Interview : Eric WOO, Business Development Manager in Southeast Asia.

Based in Singapore, Eric Woo develops LACROIX Sofrel's activity in ASEAN. He shares with us his vision of the Smart Environment in a fast-changing environment.

What is your vision of Smart Environment in Asia?

In Asia, “Smart” is all about using solutions integrating digital to collect and use data. The large amount of data allows a better view of the environment to manage the network and take action when needed.
When developing in Asia, the most important point is to understand the country and its situation before taking actions. The geopolitical environment has a great role to play in how companies do business.
You also have to keep the greater picture in mind. Smart environment is strongly linked to smart cities in Asia and everything has to be linked from resources management to street and traffic.

Coming from Singapore, how does the country position itself regarding Smart Environment?

Singapore is a very visionary country in term of smart environment due to lack of natural resources. The government plays a role in this as they issue incentives for companies to invest and develop a proper strategy regarding energy savings and CO² emission reduction especially for buildings. For water and waste water treatment, the government together with private sector take leads to create more water catchments to use as source for water treatment, and turning wastewater to industry water and named it as NEWater.
Singapore has a plan to make at least 80% of its buildings “green” and energy efficient by 2030. One of the main concern is air conditioning, with less window AC units with poor energy efficiency in favor of in building integrated AC or central cooling systems.
With such a position, Singapore is now used as a reference in ASEAN with various authorities and companies visiting to study and share experiences on energy savings and water collection and treatment

What about the others countries in ASEAN? How do they compare with Singapore?

The situation can vary strongly from one country to another. It is strongly linked to the government efforts and their direction.
Some countries like Malaysia and Thailand are heading in a similar direction as Singapore or are currently taking steps in improving environmental sustainable development.
Vietnam is also coming with regulations to monitor air and water quality, especially around industrial. For example, those companies have to release discharges data/ information about their discharged wastewater and gazes.
In some other countries, the matter is still not addressed or progressing at slower pace due to many reasons and lack of funding is one of it to promote green initiatives. Some countries focus very much in providing access of tap water by residences and with less or no effort on waste water treatment.
All of this makes a lot of opportunities for LACROIX SOFREL, with several countries having tremendous potential for our products.

Outside of ASEAN, is China also working towards a more sustainable development?

China has several 5 years plans to reduce pollution as one of the top three biggest priorities on its abnormally big market. In cities like Beijing, pollution has gotten so bad that the Chinese Government must ordered companies to take actions to reduce pollution during very bad crisis, going as far as closing plants to limit emissions. The situation is slowly moving.

A last world to summarize?

There are a lot of opportunities in Asia, in both energy and water treatments. From green buildings to co² reduction, there is a lot of work to do with the authorities in order to change the mentalities and behavior in Asian markets.
Occidental countries must continue to push forward rules and regulations as Asia often starts with a foreign platform and adapt it to is own model.

Sept. 2017