How companies can achieve net zero, according to O’right CEO Steven Ko

Tatler Asia
steven ko at 2023 Sustainability Week Asia in Singapore

Above Steven Ko, CEO of O’right (rightmost), together with Jacqueline Lam, regional lead for Global Sustainability Policy and Partnerships of Boeing Southeast Asia, and Jonathan Jong, group chief sustainability officer of ComfortDelGro, shared insights on climate climate change mitigation at the 2023 Sustainability Week Asia in Singapore.

Knowing how it can help mitigate the destructive effects of climate change, O’right has moved away from direct and indirect greenhouse gas emissions in its manufacturing operations and products. Even corporate headquarters in Taoyuan City lives up to this ethos, with everything from the building’s architecture to the daily office operations inside it designed with sustainability in mind. SGS—the world’s leading testing, inspection and certification company—officially declared that O’right has achieved carbon neutrality after examining the company’s Scope 1, Scope 2 and Scope 3 emissions.

How did they do it? Ko now shares advice on how companies can fulfil their decarbonisation goals: 

1. Appoint green leaders.

The CEO finds value in identifying sustainable leaders who can help meet its green goals. O’right, in fact, has more than three corporate sustainability officers (CSO), despite being an SME with only 300 employees. CSOs—who have become more in demand in the past few years, according to a study by global placement agency Weinreb Group—are tasked to assess a company’s environmental impact and detail sustainability plans. Ko adds how O’right has voluntarily published corporate social responsibility and sustainability reports, all verified and assured by third parties, since 2013.  

2. Invest in green energy.

Since December 2002, O’right has been powered by 100-per cent renewable electricity through its system of solar panels and wind turbines. For completing this milestone ahead of a 2025 commitment to global energy initiative RE100, O’right was honoured with the RE100 Enterprising Leader Award at Climate Week NYC in 2022. 

3. Choose green raw materials.

To create its range of care products, the company eliminated petrochemical components, replacing them with by-products of agricultural products. O’right has also complied with the USDA’s biobased content standards, which require a certain percentage of products to be made from biobased materials. 

4. Adopt green packaging.

Says the CEO: “We have comprehensively constructed a green supply chain for post-consumer recycled packaging. Since 2017, we have successfully prevented five million plastic bottles and plastic indenters from falling into streams, seas or incinerators.” 

The promise to heal the planet needs the involvement of both the company and its community. To this end, O’right educates its customers with sustainability information so they can actively participate in global decarbonisation efforts. 

For example, Ko points out how most people are not aware of carbon footprint reporting. According to the CEO, carbon emissions associated with the life cycle of a bottle of shampoo may only account for eight per cent of the total. The rest (“a whopping 92 per cent”) can be attributed to the act of hair washing, “including the water used to rinse the hair and the energy used to heat the water”. And so, O’right implements carbon disclosure projects at its shops, where upon checkout, customers can see how much the items in their shopping cart, whether shampoo or body wash, help reduce carbon emissions.

“It is important our consumers know that every choice they make today will determine their tomorrow,” says Ko. “Environmental protection shouldn’t be seen as a tedious task forced upon you. With a dose of technology, culture and aesthetics, it can be taken as something significant that is truly worth investing in.”

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