Photos courtesy of Li Seng
1. What activities did you take part in while studying Mathematical Science (Statistics) in NTU?
I joined the Outdoor Adventure Club and led club members to hiking trips in Singapore and overseas. While I was not aware of the environmental impact then, my engagements brought me closer to nature where I was comfortable and eager to learn more.
2. What is your greatest takeaway from your education years?
Skills and not knowledge is key. Knowledge can be outdated especially when we merely focus on the content and regurgitate the information. On the other hand, skills improve when we practice them again and again. Instead of focusing on just grades (which are dependent on knowledge), I invite people to look in the long run and acquire skill sets such as communication, interpersonal skills.
3. What inspired you to start Green Nudge?
There is no one incident but looking back, my interactions in school and workplaces made me realise how we are impacted by our environment and how our actions in turn influence the environment. This gave me a chance to explore and turn it into a business opportunity.
4. What are some of the key challenges you faced in running Green Nudge and how did you overcome them?
Money – there is little support for a social enterprise in sustainability as many tend to think of it as a charity or volunteer opportunity. Thus, maintaining financial sustainability is important in order to continue what we do in the long run. Thinking of this as a business but using the money to create meaningful impact was what we adopted so that we do not get ourselves trapped into a non-profit cycle.
People – having to work on a green cause does require us to work with many people and companies. Learning how to explain ourselves and sharing our impact are some things we continue to tackle and learn each day as everyone brings their own narrative or impression into a conversation.
5. Where do you see yourself five to ten years down the road?
Supporting communities outside of sustainability and helping others to create their own communities. This includes supporting others in ASEAN.
6. Where do you see Green Nudge five to ten years down the road?
Blending environmental sustainability with other causes such as working with seniors, arts or heritage. Ideally we would also have offices around ASEAN that support communities in different regions.
7. What are your hobbies?
Reading and backpacking.
8. What is one quote you live by?
To be the change that you want to see.
9. What is one thing you would tell your past self and your future self?
To my past self, take the time to spend time with yourself and family. In particular, to spend more time exercising and stay active as this gives you more chances to do what you want in the future.
To my future self, I will continue to do the best that I can, so that I will leave you with no regrets.
10. What advice do you have for young business owners/entrepreneurs in Singapore?
Instead of surrounding yourself with people in the same fields, to reach out and talk to others across different industries and ages.
Instead of taking in everyone’s advice, consider the various viewpoints before making your own decision and choice.
Take care of yourself as you embark on the journey as the process will be both exciting but also tiring. It is important to hustle but this needs to be done with some level of consideration for your health.
There will come a day where your work must end, by choice or design. With that, you cannot be the only one doing the work. Instead, in order to expand or create long term impact, find others or create systems that will go beyond your own time.
More about Heng Li Seng
Li Seng seeks to create change organically and collectively. Playing an interfacing role within the
tri-sector, he provides sectoral knowledge through a system thinking lens to make informed decisions and strategies. He is happy to discuss disposables, sustainability of events, public education, and is familiar with corporate social responsibility, community and youth engagement. Read more about his journey here.
More about Green Nudge
Green Nudge is a local social enterprise, supporting businesses and communities to create a positive environmental impact through activities, outreach and sustainability consulting. Leveraging on data and behavioural insights, they hope to build up a wave of momentum that will shift the norm in how we create and deal with waste in Singapore to achieve a low carbon, zero waste future.