Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Grab ties with KLEAN, MRANTI to promote recycling in Malaysia

Petaling Jaya, Malaysia – As Grab Malaysia continues to scale up its environmental sustainability efforts, the superapp has partnered with Malaysia’s reverse vending machine ecosystem, KLEAN, and the one-stop-shop for innovation commercialisation, Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI), to look at solutions that will responsibly recover and recycle single-use plastic with reverse vending machines (RVMs). This move aims to help encourage recycling and make it easier for consumers to contribute to a greener Malaysia.

Through this partnership, Grab and KLEAN will be rolling out AI-driven RVMs, at specific locations, where users can easily send their recyclable food packaging waste. In addition, Grab will be leveraging its platform to increase visibility, and drive consumer participation and education efforts. Meanwhile, MRANTI’s role in providing integrated facilities for end-to-end research, development, commercialisation, and innovation (R&D&C&I) services will assist in the enhancement of the AI on the RVMs, and will help accelerate the commercialisation of the product.

Hassan Alsagoff, Grab Malaysia’s country marketing head, shared that they seek to protect the environment as it is crucial to building resilient small businesses and strong communities that can thrive for generations to come.

“We will continue to collaborate with government bodies, corporate partners, and policymakers through various programmes, to tackle the challenge of climate change. Together we want to create a sustainable future and provide easy ways for our consumers to make greener choices in everyday decisions”, said Alsagoff.

KLEAN Reverse Vending Machines, which was launched in 2019 by JANZ Technologies Sdn Bhd, collect aluminium cans and plastic bottles, and sort on-site, while registering users and rewarding them with virtual points. These collected items are then smelted back into aluminium in the case of cans and recycled into Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) pellets and fibre in the case of plastic bottles by recycling partners within the KLEAN ecosystem.

Over the next few months, the partnership aims to look at developing more AI-driven RVMs, onboard more reward partners to its redemption platform, data collection and deploy the machines to various locations across the country for easier access.

Alsagoff added, “We believe that this is a small step in the right direction. We are committed to making a real sustainable and scalable impact in partnership with drivers, industry innovators, and governments. It’s the right thing to do for our communities, our cities, and the planet we all share.”

Joey Azman, KLEAN’s co-founder and chief financial officer, shared that they applaud Grab Malaysia’s commitment to recover back and promote recycling of single-use plastic alongside its aim to partner locally, as with the rising popularity of food and grocery deliveries, it is essential that they find ways to enable greater recycling of plastic waste. 

“Partnerships and initiatives from corporations like Grab can help rally communities to adopt greener practices and contribute to positive change. We hope other companies will join us in our mission to improve the recycling habits of consumers through KLEAN’s own digital version of a ‘container deposit scheme,” said Azman.

Meanwhile, Dzuleira Abu Bakar, MRANTI’s CEO, noted that MRANTI is set to bridge the gap between public and private sector collaboration by connecting problem statements (demand) with solutions (supply) and increasing private sector participation, either through market access, investment, advisory, consultation, or providing testing and prototyping facilities. 

“This project collaboration amongst the great minds of Grab and KLEAN is what we aim to nurture further within the ecosystem,” said Abu Bakar.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Social platform for sustainability abillion unveils new marketplace feature

Singapore – Singapore-based social platform for sustainability, abillion, has launched a new peer-to-peer e-commerce feature for buyers and sellers to interact and transact online with a conscious shift in focus from revenue earned to resulting impact.

abillion is a global digital home to sustainability and plant-based natives. Its sellers set aside a percentage of their revenue to be donated to impactful causes. The buyer then dedicates this sum of money to one of the platform’s more than 60 non-profit partners.

The new feature will be first enjoyed by members in Singapore. They will be able to list sustainable products via the marketplace tab, which is found on the navigation bar at the bottom of the app, Meanwhile, buyers will be able to see the impact of each purchase they intend to make from the starred green value, which is found on the right hand side of each listing.

Vikas Garg, abillion’s CEO and founder, shared that their goal is to become the world’s leading catalyst driving sustainable entrepreneurship and conscious consumerism, powering the growth of the sustainable sector.

“We know that in the near future, everyone will care about sustainability and our planet. abillion will be at the centre of this, acting as the go-to information and digital superhub for all. Here, regardless of whether you’re a buyer or a seller, you will be able to measure the positive impact your transaction has on the world. Through this, we will be able to eat, shop and live our way to a brighter future,” said Garg.

The platform said that it is planning to launch the marketplace by the year-end of 2022 to its largest markets, including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, and Spain, as well as the UK, and the US.

Marketing Featured East Asia

The Coca-Cola Company, Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong to relaunch sustainable glass bottle beverages

Hong Kong – The Coca-Cola Company, the global beverage company that owns the world-famous beverage brands Coca-Cola and Sprite, and its bottling partner Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong, have announced the return of its glass bottle beverage, with a new design and a refreshed look.

The relaunch of the new glass bottle is in line with the commitment of The Coca-Cola Company and Swire Coca-Cola Hong Kong’s vision of sustainability. By adopting more environmentally friendly new technology to facilitate the development strategy for recycling and reuse, they joined hands to move towards Coca-Cola’s goal of ‘World Without Waste’.

Coca-Cola comes back with the classic contour bottle design and meets consumers with its familiar look. At the same time, other brands under Coca-Cola, including Sprite, Fanta, Schweppes, and Kochakaden are also coming with another bottle design. Both designs are adopting transparent bottles and make the appearance sleeker and cleaner. It is more convenient for consumers to return them after usage for the bottling plant to clean, disinfect and refill them. After adding the labels, they will be relaunched in the market, which is more efficient in protecting the environment.

The company said that the bottle comprises 60% recycled glass materials, with a weight loss of one-third compared to the previous bottles, making it easier to hold. Each box also now contains 24 bottles instead of 12 for easier transportation and storage.

Connie Yeung, Swire Coca-Cola’s general manager for Hong Kong, said, “Swire Coca-Cola HK has been the authorised bottler of The Coca-Cola Company since 1965. To realize the company’s vision in sustainable development, we have been actively enhancing packaging designs with more environmentally friendly elements throughout the years so that consumers, while enjoying the great taste, can have more options in recyclable packaging.”

Meanwhile, Marella Canepa Risso, The Coca-Cola Company’s franchise director for Hong Kong and Macau, shared that the new returnable glass bottle will allow their consumers to dive into a unique meal occasion experience uplifted by the refreshing taste brought by Coca-Cola.

“By increasing the use of returnable packaging, we promote a circular economy as our return to reuse bottles have high levels of collection and are low-carbon-footprint beverage containers because the bottles collection is built into our beverage direct delivery model,” said Risso.

The brand new glass bottle Coca-Cola brand is now rolling out in the market, while an extensive campaign will also soon be rolled out.

SME Featured Southeast Asia

Sustainability startup EQUO raises US$1.3m funding to scale brand awareness

Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam – Vietnam-based sustainability company EQUO has raised US$1.3m in a seed funding round, which will be used to increase EQUO’s brand awareness and exposure globally, expand the product line, and develop technical capabilities to drive the business.

The funding was led by NextGen Ventures, as well as with participation from Techstars and East Ventures. 

Founded in 2020, EQUO provides 100% plastic-free and compostable solutions made of materials like coffee, coconut, and sugarcane to replace single-use plastics. The company aims to disrupt the industry by offering solutions that are easy and convenient to use, without asking consumers to change their lifestyles or behaviour.

Marina Tran-Vu, EQUO’s founder and CEO, noted that the company will be offering products made from alternative materials – but doing it in a fun and approachable way that gets consumers, businesses and big corporations to pay attention.

“Our vision is to replace all single-use plastic on the planet. This isn’t just about the visible plastic we see in our environment, but also about the downstream effects of microplastics. We are excited about the new products we are delivering this year to show the world all the things we can do WITHOUT single-use plastic and paper,” said Tran-Vu.

Platforms Featured Southeast Asia

Lazada launches sustainability campaign ‘LazEarth’

Singapore – As part of Lazada‘s commitment to supporting sustainable practices in the digital commerce ecosystem, the e-commerce platform launches a campaign called ‘LazEarth’, which will initially focus on plastic waste reduction in products and packaging.

According to the platform, SEA generates an estimate of over 31 million tonnes of plastic waste each year, with 91% of consumers stating that they are concerned about plastic waste issues in the region.

Through this new campaign, Lazada will be working with LazMall brands and partners to make eco-friendly products easily assessable and identifiable to consumers. It will also be recognising and featuring more than 70 brands and 5,000 items across main fashion and FMCG product categories that are made, packed, or shipped with reduced plastics.

Magnus Ekbom, Lazada Group’s chief strategy officer, shared that as digital commerce continues to be one of the key growth drivers in SEA, it is crucial for companies to place sustainability at the core of their strategies to build stronger and greener economies.

“The LazEarth campaign is part of Lazada’s ongoing efforts to address plastic waste and help our buyers make informed decisions about sustainable products,” said Ekbom.

Aside from addressing plastic waste, Lazada has also put in place partnerships and social initiatives aimed at building a sustainable digital commerce ecosystem in the region. In Vietnam, Lazada has partnered with the National Trade Promotion Program to offer lychees from farmers in Hai Duong on the platform during the pandemic. This enabled Vietnam’s rural farmers to reap the benefits of participating in digital commerce and ensure the long-term growth of the agricultural sector in the digital era. Meanwhile, in Indonesia, together with PT Smoot Motor Indonesia, Lazada Logistics has introduced the Blue Vehicle, a practical and environmentally-friendly package delivery fleet for Lazada’s frontliners in the country.

James Chang, Lazada Group’s chief business officer, noted that as part of their commitment to building a lasting digital commerce business in SEA, they recognise that sustainability and value creation will become increasingly important to their long-term success. 

“With the launch of LazEarth, we look forward to forging more collaborative partnerships and green initiatives that will empower our brands, partners and consumers to collectively create responsible and sustainable shopping and consumption habits,” said Chang.

In addition, Lazada has started offering greener parcels made from alternative sustainable packaging materials through its Fulfilment by Lazada (FBL) service for partnering brands since 2021. The green parcels use FSC-certified carton boxes filled with recycled shredded paper instead of plastic fillers.

Marketing Featured Global

WARC launches new sustainability hub, urges industry to commit to net-zero goal

London, UK – Global marketing insights company WARC has partnered with top advertising organizations LIONS and the UK’s Advertising Association to launch the WARC Sustainability Hub, a one-stop resource to help marketing practitioners worldwide tackle the challenges and find innovative ways to implement more sustainable actions to address the climate crisis.

WARC said the new hub is in response to the ongoing global mission of reaching net-zero by 2050, and to lead in empowering the marketing industry to be aligned with the said mission. Environmental and social organizations all over the world, such as the United Nations, have been pushing for the coalition to achieve net-zero emissions in order to manage global warming and keep the global temperature rising above the safe threshold of 1.5 degrees

The new WARC Sustainability Hub brings together a curated collection of content including best practice, effectiveness case studies and thought leadership. Additional resources will be curated from Ad Net Zero, a UK industry-wide initiative led by the Advertising Association, the IPA and ISBA, to reduce the advertising industry’s carbon impact.

Paul Coxhill, CEO of WARC, said that as an industry, advertising and marketing players should not only take the lead in helping change consumer behaviour but also need to look at “own conduct.” 

“To kick-start the launch of this Sustainability Hub, we are delighted to release the WARC Guide to Net Zero Marketing, freely available to all, to help cut through the noise, by providing actionable sustainable marketing best practices to start addressing this global emergency,” said Coxhill. 

Stephen Woodford, chief executive of Advertising Association, commented, The challenge of climate change requires collective action, not just in the UK but around the world. This new Sustainability Hub will help advertising practitioners reduce carbon emissions and produce work to support more sustainable ways of living.”

To launch the Sustainability Hub, WARC has also recently released the WARC Guide to Net Zero Marketing. The report provides a roadmap to help the industry drastically reduce the amount of greenhouse gas emissions it produces, and achieve a net-zero target.

The Guide contains a compilation of recent industry research and features contributions from more than a dozen industry experts from across the world. It presents frameworks to help marketers drive behavioural change, features examples of brands showing climate leadership, and practical advice on how to avoid the perils of greenwashing.

Lena Roland, author of the report and managing editor of, said, “The global marketing industry is well-placed to help in addressing the climate emergency, given its position at the intersection of several business disciplines with a major environmental impact. But reducing carbon emissions requires systemic change, including rethinking how adverts are made and taking a lean approach to media planning”. 

The report is available for download on WARC’s website. In addition, a series of podcasts on the topic will also follow, which will be available to listen to on all major platforms, including Spotify, Apple, Castbox and RadioPublic.

Marketing Featured ANZ

Suncorp highlights ‘sustainability’ in new campaign with The Hallway

Sydney, Australia  –  Suncorp Bank has partnered with advertising The Hallway to launch Suncorp’s new campaign ‘Banking you can feel good about.’

The Hallway developed the campaign to highlight Suncorp’s commitment to making a positive influence on the environment as well as the financial welfare of Suncorp clients.

The 30-second video focuses on home loans, specifically its offering of a  $3,000 Suncorp loan for properties with a solar power system installed. The ad features a woman who learned that she could get the said loan by simply having solar panels installed at home. The ad pokes some fun on the message with animals and other living creatures celebrating the consumer’s decision which meant good for their welfare and the environment,  minimizing climate change’s impacts. 

Simon Lee, executive creative director at The Hallway, shared, “Switching to solar power is a relatively simple thing to do, but the ripple effect of doing so is far reaching. This ripple effect provides fertile creative territory that we’re having a lot of fun exploring with our partners at Suncorp.”

Meanwhile, Potta Findikidis, executive manager, marketing, Suncorp Bank, said that the Solar Home Bonus is a great example of the way that Suncorp Bank is helping our customers with their financial wellbeing as well as having a positive impact on the world we share. 

“This spot is a charming way of bringing our new brand positioning to life with tangible evidence of the actions we are taking to honour our commitment to contributing to a more sustainable future for all,” Findiidis added.

The new brand platform, which debuted in February, will be rolled out across all consumer touchpoints and will be accompanied by campaign activity on TV, cinema, digital, social, and outdoor.

Main Feature Marketing APAC

What’s NEXT: 2022 will see the evolution of corporate purpose

The issue of sustainability as seen from the lens of corporate purpose has been growing through the last few years. More and more stakeholders are realizing that corporations and brands need to go beyond just brand promise but, more so, should reflect their own values and their missions. For 2022, we predict that this is further going to evolve.

One of the predictions in Red Havas Global’s 2022 Red Sky Predictions is the evolution of corporate purpose as it evolves from changing stakeholder expectations in the last year or so. For 2022, experts predict that corporate purpose must now be delivered with clear and measurable action.

As communications practitioners, we know the primary key to effective communication is authenticity. For 2022, actions designed to drive and emphasize corporate purpose should show that they can effect change. This stems from the growing realization among stakeholders that many companies and brands are riding on the ‘Sustainability’ bandwagon because it’s considered current and a trend. They create activities and product content to highlight their efforts but for most, it is superficial. It has no real connection to the vision and mission of the company or the purpose of the brand. There’s a term they use for this – greenwashing. This is when a company or brand spends time and effort to market themselves as environmentally friendly or have embraced sustainability – but it’s only just for show, only devised to follow trends.

Sustainability efforts and the commitment to provide meaningful actions and messages should not be skin deep. It should reside from a place of sincere authenticity. Only then can these actions become powerful enough to build and strengthen corporate purpose.

According to Havas Group’s 2021 Meaningful Brand study, there was a marked shift in how people view brands. About 71 per cent of people surveyed showed that they have little faith that brands will deliver on their promise and that only 34 per cent are transparent about their commitments. This clearly shows that audiences are now more cynical when it comes to how they view brands, companies, and businesses.

But despite this cynicism, brand expectation has markedly grown. An amazing piece of data is that 73 per cent of the respondents believe brands must act as soon as possible for the good of society and the planet. More significantly than this, though is that 64 per cent of people have now taken their own concrete steps to more affirmative action – they have signified that they will only buy from companies that have shown that they are not just out for profit but have a sincere desire to effect change and have taken concrete steps towards it.

In other words, consumers of today will take their business to companies and brands that are aligned to their own beliefs and those that are doing something to change the world for the better. It will be interesting to add that these consumers have even signified that they are willing to pay more just to support these brands.

This article is written by Mel Panabi, the business director of Red Havas in the Philippines.

The article is published as part of MARKETECH APAC’s thought leadership series What’s NEXT. This features marketing leaders sharing their marketing insights and predictions for the upcoming year. The series aims to equip marketers with actionable insights to future-ready their marketing strategies.

If you are a marketing leader and have insights that you’d like to share with regards to the upcoming trends and practices in marketing, please reach out to [email protected] for an opportunity to have your thought-leadership published on the platform.

Marketing Featured Southeast Asia

GIC turns bus stops into urban farms for 40th anniversary

Singapore – GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, has released a new campaign for its 40th anniversary, and this time, turning bus stops island-wide into bumper crops of urban farms. 

In October, GIC has already launched its flagship digital campaign in celebrating its anniversary, created with creative agency 72andSunny Singapore, which assigns innocuous symbols meanings to retell the sovereign fund’s long history.

Similarly developed with the agency, the living installations transform bus stops into flourishing crops of butterhead lettuce, and Chinese broccoli (kai lan), as a statement of the sovereign wealth fund’s bold future vision for the future of sustainability.

GIC turns bus stops into urban farms for 40th anniversary

72andSunny developed the green bus stops in partnership with local urban farmer Gardens with Purpose, which brought in gardening enthusiasts from the community to grow and maintain the crops over the month-long activation. Harvested vegetables, expected to weigh over 100kg, will also be donated to Willing Hearts, a community kitchen, that delivers meals to thousands of needy families.

Mah Lay Choon, GIC’s head of corporate communications, said that the Bold Vision campaign was planned to engender an understanding of GIC’s history as well as its commitment to Singapore’s future, which will include tackling sustainability challenges. 

“We wish for these urban farms to spark ideas on more ways to incorporate growing fresh vegetables at home or in the community,” said Choon. 

Johnny Tan, 72andSunny’s ECD for APAC, shared that the agency considered today’s saturated sustainability communications, and developed the campaign in a way that would diminish the risk of white noise.

“We wanted to help GIC show up in a surprising, modern way and effectively inspire people to picture the possibilities of growing food in the least expected of place,” said Tan.

Meanwhile, Joanne Ng, owner of Gardens with Purpose, commented, ”We have been creating awareness of urban farming through classes with members of the public and students. We are very excited to work on this as I believe it will get people to reimagine urban farming and how they too might start growing their favorite vegetables.”

SME Featured Southeast Asia

MoolahSense SG launches new platform to accelerate sustainable financing for SMEs

Singapore – Peer-to-peer lending platform MoolahSense in Singapore has announced the launch of its newest platform GreenMoolah, which is focused on accelerating green and sustainable financing in Singapore and the region for SMEs.

This is in response to the growing global demand for green and sustainable financing among regional and local authorities, including businesses, that are scaling up efforts to support the reduction of emissions, yet poses a problem for SMEs who are on the search for affordable loans.

The goal of GreenMoolah is to provide a crowdfunding platform to assist SMEs who have been left out to understand and embark on projects within the environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) framework, as well as to showcase to investors on how sustainable financing can be profitable.

“This not only provides positive contributions to the environment, but also helps investors to embrace the idea of sustainable financing. Such efforts are consistent with commitments under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 to advance Singapore’s national agenda on sustainable development, and places emphasis on the importance of driving high-integrity green finance,” the company said in a press statement.

Leveraging on the GreenTrust Framework, a digital utility spearheaded by MoolahSense as the key underlying technology for interoperability and verification, end-to-end financing for SMEs on the GreenMoolah platform can be instantly authenticated, digitally processed and provenance tracing obtained simply by scanning a QR code that’s embedded into the digital certificates.

For Andrew Quek, investment director at MoolahSense, he believes that most SME owners will want to play their part in the efforts towards sustainability, and yet as business owners, their primary focus would be on profitability. He also added that with limited resources in both manpower and finance, and insufficient related experience, it makes embarking on transformation even more challenging for them

“Through MoolahSense, the green framework we have developed and in the near future digitized with the use of technology like blockchain and IOT, it makes understanding assessments and reporting easier,” Quek stated.

The introduction of the GreenMoolah platform also aims to facilitate the adoption of more sustainable projects within society. With its integration and digitization processes, GreenMoolah is able to reduce the steps needed for applications and at the same time, educate businesses owners on an easy to adopt and transparent process, so that they are able to return and use the GreenMoolah platform in the future.