foundation’s fifth Ideas for a Better World Forum.

At the SIF, we believe ideas multiply when shared. Through this forum series, we aim to provide a platform for dialogue and networking, so as to inspire action for change towards a better world.

It is our privilege to have with us today, Mr John Elkington, as our keynote speaker. As the Founding Partner and Executive Chairman of Volans, John is a world authority in corporate social responsibility and sustainable practices. He will be discussing with us innovative business models of the 21st century, to tackle challenges at the intersections between demography, consumerist lifestyles, natural resource availability and climate change.

John is one of the many inspirational thought leaders the SIF has hosted as speakers of our Ideas for a Better World Forum series that inaugurated in March. Since then, we have enabled stimulating exchanges in the areas of social entrepreneurship and sustainable urban living, featuring prominent personalities such as conservationist Dr Jane Goodall and Danish social entrepreneur Mr Thorkil Sonne.

Through the various exchanges SIF has initiated, many have resulted in tangible action for good. I would like to single out the SIF’s Young Social Entrepreneurs programme which aims to inspire Asian youths to effect change within their communities through social entrepreneurship. Since the programme’s inception last year, our programme alumni have gone on to set up meaningful social initiatives to uplift lives in China, Indonesia and Singapore. Just as John shares with us later about Zeronauts, a new breed of changemakers, I am hopeful that the SIF's partnership with Volans on the Young Social Entrepreneurs programme will help develop more of such bold thinkers and doers, especially among our young, who are the building blocks of our future.

As the SIF turns 20 this year, the foundation remains committed to bridge Singaporeans and world communities by facilitating more of such meaningful conversations for good and through partnerships with like-minded organisations. Partnerships are integral to the sustainable impact we seek to achieve as a catalyst for change towards a better world. To cite some examples, the SIF’s recent Memorandums of Understanding with the British Council and Ashoka respectively have enabled us to promote more cultural exchanges and the spirit of social entrepreneurship. We believe far more good can be accomplished collectively and welcome interested parties to explore with us ways of collaboration.

Together with our panelists, Mr Howard Shaw and Associate Professor Simon Tay, I am confident that we will once again benefit from yet another enriching discussion today. Our heartfelt appreciation goes out to John and our panelists for sharing valuable insights into how we can live more sustainably and responsibly for the benefit of generations after us. Continuing with the theme of sustainability, the SIF’s next Ideas for a Better World Forum early next year will feature Mr Andy Ridley, Executive Director and Co-Founder of Earth Hour. We hope you will be able to join us for the next forum too.

In closing, thank you all once again for taking the time to spend your morning with us today. May we spur each other on to build a better world, one that is mutually inclusive, peaceful and offers opportunities for all.