Speech by Minister, Prime Minister's Office and Second Minister for Home Affairs and Trade & Industry S Iswaran at the Asia Pacific Sustainability Forum at Resorts World Sentosa
Mr Ho Meng Kit,
Chief Executive Officer, SBF
Ms Mariana Lubanski,
Business Development Director, Copenhagen Capacity
Mr Constant Van Aerschot,
Special Advisor to Singapore, Green Building Initiative, World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Mr Masayuki Shimura,
Director and Head of Asia Pacific, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation
Ladies and Gentlemen
I am pleased to join you this morning at the Asia Pacific Sustainability Forum.
Global Sustainability Trends
2. Sustainability is an imperative for global businesses. It is emerging as a market driver that presents opportunities for value creation and profit – a significant evolution from its traditional focus on efficiency, cost, corporate social responsibility, compliance and risk management.
3. Many international companies are stepping up their sustainability efforts, working in close collaboration with stakeholders, other businesses, and governments. For example, Coca-Cola has integrated its water conservation efforts into its supply chain. It has pledged to become ‘water neutral’ by 2012, i.e. every drop of water it uses to produce beverages would be compensated for through conservation and recycling programmes.
4. Similarly, several MNCs such as HSBC, Dell, Marks & Spencer and Tesco have pledged to become ‘carbon neutral’, which is possible only if changes are made to companies’ supply chains. Marks and Spencer, for example, will produce its polyester clothing from recycled plastic bottles instead of oil, and use fair trade cotton for their cotton garments. In other words, sustainability is becoming pervasive throughout the global economy.
Singapore’s efforts in Sustainable Development
5. Due to our resource constraints, Singapore had, in fact, adopted a sustainability drive a few decades ago, before the advent of the global green phenomenon. Today, Singapore’s broad-based plans for Sustainability Development include improving national carbon emissions targets and the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint. This blueprint encompasses strategies, initiatives and goals for Singapore to achieve economic growth and a good living environment over the next two decades.
6. There is also a Sustainable Urban Living (SUL) R&D multi-agency workgroup led by URA and HDB. The Workgroup aims to create a more sustainable urban environment in Singapore through a ‘5-Year SUL Programme’ guided by the SUL R&D Framework.
7. We are also developing the Cleantech industry as a growth sector, and investing heavily in R&D and innovation in the fields of renewable energy, smart grids, environment, water, and carbon management. Our goal is to generate S$3.4 billion in value-added and 18,000 jobs by 2015. To support R&D and innovation, we have established research institutes, such as SERIS for solar energy, ERI@N which does broad-based R&D in the field of energy, EPGC by A*Star which is looking at smart grids, and Create R&D centres, such as the TUM e-mobility centre.
8. Singapore can also serve as a living laboratory where companies can test and validate their green solutions and practices in areas such as sustainable manufacturing, supply chain management, recycling of waste and water, and energy efficiency. Let me give you some examples.
9. Singapore is conducting an Electric Vehicle testbed. We are amongst the first cities in the world to test-bed an ecologically sustainable and integrated transport solution at the system level. The objective of the EV testbed is to evaluate different EV prototypes and charging technologies for possible mass adoption. The test-bed is ongoing with charging infrastructure being set up island-wide and EVs available for lease by organisations. It will run till the end of 2013.
10. Singapore is also building its first eco-business park, the CleanTech Park. It will be a choice location for forward-looking corporations that have embraced environmental sustainability as a means to differentiate their business, and also as part of their corporate social responsibility. This development will push the boundaries of green sustainability, serving as a large-scale integrated platform to demonstrate system-level clean technology solutions.
11. The first iconic building in the Park is CleanTech One. This 1.5ha development is built with the aim of creating a showcase for the future of sustainability. Efficient building design strategies will be applied to ensure sustainability can be achieved in a cost-effective manner. These would include minimising the east-west facing facade, lowering the window-to-wall ratio, increasing naturally ventilated spaces, and utilising flexible planter box roof gardens to reduce the envelope thermal transfer value (ETTV) of the building.
12. On the housing front, the first ‘Waterfront Eco-Town for the Tropics’, Punggol Eco-Town, exemplifies residential development aligned with the Sustainable Singapore blueprint. It stretches environmental targets, and enhances the living environment for residents. The areas for the test-bedding of feasible urban solutions are energy generation/reduction, urban mobility, water, resource & waste, and maintenance. Treelodge@Punggol is the first eco-friendly public housing development. It incorporates green features such as renewable energy generation using solar PVs, rainwater harvesting for washing of common areas, centralised recycling chutes, and a higher green plot ratio.
13. Finally, the Jurong Lake District, as the next premier destination for business and leisure, has been designated as Singapore’s next district-level living laboratory for technologies/solutions in a commercial setting. Exciting sustainable initiatives are currently being scoped out by government agencies and industry players, in areas such as building technologies, smart connectivity and urban mobility.
14. On the international front, Singapore is working with several countries, like China, in the Tianjin Eco-City and Guangzhou Knowledge City projects, where we have exchanges in international sustainability practices.
15. Our industries have recognised the importance of sustainability development and organised themselves to tap on these opportunites. The Sustainability Development Business Group (SDBG), formed in 2009, facilitates the sharing of best practices, project financing, access to grants & incentives, and bidding for international business opportunities such as eco-city projects. To help enterprises build sustainable capabilities, the Singapore Business Federation has also set up a Clean Energy Test-bedding Community (CETC) to test-bed products and accelerate commercialisation.
16. An important initiative of the SDBG is the Singapore Sustainability Awards which aim to recognise companies and organisations for their green efforts, and to share best practice with the business community. Launched in 2010, the Awards are supported by IE Singapore, the National Environment Agency, and SPRING Singapore, as well as strategic partners including IBM, Frost & Sullivan and KPMG.
17. In early 2011, SBF also initiated the Singapore Sustainability Alliance, on the recommendation of Economic Development Board and in response to calls from the local and global cleantech industry. This Alliance comprises a broad network of government agencies, business communities and research institutions.
Welcoming International Cooperation with our industries
18. As an increasing number of companies embrace sustainable practices, non-profit consultancy organisations such as WBCSD (the World Business Council for Sustainable Development), CSR Asia and Accountability are working closely with MNCs to better integrate sustainable practices into their businesses. We welcome these international non-profit organisations to use Singapore as a base to further extend their message of sustainability to businesses.
19. For example, the WBCSD has developed the Global Water Tool and the Green House Gas Protocol, to help companies calculate their water and greenhouse gas footprints across their supply chains. It also organises the Inclusive Business Challenge to help companies and stakeholders identify and implement models to engage low-income populations and develop affordable products and services that meet their needs.
20. Also, an increasing number of non-governmental organisations who are engaging businesses to promote the adoption of sustainable practices. These include the Worldwide Fund for Nature and Conservation International. For example, WWF operates its Business Alliance for Sustainability initiative out of its Singapore office where it engages companies such as Nokia, HP, Credit Suisse, HSBC and IKEA to promote sustainable practices.
21. This Asia Pacific Sustainability Leadership Forum, held in conjunction with GES Business Leaders’ Summit 2011, and supported by WBCSD and Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA), brings together top business, industry and government leaders from around the world to discuss the latest opportunities and trends in sustainability as a business imperative.
22. The signing of two MOUs and one LOI with Copenhagen Capacity, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC), and the WBCSD respectively, underscores our industries’ intent to further their sustainable development commitment. The MOUs aim to connect Singapore companies to international networks to build technological and financial capabilities, as well as create market access to green growth opportunities in both Europe and the Asia Pacific.
23. We welcome the establishment of Singapore Business Council for Sustainable Development in Singapore. We look forward to close collaborations between Singapore Business Council for Sustainability Development, SBF and other players engaged in sustainable development businesses - in Singapore and in the region. In closing, let me wish all of you a fruitful forum.
24. Thank you.
 The Inter-Ministerial Committee on Sustainable Development (IMCSD) was set up in January 2008 to formulate a national strategy for Singapore’s sustainable development. The IMCSD identified the following four strategies to ensure Singapore’s continued sustainable development. First, to improve resource efficiency in energy, water and waste management so that we will be more cost competitive and efficient in the long run. Second, to enhance our physical environment through controlling pollution, increasing our greenery as well as cleaning and beautifying our water bodies. Third, to engage the community and encourage them to play their part by adopting more responsible practices, habits and lifestyles. Fourth, to build up our technologies and capabilities in order to realise our sustainable development targets, spur economic growth and export our expertise. [adapted from the sustainable blueprint itself]
 ERI@N does broad-based research in energy efficiency and alternative energy.
Source: Ministry of Trade & Industry