03:33 PM Ms Pulara Somachandra (Trainee Research Associate, SMU Centre for Commercial Law in Asia)

    Dentons Rodyk Dialogue 2021: Sustainability and Innovation for a More Resilient Future


    The 2021 edition of the Dentons Rodyk Dialogue was themed ‘Sustainability and Innovation for a More Resilient Future’. The Guest of Honour was Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment. The hybrid event had a small in-person audience and saw over 700 people from more than 20 countries signing up for the Dialogue virtually.

    Professor Timothy Clark (Provost, Singapore Management University) and Mr Gerald Singham (Global Vice-Chair & ASEAN CEO, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson) kicked off the Dialogue with their respective welcome remarks.

    The floor was then handed over to Minister Fu who charted Singapore’s journey in sustainability. She shared that while Singapore faces unique challenges in sustainable development due to land and resource constraints, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 sets ambitious and concrete targets over the next 10 years, positioning Singapore to achieve net-zero emissions as soon as viable. She also mentioned that the Government had launched multiple green funding initiatives to support the transition, urging private enterprises to embrace the ESG imperatives within their business practices. She concluded by reiterating that a global effort is required to fight climate change, and that we need to embed sustainability into our DNA to ensure our ability to thrive in the future.

    Professor Dave Fernandez (Lee Kong Chian School of Business, Singapore Management University) then presented on impact investing and the challenges facing the establishment of sustainability measurements and standards. Highlighting key issues such as greenwashing, supply chain complexities and the relative inattention to developing countries, he was of the view that the best way forward is for there to be better dialogue among academics, finance practitioners and regulators.

    Following this, Mr Hugh Lim (Executive Director, Centre for Liveable Cities) discussed how the COVID-19 pandemic would impact the way we live and interact moving forward and accelerate the need for more resilient cities. He expounded on factors such as the need for mixed use landscapes especially in urbanised areas and the need for our physical and digital infrastructures to intertwine better, as well as the need to utilise our scarce resources strategically to avoid inequitable fights.

    Mr Bart Houlahan (Co-Founder, B Labs) next explained how a business is perhaps the most powerful man-made force in society and how it can be used as a force for good if harnessed properly. He surmised that business leaders are grasping the severity of the climate crisis and the unprecedented risks it brings if a multi-stakeholder initiative for sustainability is not created. People are increasingly expecting businesses to balance their interests and those of society by combatting issues such as wealth inequality and climate change.

    Thereafter, a panel discussion moderated by Mr Singham took place, during which the audience raised interesting questions on the path forward. The panel members discussed synergising the advantages within the city state and region to rise above the challenges that we are facing and how various hands-on approaches would make impactful long-term changes.

    Finally, in a closing presentation, Ms Ipshita Chaturvedi (Partner, Dentons Rodyk & Davidson) shared that companies are increasingly willing to implement ESG processes and procedures, and elaborated on the various roles lawyers can play in helping companies bridge theory with practice.

    The Dialogue concluded with closing remarks from Professor Goh Yihan, SC (Dean, SMU Yong Pung How School of Law) and a ceremony marking the launch of Dentons Rodyk’s ESG Practice Group.

    The Dentons Rodyk Dialogue is organised by Dentons Rodyk & Davidson and the SMU Centre for Commercial Law in Asia. A video of the Dialogue is available here, and for media coverage, see here and here.

    * This blog entry may be cited as Pulara Somachandra, “Dentons Rodyk Dialogue 2021: Sustainability and Innovation for a More Resilient Future” (5 January 2022) (

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