Mr Tai Lee Siang, Chairman WGBC

Interview with Mr Tai Lee Siang, Chairman, World Green Building Council:

Tai Lee Siang, Chairman, World Green Building CouncilCities of Love Awards, the first of its kind, was conceived by Tai Lee Siang and Valeria Ang, who are also the co-authors of the book “Cities of Love”.

Green In Future had an opportunity to talk to Mr Tai on his views on the awards and its long term plans. Cities of Love Awards are looking for sustainable actions or initiatives in Singapore and Southeast Asia which have resulted in positive social, economic or environmental impacts.

Awards for sustainable issues are usually conferred on government or business leaders who have helped to implement large-scale transformations. Whilst important, they rarely show high levels of innovation, care and love for the communities around them. AWARD DETAILS >>

Tai Lee Sang and Valerie believe smaller enterprises or individuals who are making a deeper societal im- pact should share in the glory too. No project is too small, no step is too insignificant – if your actions have made a positive impact in some way, they should not be discounted!

Submit your entry and get recognised for your hard- work! Green In Future is honoured to be associated with the Cities of Love Awards as their media partner for COLA 2017 and will continue to render its support for all of their sustainable efforts. APPLY NOW >>

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Tell us briefly about your journey to promote sustainable living?

Although I was trained as an architect in my early years and we were well taught about passive architecture, sustainability was not found in our vocabulary. By mid 2000s, the message of climate change gained momentum and I was increasingly made aware of the critical challenges. Passive architecture will not be enough to overturn the dire situation. There is a need to actively promote and educate people about sustainability. This is the background to why I started on this journey.

What was the inspiration to come up with Inception?

The word Inception means beginning or commencement. Valerie, my wife, and I had always wanted to start a company that focuses on creativity and sustainability. We believe that these two great forces could bring about solutions and transformations. We would like to produce creations such as fashion, publications and initiatives that demonstrate creativity and sustainability. This gave birth to Inception.

Tell us about Cities of Love Book and the transformation to Cities of Love Awards 2017?

cities of loveCities of Love is the first book written by Valerie and I in 2016. It is a book about encouraging ground up action and rethinking about the notion of living in cities. The central idea is that people must play an active role to enhancing our environment. The cumulation of individual efforts can bring about avalanche changes when coupled with strong governmental leadership and industrial participation. In promoting this idea, we found that the concept of Cities of Love Awards gels well with the book and it may serve as catalyst to bring about such an action.

What made you to decide to do it in Singapore ?

Singapore is a natural first stop. given the nation’s focus on clean and green, it is an ideal ground for people’s involvement on social, economic and environmental fronts. With the strong support from public, private and people sectors, we hope that we can kick off with a good start.

How will this award stand out from other awards which are given to sustainable projects and people associated?

Most awards are given to peak performer or entries. Cities of Love award aims to recognise wider range of applicants. This will be achieved by applying a more lenient judging criteria to include entries that may be considered borderline by other awards. The idea is not to water down standards but to encourage new innovative ideas to flourish and develop further in the future.

In your Book you have mentioned about the 12 Ingredients for a sustainable and lovable city. Are the same ingredients applied for the judging criteria for the award?

The 12 ingredients will not be applied directly as judging criteria for the award. However, entries that match any of the 12 ingredients will aid in the process of judging.

How is the selection process?

All the entries will be forwarded to the jury panel for preliminary screening. Once screened, all award winners will be identified and entered into a second round. The second round is for the selection of highest level of recognition.

What is your long term vision ?

My long term vision is to see sustainability entrenched as a way of life. As a way of life, sustainability shall be a key consideration in day to day decisions such as the way we live, work and learn. This is my dream. This is a necessary reversal from today’s world where financial considerations always outweigh other considerations.

How is your current role helping in this award journey?

My current role has given me insights and connections to an emerging world of sustainability activists and champions. Many of them toil anonymously and tirelessly to change the world that they operate in. My wish is to use these contacts to help recognise many such champions.

Is this award a yearly one? What do you feel Singapore and the region can gain and learn from this award?

Yes, this is an annual award. Through this award, I hope that we can learn that sustainability is more than just a word. It embodies many good social, economic and environmental virtues and values. By adopting these good values, societies can learn to be self-sustaining instead of self-consuming.