Being one of Asia's first carbon-neutral companies, Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) makes sustainability a priority and is willing to turn down profitable projects if they fall short of the company's green requirements.
"There were certainly investment decisions which we have not taken and businesses which we have gotten out of. People questioned maybe because there's a certain degree of spoilsport. But there are also businesses that we went into thinking and hoping that there's money to be made," chairman Heinrich Jessen told CNBC's "Managing Asia."
One of which was ditching plastic-based covering and opting to produce paper-based packaging for the electronics industry in 1997.
"We made a rather large investment in paper-based packaging from recycled news print, [but] it turned out that the market was much smaller than we had thought. We're still doing the business though, because it fits the philosophy of going green," Jessen who has a master's degree in Industrial Environment Management from Yale University said.
Based primarily in Southeast Asia, Jebsen & Jessen (SEA) Pte. Ltd is an industrial conglomerate with a history that stretches back 120 years. It owns and operates businesses in areas such as cable technology, chemicals and information technology.
The company went carbon neutral in 2011 and pushed for all of its business units to be ISO certified. Other environmentally-friendly policies include the banning of toxic chemicals such as solvents in its paints and the exclusion of shark fin soup - a mainstay of Chinese cuisine that's often seen as auspicious - at company dinners. Moving forward, the company has plans to further reduce its carbon footprint.