Tell us about your business
SGS is the largest Testing Inspection and Certification (TIC) company worldwide and has been around since 1878. We are almost 100,000 employees globally and run 2,500 offices and laboratories. We have goals across three areas: Planet, Performance, People and our sustainability ambitions 2030 have been developed so that we remain the benchmark and industry leader (more about SGS About SGS | SGS). For the purpose of the exercise here it is important mentioning that SGS has strong presence both in Australia and in Singapore and we continuously transfer expertise across our teams to support our clients (governments, private companies, consultants, etc.) with the best available services.
What’s your role all about?
Following almost a decade in academic research, another 8 years managing a team in an environmental consultancy company, I joined SGS about 4 years ago and started by establishing/re-organizing our group dealing with Environmental Health and Safety Services in Singapore. It has been a really fantastic journey so far; professional and humble people, ready to go beyond their day to day routines to offer better services to our clients. I stepped down from this first role to focus only on managing the marine segment of the business for the Asia-Oceania region. It is a large region in the west starting from Pakistan, all the way to the north to Korea/Japan and south to New Zealand. Our teams respond to a very large range of service requests from shipping, coastal and offshore environmental monitoring etc. It is very rich in learning and every day I have the opportunity to use variety of my skills.
What’s the hot topic in your sector right now?
A few programs which I find interesting:
In Singapore, SGS launched ballast water testing as early as 2014 to monitor the presence of invasive species discharged from ships; we transferred and implemented the same but in larger scale together with the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources in Australia in 2019 and both Singapore and Australia have shared the information generated with the International Maritime Organisation in order to support the development of policies based on best science practices.
Since 2018, I have been involved in running round tables on marine litter and plastic pollutions – this is a definitely a hot topic ! A few months ago our laboratories in Singapore setup a centre of expertise. This is an excellent example of how SGS implement state of the art academic research into commercial setup, making information available in a consistent manner and at a larger scale.
I am sure you have come across many articles highlighting the problematics of the crew change during the Covid19. In SGS, we have offered services related to the Maritime Labour Convention (MLC) since its early days. The requirements of the MLC are not very prescriptive and therefore we do most of our activities with industry leaders who are pro-active in making better living conditions for the crew. We decided to go beyond this and upgraded our offer with the Crew Well-Being Program which is now being implemented.
Other interesting aspects of our day to day jobs: emerging contaminants, emissions testing, CO2 studies, biodiversity studies and impact assessments using eDNA… We could make a long list !
Why are you a member of AustCham in Singapore?
Aside from that I love wine and my travelling experiences in Australia have always been really incredible, I think Australia is crucial player in the region. Environmental policies are well established and continue to develop into the right directions. I think Australia, like Singapore have played a role in leading ways – sometimes these are similar and sometimes, due to the scale and geographical position of Australia vs Singapore, these are different. Diversity is a key ! And for me, as a member, the larger variety of people I meet, the better I feel !
Where are your favourite places to go to relax in Singapore
I am not sure I am very good at this …“in fluctu vita” – I often combine work and relaxation which is not really relaxation (at least my wife says so, so it must be true). When I do slow down a bit I like to spend time with my two kids, carrying out home projects, bicycling on PCN, swimming in the pool to cool down ! It makes me think that it has been some times I have not been walking to the central catchment area or Sungei Buloh… !