Seeds of Change
- Singapore Tatler
Darkness sweeps across Orchard Road, and for the first time, in place of the usual bright lights and glitzy billboards in some 40 malls, a sea of candles sets the shopping bely aglow, as if by magic. It is March 26, 2011, and for Ruth Yeoh, executive director of YTL Singapore, it is a particularly meaningful night.
At the beginning of the year, she approached the Orchard Road Business Association with her vision of the first-ever Earth Hour celebrations at Orchard Road. This may have seemed a challenging feat - after all, we're talking about powering off one of Asia's top luxury retail districts - but Yeoh reveals that she had the full support of the association and its members from the get-go. The celebration eventually drew over 10, 000 members of the public and saw lights go out at some 108 retailers. "This year's Earth Hour held greater meaning and relevance with the crisis in Japan," says the 28-year-old who pioneered Earth Hour celebrations in Malaysia in 2009. "Not only did we have the support of the public, my friends and colleagues from YTL also came and canvassed donations in aid of Red Cross relief efforts for Japan. So it was beyond the whole Earth Hour."
The normally reserved child of Tan Sri Dato' Francis Yeoh, managing director of YTL, which is one of Malaysia's biggest conglomerates with businesses in Asia Pacific and Europe, she gamely climbed up a tree in couture for this issue's elegant cover shot and agreed to this interview, all in the spirit of speaking out for an issue close to her heart: the environment. Yeoh recently moved to Singapore where she helms YTL's environmental division and reports on the organisation's sustainability efforts. She was responsible for setting up a committee to formalise sustainability within the YTL group. "By consolidating each unit's efforts into a formal authoritative quality, we can push to improve and set better targets in terms of sustainability," she says.
With a view to help YTL's stable of businesses go clean and green, and to help others do the same, Yeoh set up an in-house Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) consultancy, YTL-SV Carbon in 2007, which won Best Carbon Markets Brokerage, Asia at the World Finance Carbon Markets Awards 2011. "We have clients in the palm oil sector and outside the business who trust us to do the consultancy work for them, seeing that we've done it successfully ourselves."...