The annual National Environment Conference (NEC) brings together the public and private sectors in Brunei Darussalam to promote environmental stewardship, manage the country’s natural resources for a sustainable future, and foster economic prosperity.

The forum is convened by Asia Inc. Forum in collaboration with Total, HSBC, Alcoa, Butra Heidelberg Cement, and ST Engineering. Participants include senior government officials, CEOs and senior representatives from the major industrial sectors of Brunei, senior representatives from non-governmental organizations, and secondary and tertiary students.

Past guest speakers have included Tom Paladino, founder and president of Paladino and Company; Dr. Terry F. Yosie, president and CEO of the World Environment Center; and Anita Roper, chief executive officer of Sustainability Victoria.

Since the conference’s inception in 2008, there has been a significant increase in actions to promote a more sustainable landscape within Brunei Darussalam. Examples include:
  • More private organizations and the public sector are recognizing the importance of sustainability in their operations;
  • There has been a move to a centralized waste management system in Brunei, with the Brunei Economic Development Board signing an agreement in 2010 to develop a high-tech modern waste management facility for the country;
  • Waste management companies have moved into recycling services;
  • Improved energy management and conservation are becoming mainstream concerns for the population, as seen by the celebration of Energy Day in 2010; and
  • The environment is now steadily gaining more prominence in schools through recycling programs and the introduction of sustainable practices.

In addition, Brunei’s commitment to the World Wildlife Fund’s Heart of Borneo conservation program is seen as a key pillar of being a green economy. The country has committed to preserve more than 60% of its rainforest. This means that there is limited land available for development, and the government has to be very selective on its economic development to ensure that selected projects and developments are sustainable for the nation’s environment and long-term future. According to the country’s Minister of Development at NEC 2010:
    “For a country with limited resource base like Brunei, environmental sustainability is the sine qua non for sustaining quality of life and economic competitiveness. Economic growth generates income that can be put to use to improve infrastructure and services that contribute to environmental sustainability. Therefore, Brunei must achieve sustainable growth by integrating this need into the nation’s development policy and process. However, the success of this effort depends on the support and participation of the stakeholders, business, and civil society.”

Outside of the oil and gas sector, Brunei is in the early stages of economic development and diversification. There are many untapped opportunities for green and sustainable businesses, most especially for export. For companies like Alcoa that wish to do business in Brunei, the most important thing to learn is that the pace of change is often slower than in other countries, but the rewards for success are significant.


NEC 2010


More than 280 delegates attended the 2010 conference, including winners of the inaugural Green Debate whose attendance was sponsored by Alcoa. View the conference executive summary.
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NEC 2010




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Dr. Terry Yosie




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Tom Paladino




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Anita Roper