SINGAPORE, 16 NOVEMBER 2013 -Some 160 NTUC FairPrice (FairPrice) employees and customers together with their families and friends gathered for the “Come Plant-A-Tree with FairPrice” activity, held at Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park this morning, as the homegrown supermarket retail co-operative supports 50 Years of Greening Singapore by the National Parks Board (NParks) and marks its 40th anniversary by planting 40 tree saplings.
Mr Seah Kian Peng, CEO of NTUC FairPrice, who hosted the event said, “Earlier this year, we kick-started our celebrations and announced various initiatives that ranged from helping our customers stretch their dollar, to helping the less fortunate in our society, as well as doing good in our community. Today, we mark 40 years of serving the community by planting 40 tree saplings to contribute to Singapore’s greening journey.”
To involve the community, FairPrice invited ardent FairPrice Facebook fans and ran an online contest from 26 September 2013 to 16 October 2013 for customers to have an opportunity to be part of the tree planting activity. To participate in the contest, they had to share the reason why they wanted to plant a tree for the community.
Over 40 winners were chosen from the entries where they can bring a friend or family member to join them at the tree planting activity. The entries reflected Singaporeans’ love for nature and care for the environment; many wanted to take the opportunity to inculcate a love for nature in their children while some wanted to plant a tree to remember a loved one or to commemorate their birthdays.
Contributing to a greener Singapore
To further support National Parks Board’s initiatives, FairPrice will be donating S$8,000 to the “1963 commemorative Tree Planting Project”. The funds will be used to cover the cost of the tree saplings being planted today and also to enhance the biodiversity of the Singapore Botanic Gardens and preserve its rich heritage.
Earlier in 2011, FairPrice also partnered the Public Utilities Board to adopt the Sengkang Floating Wetland and set up the FairPrice Water Education Fund to support schools’ enrichment programmes to promote water education.
Another national initiative that FairPrice supports includes the FairPrice Green Rewards Scheme which rewards customers who support the Bring-Your-Own Bag (BYOB) programme to reduce plastic bag usage. To further encourage BYOB, FairPrice also introduced dedicated check-out lanes in selected outlets for those who bring their own bag (BYOB). In addition, FairPrice has run campaigns such as FairPrice Cares! to mark Earth Day to further encourage customers to save plastic bags. A survey commissioned by NTUC FairPrice this year revealed that 62% of its shoppers BYOB at least once compared to 33% two years ago.
As a retailer, FairPrice also looks to reduce its carbon footprint and save precious resources by implementing various eco-friendly measures into its operations. For example, in 2009, FairPrice launched Singapore’s first eco-friendly supermarket at City Square Mall, which showcases the latest eco-friendly solutions in grocery retailing. This includes usage of recycled and biodegradable materials for store fixtures, energy-saving equipment and lighting, as well as “green technology” like reverse vending machines.
Three FairPrice stores – FairPrice Finest @ Zhongshan Park, FairPrice Finest @ MyVillage and FairPrice @ AMK 712 – were also awarded BCA’s Green Mark Awards in the Supermarket category in 2012. FairPrice Finest @ Zhongshan Park was the only supermarket to receive the Green Mark Platinum Award, the highest rating, under the Green Mark for Supermarkets Scheme.
Beyond this, FairPrice has continued to increase its range of environmentally friendly products, which currently includes biodegradable versions of disposable crockery and cutlery, as well as household cleaners that are made from biodegradable resources and renewable raw materials.
Types of trees being planted
Two types of tree saplings were chosen for the “Come Plant-A-Tree with FairPrice” activity – the Cordia sebestana and Brachychiton acerifolius. The Cordia sebestana, also known as the Geiger tree. is a small tree or garden shrub that will fit in small yards or even on a patio as a potted plant with beautiful scarlet blooms. The Brachychiton acerifolius, also commonly known as the Australian Flame Tree, is a large tree famous for the bright red bell-shaped flowers that often cover the whole tree when it is in bloom.