Sustainability Innovation Challenge 2022 – striving towards circularity with SATS

Building a sustainable future, together.

Towards a low-carbon economy

As part of OCBC's Sustainability Strategy, we have unveiled a five-year Climate Strategy to support our actions in building a sustainable future. To preserve a liveable planet for current and future generations, it is crucial for institutions, businesses and people to work together and transition to a low-carbon economy. As a financial institution, we play a key pivotal role in helping with this transition.

We consider innovation and technology to be key drivers in achieving our vision of being regional leaders in sustainable and responsible banking for a low-carbon economy by 2026. The OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge is a key initiative for OCBC to lead and sponsor innovative solutions for sustainable innovation in the region by working closely with our business partners and stakeholders in the ecosystem.

About Sustainability Innovation Challenge 2022

Striving toward circularity with SATS

In the inaugural edition of the challenge, we are proud to collaborate with SATS to address challenges in food production – chiefly the management and reduction of food and packaging waste.

We believe that OCBC, with our financial network, and SATS, with their culinary and technical expertise, can create a greater impact in this area by working together. Addressing this problem will not only improve food security but also reduce carbon emissions.

Congratulations TRIA Pte. Ltd. and Enexor BioEnergy for emerging as winners. The two companies will receive funding of up to $80,000 from OCBC Bank and begin piloting their winning solutions with SATS between the 4th quarter of 2022 and the 1st quarter of 2023.

About SATS

As the largest food solutions provider in Asia, SATS combines technology with the passion, creativity, and talent of their people to develop quality food products and services for a wide range of customers across a multitude of industries. Their list of services includes aviation, commercial and institutional catering, food production and distribution capabilities, as well as a growing network of central kitchens for food service chains and institutions.

Learn more about SATS' sustainability efforts

Challenge statements

With a clear target of reducing waste by 50% by 2028, SATS is committed to taking a holistic approach to waste reduction from a 2021 baseline. It seeks systemic solutions – not point solutions – that can be successfully piloted in Singapore with the view of scaling across its global operations. At the same time, SATS recognises that waste reduction is not a SATS-only business challenge, but a whole-of-Singapore challenge – from Changi Airport to hawker centres.

Firstly, to manage waste better, we must reduce the waste we generate through an improved management of inputs. At every stage of the production process in both its travel and non-travel businesses, SATS considers the sustainability of its materials and waste management. Working simultaneously, SATS’ airline customers are also trying to eliminate single-use plastics on their flights and have introduced sustainable biodegradable material or packaging. 

Secondly, we need to track the waste streams generated through the production process. SATS has implemented an AI-enabled waste tracking system in its kitchens to help weigh and track the different types of organic waste, associated costs and why they are being thrown away. That in turn allows SATS to improve their material planning. 

Thirdly, whenever there is waste, we need to make sure that it is treated in the right manner. Typically, that requires segregating the waste. Finally, its by-products must be managed appropriately or be supplied to off-takers. 

SATS will be holistically reviewing the whole waste value chain at its newly-announced food hub: From demand planning, procurement and material processing to output.

Every month, SATS receives over 250 tonnes of mixed waste (2021) from inbound flights at the Changi Airport hub. Mixed waste is also generated from institutional and other catering businesses.

How might we enable the segregation of waste types?

This requires us to look at how the upstream processes or materials can change to ensure proper treatment of the waste downstream. For example, a new paper-based box and cup introduced on a Singapore Airlines flight can be put in a biodigester together with organic waste at the end of the flight – without the need to be segregated – while allowing the airline to offer a better in-flight product. Alternatively, how might we treat mixed waste and extract value without the need to segregate?

Whether on a flight or at an institution such as the hospitals and schools that SATS caters meals for, waste segregation has operational (in terms of time and process) and equipment challenges.

Downstream, the segregation of that waste poses a significant challenge. Organic (food) waste comprises approximately half of the inbound waste from flights. It is also contaminated with other types of waste – plastics, paper and some metals – that need to be segregated before the waste is fed to a biodigester. Is there a better technology or approach in sorting mixed waste?

From kitchen production to inbound flights, SATS is already recycling metal cans, used cooking oil, glass bottles, carton boxes and other packaging waste. It is currently testing a waste-to-energy approach, where a form of fuel pellets is produced from organic waste – also known as Refuse-Derived Fuel (RDF). At present, when it is impractical to separate organic and non-organic wastes, the mixed waste is incinerated. 

How might we convert waste into by-products of value – monetise waste whilst taking a more circular approach to waste management?

While RDF can be used as a fuel aid or additive in power generation, electricity or heat that is directly fed back into the grid or to SATS' operations would be a more efficient output of a waste-to-energy process .

Another possible output from organic waste processing is compost that can go to local farms as nutrients to improve yields or become animal feed (for example, black soldier flies as fish feed). Here, the quality of the output, how it is handled and the demand from off-takers are important considerations.

In the first two statements, we have detailed two specific waste management challenges.

In simple terms, “waste” is something that has no perceived value or use at the end of life. It results from what is typically a linear process – from input to output with residual “non-valued waste” streams. The challenge then is always: How do we treat the waste?

But what if we step back and redirect our thinking to examine what waste is, why there is waste, where and how it occurs? Is waste just a concept in the eye of the beholder? Do we too easily accept waste as a consequence of our actions without challenging fundamental assumptions?

Today, SATS offers commercial and institutional catering, food production and distribution among its services as a leading food solutions provider in Asia. Its food-service solutions comprise an extensive list of products from around the world including ready-to-eat meals, handheld snacks, soups and sauces, as well as raw and value-added proteins.

Less than half of the SATS business is in the non-travel industry, but as SATS develops new and existing lines of non-travel businesses, that portion will increase. Reducing waste at input and tackling the challenge of waste at the consumer end of the chain – consuming less and managing what we consume – are also part of the SATS footprint and will become increasingly pertinent.

How might we design a business-to-consumer circular waste ecosystem? 

For example, after the ready-to-eat and ambient meals leave the SATS production facility and go into the hands of consumers, how do we close the loop to reduce or eliminate waste? 

Consider how adopting a circular mindset can change the way food is conceived, manufactured, handled and transported, preserved or stored, delivered and consumed. With emerging technologies and new business models, we can reduce inputs, extend the life of foods, change attitudes towards consumption and reduce non-valued waste. Ultimately, what might a world with no food waste and throwaway packaging look like?

Meet the judges
Mr Spencer Low
Chief Data and Sustainability Officer, SATS Ltd.
Mr Goh Siang Han
Chief Operating Officer, Singapore Food Solutions, SATS Ltd.
Ms Veronique Cremades-Mathis
Chief Strategy and Commercial Officer, SATS Ltd.
Mr Mike Ng
Head, Sustainability Office, Global Wholesale Banking, OCBC Bank
Mr Koh Kim Hock
Senior Specialist, National Environment Agency
Professor William Chen
Director, NTU Food Science and Technology Programme, Nanyang Technological University
Evaluation criteria
  • Effectiveness and impact
  • Feasibility and Scalability
  • Capability
Criterion Innovativeness Effectiveness and impact Feasibility and Scalability Capability

For Challenges 1 & 2





For Challenge 3






  • How unique is the approach in solving the problem?
  • How does the proposed solution compare to the next best alternative?
  • How effective is the proposed solution in solving the problem?
  • How big is the potential impact or business value generated (e.g. amount of waste eliminated, value of byproducts)?
  • Is the proposed solution technically feasible and can be piloted within the next 12 months?
  • Is this solution scalable?
  • Does the team/company have the experience (shown through its track record), skills and resources that demonstrate its ability to develop this solution from proposal to pilot and beyond?
Common questions
Who is eligible to participate?

We are looking for startups that possess a solution that can be adapted to address one or more of our challenges statements. Startups can be located anywhere in the world, but must have an interest in developing their solutions with organisations in the Southeast Asia region after the Challenge.

How can I participate?

To participate please complete the application procedure on or before Monday, 25 July, 11.59pm (GMT+8). Submissions will thereafter be evaluated, and finalists selected.

Selected companies shall designate a representative to present at Pitch Day.

How many challenge statements can a company submit proposals for?

You may submit applications to one or more challenge statements. Please make sure your solution adequately addresses the challenge statement(s) you have chosen.

What is the business opportunity for the OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge?

Based on the results of the initial proofs of concept, the top teams would have the opportunity to further negotiate a pilot contract with the organisers.

Terms and conditions

OCBC Sustainability Innovation Challenge 2022 (the “Programme”) is organized by Oversea-Chinese Banking Corporation Limited, UEN No.:193200032W (“OCBC”) and Padang & Co Pte Ltd, UEN No.: 201406957G (“Padang”), henceforth collectively known as “the Organisers”.

These Terms and Conditions (“T&Cs”) govern the Programme. Submission of the Application Questionnaire (as defined in clause 3.2) constitutes participation in the Programme and acceptance of these T&Cs as may be amended by the Organisers from time to time at the Organisers’ sole discretion.



Deliverables”: the Application Questionnaire (as defined in clause 3.2), the Proposal (as defined in clause 4.1 and any further materials and/or documents to be provided by the Participants in accordance with these T&Cs).

Participant”: any company that submits an Application Questionnaire in accordance with clause 3.2.

Challenge Owner”: SATS Catering Pte. Ltd.

Challenge Statement”: a description that sets out a problem that the Challenge Owner would like to solve.


2.1 Participation in this Programme is free. Each Participant shall be responsible for all its costs of entering and participating in the Programme, including without limitation all costs of development, prototyping, manufacture, testing, marketing, video production, licensing, searches, registration and protection of intellectual property rights, legal costs, travel cost, costs of obtaining third party consents and licences. Each Participant recognises that there is no guarantee that they, or any other Participants, will win the Programme and that participation is entirely at each Participant’s own risk.

2.2 By participating in the Programme, the Participant will have read and fully accepted these T&Cs in their entirety without reservation.

2.3 Any Participant who does not abide by the terms of these T&Cs at any time during the Programme will be automatically disqualified from the Programme.


3.1 The Programme will be held during the period from 27 May 2022 to 30 September 2022, both dates inclusive (“Programme Period”). The Organisers reserve the right in their sole discretion to cancel, modify or suspend the Programme or any part thereof at any time or re-schedule the dates of the Programme or extend the Programme Period.

3.2 To apply for the Programme, the Participant must fill in a questionnaire (“Application Questionnaire”) on the Website on or before 2359 hours Singapore time on 25 July 2022 (“Deadline”).

3.3 Any Application Questionnaire containing incomplete information will not be accepted as an application entry.

3.4 The Participant agrees to be contacted through email sent by the Organisers during their participation in the Programme. The Participant also agrees to be contacted by phone.


4.1 Phase 1: Submission for shortlisting

4.1.1 To be shortlisted, each Participant must complete their proposal in English detailing their solution to a particular Challenge Statement (“Proposal”). If the Proposal includes a pitch deck, the pitch deck must be submitted in PPT, PPTX or PDF format.

4.1.2 If the Organisers are unable to access and/or read the Deliverables, the relevant Participant will be notified and have the responsibility to re-submit the Deliverables within 12 hours of the notification being sent out by the Organisers.

4.1.3 Each Participant’s Proposal must be submitted online by the Deadline, and must include all necessary documents and details as stipulated by the Organisers, at the Website.

4.2 Phase 2: Pitch Preparation

4.2.1 The Organisers will shortlist Participants for each Challenge Statement (the “Shortlisted Participants”) to further develop their Proposal, through consultations with the Challenge Owner. All other Participants will be deemed to have been eliminated from the Programme.

4.2.2 A Proposal should, subject to consultations with the Challenge Owner, include the scope of the Proposal, milestones, cost estimates and potential intellectual property rights arrangements with the Challenge Owner, for the co-development of the Proposal for piloting with the Challenge Owner.

4.2.2 Participants who have submitted multiple Proposals will have only one (1) Proposal shortlisted for each Challenge Statement, to be determined at the Organisers’ sole discretion.

4.2.3 Shortlisted Participants that remain uncontactable and/or fail to accept the Organisers’ invitation by the date and time to be stipulated will be deemed to have forfeited their continued participation in the Programme. In such an event, the Organisers shall have the absolute discretion to select other Participants in their place. The Organisers’ decision with regard to the shortlisting of Participants (and any dispute relating thereto or arising thereof) is final.

4.3 Phase 3: Selection of winner(s)

4.3.1 The Shortlisted Participants will be allowed an opportunity to present their Proposal ( the “Pitch”) to a panel of Judges (consisting of representatives from the Organisers, Challenge Owner and/or industry experts) to be appointed by the Organisers at their sole discretion (the “Judges”). The event will take place at a time and place to be decided by the Organisers and which shall fall approximately two (2) months after the Participants have been shortlisted (“Pitch Day”).

4.3.2 Pitches may be in the format of a working prototype, presentation slides or video.

4.3.3 If a Shortlisted Participant does not present their Pitch during the time slot allocated to them on Pitch Day, the Participant is deemed to have forfeited their participation in the Challenge.

4.3.4 Details relating to Pitch Day as set out in the aforementioned paragraphs will be confirmed at a later date and are subject to change at the sole and absolute discretion of the Organisers.

4.3.5 After the Pitch Day, the Judges may select one (1) winner for each Challenge Statement.

4.4 The Organisers, Challenge Owner and/or the Judges shall have the right to request for clarifications and/or any further materials and/or documents from the Participants at any time prior to the selection of winner(s) for the Challenge Statement(s).

4.5 Each Participant undertakes, represents and warrants that the content of the Deliverables and the Pitch, and any other additional materials and/or documents submitted for the purpose of the Programme, is and will be produced by itself. If it is found that such content has been plagiarized, the Participant will be disqualified.

4.6 The use of photos, images or documents must be free of copyright. The Organisers will not be held responsible for the use of photos, images or documents which third parties have rights to.


5.1 The Participant acknowledges that:

5.1.1 The Judges' decisions in all matters relating to the Programme, including eligibility of the Participant and the selection of the winners, will be final and the Judges shall not be obliged to entertain any correspondence or queries in relation to the same. The Judges shall not be obliged to select a winner if, in their view, none of the Proposals is of sufficient merit. It is the responsibility of the Participants to understand the judging criteria.

5.1.2 The Organisers, the Judges, and the Challenge Owner are not obliged to adopt any of the Proposals that are developed under this Programme. The Organisers may in their sole discretion facilitate the co-development and piloting of Proposals between the Participant and the Challenge Owner.

5.1.3 The Organisers have the right to disqualify Proposals which, in their sole discretion, are deemed irrelevant, offensive, and/or do not comply with these T&Cs. The Organisers have the right to disqualify or replace any winner if they are found to be in breach of these T&Cs. Such disqualified winners will be required to refund the full amount of any funding awarded.

5.1.4 Participants shall be either virtually or physically present for all meetings requested by the Challenge Owner and events as scheduled by the Organisers ("Events"). At least 1 team member is to be present at any Event to represent the Participant. Participants shall use all endeavours to encourage all team members to attend and participate. In the event that the Participant(s) cannot be present, a valid reason will be given as early as possible. Failure to comply may result in the Participant being disqualified from the Programme.

5.2 The Participant undertakes not to enter their ideas or any part of the Proposal (including software, prototypes or products) in another competition or exhibition before the expiry of the ROFR (as defined in clause 7.3).

Clause 6 - FUNDING

6.1 The winner of each Challenge Statement will be awarded grant funding of an up to amount of Eighty Thousand Singapore Dollars by OCBC to support the co-development and piloting of a Proposal with the Challenge Owner. The amount of the grant, the timing for the announcement and method of disbursement, will be determined at the sole discretion of the Organisers.


7.1 By participating in the Programme and submitting the Deliverables, each Participant affirms that the Deliverables are their original work and that the Participant(s) have the necessary rights to submit the Deliverables. The Participant(s) further warrant that the submission does not violate any law or regulation or any rights of any third party. The Organisers reserve the right to disqualify any Participant in a scenario where the Organisers believe in its sole and absolute discretion that the submitted Deliverables or any part thereof infringes upon or violates the rights of any third party.

7.2 The Participant warrants that any and all of the copyright, patents, trademarks, design rights, know-how, and other intellectual property and proprietary rights subsisting in or used in connection with the Deliverables (“Intellectual Property Rights”) are and remain the sole property of the Participant.

7.3 Participants grant Challenge Owner a right of first refusal ("ROFR") to collaborate with said Participant on any commercialisation of foreground IP generated (“Programme IP”), if any, during the Programme Period. The ROFR shall expire and cease to have effect 180 days after the Programme Period. For the avoidance of doubt, the ROFR extends to intended commercialisation of the Programme IP by the Participant alone. Participants shall fully retain their respective background IP rights, unless otherwise agreed between the Challenge Owner and the Participant. Alternate or future arrangements of ownership of foreground IP created post-Programme Period shall be negotiated separately between the Participants and Challenge Owner and independent of the Organisers. This clause 7.3 shall apply solely between the Participant and Challenge Owner.

7.4 The Participant shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Organisers and the Challenge Owner against any and all claims, suits, losses, damages, costs, fees, and expenses (including legal fees on an indemnity basis) arising out of or in connection with a breach of this clause 7.

7.5 Nothing in these T&Cs constitute a license of the Intellectual Property Rights by the Participant to any of the Organisers.


8.1 If applicable, Participants shall agree to fully observe the separate terms of the Challenge Sponsors and these terms will be made available to the Participants.

Clause 9 – PUBLICITY

9.1 The Participant authorize the Organisers to reproduce their trademark and their registered business names free of charge on communication materials about the Programme, including, but not limited, to websites, email signatures, newsletters, press releases, posters or banners at trade fairs, and on various social media platforms.

9.2 The Participant represents and warrants that it has obtained the consent of its representatives for the use of its representatives’ names, images and voices for the purposes of clause 9.1.


10.1 The Participants shall indemnify, defend, and hold harmless the Organisers against any and all claims, suits, losses, damages, costs, fees, and expenses (including legal fees on an indemnity basis) arising out of or in connection with the breach of any terms, warranties and conditions herein or in the event that any representations and authorisation given in connection with the Programme are untrue or invalid.

10.2 The Organisers shall not be liable to the Participant for any loss, damage, cost or expense (whether direct, indirect, special or consequential and whether foreseeable or not) incurred or suffered by the Participant howsoever arising in connection with the Participant’s participation in the Programme, whether virtually via the website, or physically in person, and including but not limited to the disclosure and publication of the Deliverables in connection with the Programme.


11.1 Where the Participant has disclosed to the Organisers personal data of its representatives, the Participant hereby consents, and confirms that it has obtained from such representatives their consent to the collection, use and disclosure by the Organisers of such personal data for the purposes of managing this Programme, and for other applicable purposes set out in the OCBC Data Protection Policy (accessible at


12.1 The Organisers reserve the right to modify the T&Cs at any time, without prior notification to the Participant. The Participant is invited to read the T&Cs, which are published on the Website, on a regular basis.


13.1 The Organisers reserve the right to cancel, shorten, and suspend the Programme without prior notice.


14.1 The Challenge Owner may enjoy the benefit of the terms of clause 7.

14.2 Subject to clause 14.1, a person who is not a party to these T&Cs has no right under the Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 2001 to enforce or to enjoy the benefit of any term of these T&Cs.


15.1 These T&Cs are governed by and construed in accordance with Singapore law. The Organisers and the Participant submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the Singapore courts.

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