Speech by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean at the Launch of the Public Sector Sustainability Plan and the Opening Ceremony of the Singapore Sustainability Academy
Enhancing Public and Private Sector Sustainability Efforts for a more Sustainable Singapore
Mr Masagos Zulkifli,
Minister for the Environment and Water Resources
Mr Edwin Khew,
Chairman, Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore
Mr Sherman Kwek,
Deputy CEO, City Developments Limited
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is UN World Environment Day, and I am happy to join you at the opening of the Singapore Sustainability Academy, to reaffirm our commitment to environmental sustainability and climate action.
Sustainability, Climate Change, and Singapore
Singapore’s journey towards sustainability started in the 1960s before environmental issues became a global concern. We made a conscious decision to green our country, clean up our streets, and enact laws against pollution. Today, Singapore is widely recognised as a liveable and sustainable city. We were 2nd among 100 cities in the 2016 Sustainable Cities Index. And we will continue our sustainability efforts and contribute to global action to address climate change.
As a small island-state, Singapore takes climate change seriously. We will be particularly vulnerable to higher sea-levels, rising temperatures, and more extreme rainfall in our region by the end of this century.
These findings from our 2015 National Climate Change Study are consistent with global studies assessed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Under the Paris Agreement, Singapore has committed to reduce our emissions intensity by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise our emissions with the aim of peaking by then. This will also help ensure that we continue to enjoy a green and sustainable living environment in our island city-state.
To achieve our objectives, we will require a concerted effort – from government, from businesses, and from everyone in Singapore. I will speak today on efforts to enhance sustainability in the public and private sectors.
Enhancing Public Sector’s Commitment to Sustainability
First, the public sector. The public sector plays a key role in being a good steward of our resources. The public sector can catalyse sustainable practices and have a demonstrative effect.
For instance, under the SolarNova programme, we have aggregated the demand for solar power across various agencies, lowering the cost, and making it more convenient to deploy. We will install solar panels at 5,500 HDB blocks by 2020. This will reduce electricity costs, spur growth in the clean energy sector, and help triple the deployment of solar energy from a modest 126 megawatt-peak (MWp) today to 350 megawatt-peak (MWp) by 2020. We are also making plans for more than 1 gigawatt-peak (GWp) post-2020. This, at peak during the day, will represent about 15 per cent of our electrical power demand.
Today, I am pleased to launch the “Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020”. First time, 16 Ministries and 64 Statutory Boards have come together to publish the Public Sector’s environmental sustainability plan.
One of the key elements of this Plan is the initiatives that the Public Sector will take to reduce electricity and water consumption in the Public Sector. Compared to the FY 2013 levels, the Public Sector will reduce electricity consumption by more than 15 per cent and reduce water consumption by more than 5 per cent by 2020. All new Public Sector buildings will also attain the Green Mark Platinum standard, and at least Green Mark Gold standard for existing buildings.
The Public Sector will continue to invest in green technologies, and seek innovative ways to harness renewable energy. We will also expand our green procurement policy to cover more products and adopt green practices for public sector events. Such efforts will help the Government reap cost savings, and build up capabilities in urban sustainability.
This Plan will also encourage all our public officers to adopt good practices in resource conservation and environmental sustainability, for instance having a higher temperature setting for the thermostats for air-conditioned premises, and buying more green office products. This will help transform the way the public sector operates and set an example for the wider community to adopt sustainability as our way of life.
Enhancing Private Sector Sustainability Efforts
Second, I am happy to see that the private sector is also stepping up efforts to promote sustainability. Close to 200 companies and organisations have come together under the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (or “SEAS” in short) to drive sustainability initiatives. SEAS has trained over 7,000 sustainability industry professionals in energy efficiency, renewable energy and green financing, and led business missions to seek opportunities in our region.
The Singapore Sustainability Academy led by City Developments Limited (CDL) and SEAS is a good example of how the private sector and associations can partner our government agencies to promote sustainable development and a low-carbon economy. CDL rallied 15 like-minded industry partners to design and build this Academy, using building materials from highly sustainable sources and renewable energy. This net zero-energy facility fitted with solar panels will produce more renewable energy than its energy demand. The Academy will engage global and local experts in sustainability to run outreach and training programmes for businesses, industry practitioners and youths. By providing opportunities for networking and the exchange of ideas, the Academy can spur innovation and accelerate action on sustainable practices among our business community.
I would like to thank CDL for initiating and hosting the Singapore Sustainability Academy and playing an active role to develop programmes on sustainability and climate change. CDL has been a front-runner in green buildings and in integrating sustainability into its business strategy.
I would particularly like to remember the late Mr Kwek Leng Joo for his contributions to environmental efforts and sustainability. With the active commitment of the private sector, we can help make living in Singapore more green and sustainable.
On this World Environment Day, I would like to encourage our businesses, individuals, and the community to work together with our agencies to share ideas, learn from one another, and take action for a more sustainable Singapore. Our collective action from the public and private sectors will help enhance sustainability efforts for our future generations.
 Joe Myers, “These are the world’s most sustainable cities”, World Economic Forum, 20 Sept 2016, accessed 30 May 2017.
 Second National Climate Change Study Findings released, 15 April 2015, http://www.nea.gov.sg. For the period 2070-2099 (relative to 1980-2009), assuming that global emissions peak mid-century and decline thereafter, the study projects that average surface temperature across Singapore will rise by 1.4 C to 2.7 C, greater seasonal rainfall between Nov-Jan and greater dryness in Feb and June-Sept, and mean sea level rises of 0.25 m – 0.6 m.
 CDL’s ethos is to “conserve as we construct”.