The Singapore MICE Forum (SMF), the choice thought leadership event for the Meetings, Incentives, Conventions and Exhibitions (MICE) industry, made a much-anticipated return on 27 July 2023 at Sands Expo & Convention Centre, Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. The three-day event brought together over 400 industry players from Singapore, the region and key global markets.

Themed The Great Reset, the SMF reflects the industry’s robust growth as major international business events continue to be hosted in Singapore. To capture growth opportunities, the SMF serves as a timely and critical platform for the industry to forge new perspectives and collaboration in key areas such as Sustainability, Talent, Innovation and New Business Models.

The SMF was opened by Alvin Tan, Minister of State, Ministry of Trade and Industry & Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, who underscored the key role that MICE plays in driving Singapore’s economic growth and the importance of industry collaborations to achieve a more sustainable future.

He also announced the launch of the Workshop Agreement (WA) 4 Sustainable MICE –Guidelines for carbon emissions management. This standard will support the Singapore MICE Sustainability Roadmap[1] and the Singapore Green Plan 2030 by providing guidelines for the industry to better manage their carbon emissions. The standard, along with other industry efforts by Singapore Association of Convention & Exhibition Organisers & Suppliers (SACEOS) and Singapore Tourism Board (STB), serves to position Singapore as one of the most sustainable MICE destinations in Asia Pacific. WA 4 also complements the WA 3 – Guidelines for waste management, which provides guidance and best practices to the industry in reducing waste at MICE events.

Richard Ireland, President, SACEOS, said: “As the MICE industry in Singapore finds itself on the cusp of an exciting new chapter of growth, it is pertinent for the industry to come together for The Great Reset. With growth opportunities as well as challenges facing the industry, the Singapore MICE Forum provides a timely and critical platform for the industry to collaborate and reimagine the future we envision for our industry – one that cares for our environment and people while continuing to deliver great value to our customers and attendees.”

Yap Chin Siang, Deputy Chief Executive, STB, said, “Singapore’s MICE industry remains on a steady growth trajectory, and the demand for business events in Singapore is stronger than ever. I am glad to see the Singapore MICE Forum return in its full force this year as a platform for the industry to connect, collaborate and explore new business opportunities. The launch of the new guidelines for carbon management is a critical step in our collective effort with SACEOS to raise sustainability standards across the MICE industry and reinforces STB’s commitment in working with the industry to build a more sustainable tourism sector.”

Paul Town, Chief Operating Officer, Marina Bay Sands, said: “We are honoured to be the venue of choice for the Singapore MICE Forum, the premier thought leadership and networking event for stakeholders in the MICE industry. As a destination committed to sustainability, our team has worked diligently with SACEOS to ensure the implementation of sustainable practices for the event. With our state-of-the-art facilities and unwavering dedication to environmental stewardship, Marina Bay Sands provides the ideal platform to inspire meaningful discussions and foster positive change for a more sustainable future in the MICE industry.”

High-value programme and line-up of speakers

Attendees were treated to a specially curated and high value programme featuring a stellar line-up of speakers who shared their expert insights on how the MICE industry can capture growth opportunities and tackle key challenges.

Notable speakers included Edward Koh, Executive Director, Conventions, Meetings & Incentive Travel, Singapore Tourism Board and Paul Town, Chief Operating Officer, Marina Bay Sands, who spoke in the panel session “The Game Changers of the Future”. Fleur Kearns, Vice President, Human Resources, APAC, RX Global, delivered her keynote address on “The Future of Event Professionals: Attracting and Retaining Talent in a Competitive Market”.

In addition, Robin Hu, Vice Chairman Asia, Temasek and Chairman, Constellar, engaged in a Fireside Chat with Dylan Sharma, Chairman, SMF, on “The Larger World and the Impact on ASEAN” while Paul Kent, Partner, Head Economics, Data and Analytics, KPMG Singapore, delivered his keynote address on “What’s with the Economy? Making Sense of it all”.

With Sustainability at the forefront, the SMF programme was specially curated to explore how MICE businesses can organise greener events and reduce its environmental impact. In line with this, the panel session “The Future of Sustainability: Understanding the Corporates and how MICE can Play a Role” discussed the importance of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and how companies can be accountable to the stakeholders and environment, and better support and collaborate with their clients.

To showcase and drive innovation in MICE sustainability, the SMF featured the inaugural MICE Sustainability Innovation Marketplace. The Marketplace explored various solutions to improve the sustainability performance of organisations, as well as innovative ways to host sustainable events. Attendees discovered solutions in leveraging data and analytics, robotics, energy optimisation, sustainable materials and food & beverage from the Marketplace.

The inaugural Singapore MICE Awards also took place on 27 July to celebrate the achievements and contributions from the industry, with Winners announced across 10 exciting award categories. On 28 July, the Singapore MICE Challenge made a much-anticipated return as teams from Institutes of Higher Learning (IHLs) vied for top spot as they showcased their ideas around the theme “Creating the Next Generation Event”.

WA 4 Sustainable MICE– Guidelines for carbon emissions management

SACEOS and the Singapore Standards Council (SSC), which is overseen by Enterprise Singapore, launched the WA 4 Sustainable MICE – Guidelines for carbon emissions management. The standard complements the WA 3 Sustainable MICE – Guidelines for waste management launched earlier this year and was developed in close collaboration with public and private stakeholders across the MICE value chain. WA 4 covers guidelines and best practices for the measurement, reduction, calculation, verification and offset of carbon emissions for MICE events. It also provides an emissions reporting template that MICE players can reference.

To build carbon management capabilities among MICE stakeholders, SACEOS will be running its first MICE Carbon Management Guidelines workshop based on WA 4 in the coming months. The workshop will promote awareness and provide guidance to reduce carbon footprint by each stakeholder. 

Physical and e-copies of the WAs will be available for purchase on the Singapore Standards eShop. They will also be available for free viewing via the Multimedia Stations at the public libraries and Lee Kong Chian Reference Library. Print copies of the Singapore Standards collection are also housed at the Lee Kong Chian Reference Library.  

Sukumar Verma, Vice President for Industry & Enterprise, SACEOS, said: “The launch of the WA 4 Sustainable MICE – Guidelines for carbon emissions management reflects SACEOS’ and the MICE industry’s commitment in reducing the environmental impact of business events. We are confident that the guidelines will provide the whole of the MICE ecosystem with much-needed guidance in managing the carbon footprint of events. Importantly, this is very much aligned with the Singapore MICE Sustainability Roadmap and the Singapore Green Plan 2030, and will help the industry take yet another step towards a more sustainable future.”

Choy Sauw Kook, Director-General (Quality & Excellence), Enterprise Singapore, said “The sustainable MICE standards, that we have developed since 2022, seek to address the growing demand for clarity and guidance on the accounting of environmental impacts as industry players embark on their sustainable transformation. Beyond the calculations, the standards also serve to provide tangible alternatives to reduce environmental impact resulting from event operations. Enterprise Singapore encourages MICE industry partners to adopt these standards towards a greener and more sustainable future.”

SACEOS partners with NTUC LearningHub to roll out Sustainability courses

SACEOS and NTUC LearningHub has announced a two-year partnership to roll out sustainability related courses to upskill and reskill the MICE and events industry. Courses are focused on emerging skills needed for the industry to stay ahead of competition such as concept and framework development, operationalisation and elective modules in Sustainability.

Beyond the MICE industry, the courses will benefit the larger ecosystem of adjacent industries in the tourism sector. Pathways will also be made available towards the MICE Sustainability Certification, which is currently being refreshed and due to be completed by end of 2023. 

Jeremy Ong, Chief Executive Officer, NTUC LearningHub, said, “The partnership with SACEOS is a testament to our commitment to working with industry partners in Singapore to help workers acquire in-demand and emerging skills. The Certified Sustainable Event Advocate Certification Programme provides a stackable credential pathway where the individual modules can be stacked up towards an industry-recognised certification. The programme enables MICE and event professionals in Singapore to pick up best practices in the realm of sustainability and allows learners to integrate what they have learnt into their work. Not only will this partnership position Singapore as the mover of sustainability in the global MICE events industry, the collaboration will also benefit workers in enhancing their career prospects and lifelong employability.”