New grant to support businesses coping with rising energy costs

Companies can apply for the grant from Sept 1 this year to March 31 next year. Image: ST File

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Local firms in some sectors will soon be able to apply for a new grant to help them reduce their energy bills amid rising electricity costs.

The new Energy Efficiency Grant was announced by the Ministry of Finance (MOF) on Tuesday (June 21).

It will provide small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the food services, food manufacturing and retail sectors with up to 70 per cent funding support to adopt energy-efficient equipment in categories that have been pre-approved.

Capped at $30,000 per company, the grant will cover energy-efficient equipment in categories such as LED lighting, air-conditioners, cooking hobs, refrigerators, water heaters and dryers.

The sectors eligible for the new grant have been significantly affected by higher electricity prices in terms of the impact on their overall business costs, MOF said in a statement.

“The grant will support such firms to improve their energy efficiency and alleviate increasing business costs due to increased energy prices,” the ministry added.

“This is a more sustainable way to help our businesses to manage energy prices which are beyond our control.”

Speaking at a press conference on additional support measures for companies and households, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Lawrence Wong said: “For businesses in this higher energy cost environment, they will need to continue to restructure and become more energy efficient in order to remain competitive, and we will provide support to firms who need that extra lift to sustain their transformation efforts.”

To apply for the new grant, applicants must be a business registered in Singapore and the equipment bought must also be used here.

Companies can apply for the grant from Sept 1 this year to March 31 next year.

They will then have up to a year from the time that an application is submitted to purchase equipment and submit claims for reimbursement.

The window for claims will run until March 31, 2024.

The new grant complements existing initiatives that help firms here be more energy efficient.

They include the National Environment Agency’s Energy Efficiency Fund, which supports businesses in the manufacturing sector, and the BCA Green Mark Incentive Scheme for Existing Buildings 2.0, said Senior Minister of State for Finance and Transport Chee Hong Tat during the press conference.

Association of Small and Medium Enterprises president Kurt Wee said: “I think (the new grant) will power businesses to be more energy-conscious and look at how they can be more efficient in their consumption.”

Fashion retailer Pomelo said the grant will also help support its efforts as it drives change in its industry through sustainable initiatives. 

Ms Kevalin Athayu, Pomelo’s vice-president and head of sustainability, said: “This grant from the Government is certainly a welcome development for the retail sector. We see this as a great opportunity to improve energy efficiency for our Singapore retail operations and will be reviewing the grant’s eligibility criteria in detail.”

Ms Ariel Lee, director of food and beverage firm Sunpark Singapore, which runs brands such as Tonkotsu Kazan Ramen and Belle-Ville pancake cafe, noted that the company is monitoring how bills will increase, as fuel prices go up. 

“(Support for buying) equipment, especially energy-efficient exhaust hoods, cooker hobs and lights would be a great help especially when we build new stores. It is not only capital expenditure support, but also helps with long-term deduction in our running costs,” she said.

Besides support for energy-efficient measures, there will also be help for local companies with cash-flow concerns, Mr Chee said.

The Enterprise Financing Scheme – Trade Loan will be enhanced, with the maximum loan quantum increased from $5 million to $10 million from July 1 this year to March 31 next year.

The Government will also continue to provide 70 per cent risk-share for the scheme during this period.

From now till Sept 30 this year, firms can also tap the Temporary Bridging Loan Programme for their working capital needs.

When this programme expires, the Enterprise Financing Scheme – SME Working Capital Loan will also be enhanced, with the maximum loan quantum increased from $300,000 to $500,000 from Oct 1 this year to March 31 next year.

Author: Sue-Ann Tan

Acra, SGX RegCo set up committee on sustainability reporting for S’pore firms

Acra and SGX RegCo are developing a road map for wider implementation of sustainability reporting for Singapore companies. ST Photo: Lim Yaohui

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Companies in Singapore may soon have a clearer picture of how to carry out sustainability reporting, with a committee set up to discuss the suitability of implementing international standards here.

The Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (Acra) and Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) have formed a sustainability reporting advisory committee to provide guidance on a road map for companies incorporated here.

“As part of its work, the committee will provide inputs on the suitability of international sustainability reporting standards for implementation in Singapore,” said Acra and SGX on Tuesday (June 21).

Acra and SGX RegCo are developing a road map for wider implementation of sustainability reporting for Singapore companies beyond those listed on the local bourse.

SGX RegCo has mandated sustainability reporting for listed companies since 2016 and climate reporting from financial year 2022 on a comply-or-explain basis.

Climate reporting will be mandatory for issuers in the financial, energy, and agriculture, food and forest products industries from FY2023. Listed companies from the materials and buildings, and transportation industries will also be subject to mandatory reporting from their FY2024.

“The growing interest in environment, social and governance (ESG) issues globally has led to a call to provide greater transparency and assurance on companies’ ESG-related information which investors and other stakeholders can incorporate into their decision-making,” said Acra and SGX on Tuesday.

The new committee is chaired by Ms Esther An, chief sustainability officer of property developer City Developments.

Its 13 members include other chief sustainability officers, representatives from financial institutions, institutional and retail investors, sustainability reporting professionals and academics.

Ms An said effective ESG integration and disclosure are critical to accelerating global efforts to build a greener and more resilient future.

She added that the committee’s efforts will complement Acra and SGX RegCo’s initiatives to rally corporates and stakeholders to contribute to the Singapore Green Plan 2030 and the global agenda on sustainable development.

Author: Prisca Ang

Singapore, China ink MOUs to deepen cooperation in green and digital economies

Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong (left) and China’s Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao at the signing ceremony on June 13, 2022. Image: Ministry of Trade and Industry

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – China and Singapore have strengthened bilateral relations after the two countries announced collaborations to promote the green economy and enhance cooperation and exchanges in the digital economy.

On Monday (June 13), Singapore Minister for Trade and Industry Gan Kim Yong and China Minister of Commerce Wang Wentao signed two memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on the sidelines of the World Trade Organisation’s (WTO) 12th Ministerial Conference in Geneva, Switzerland.

An MOU on green development will promote bilateral cooperation in the green economy through policy sharing and business cooperation.

It will focus on areas such as renewable energy, green building, green finance, as well as water and waste management.

Both countries will also encourage businesses to carry out joint research and development activities and jointly promote low carbon technological innovations, said the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) in a release.

Meanwhile, an MOU on the digital economy will strengthen bilateral cooperation and exchanges in the digital economy.

This will be done through the exploration of joint opportunities for growth in areas such as investment cooperation, digital trade and digitally enabled services, among others.

Singapore’s MTI and China’s Ministry of Commerce will establish working groups to oversee the implementation of both MOUs.

In a post on LinkedIn, Mr Gan spoke of his meeting with Mr Wang, saying that they discussed the deepening of the countries bilateral relations as well as collaboration in international fora such as the WTO.

The digital economy is an important driver of global economic growth, while the green economy is increasingly critical to help countries address challenges arising from global climate change, said Mr Gan, in a separate statement issued by MTI.

He added: “The signing of the two MOUs not only signify Singapore and China’s commitment to broaden and deepen our bilateral cooperation, but also provide new impetus for our countries to explore new areas of cooperation in digital economy and green economy that can address shared policy priorities and business interests.”

Author: Anjali Raguraman, Consumer Correspondent

3 ways to speed up Singapore’s transition towards a green future: Grace Fu

Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu highlighted three ways Singapore can accelerate sustainability and climate action. Image: ST FILE

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – The Republic must keep up the international momentum in addressing the threat of climate change amid pressing priorities such as the Covid-19 pandemic, rising inflation and geostrategic challenges, said Minister for Sustainability and the Environment Grace Fu on Tuesday (June 7).

Speaking at the gala dinner of Temasek’s annual sustainability conference – Ecosperity Week – Ms Fu highlighted three ways the nation can accelerate sustainability and climate action.

1. Catalyse action towards inclusive transition

As the carbon tax is progressively raised to $50 to $80 per tonne by 2030, the revenue will support the transition to a greener economy through incentivising low-carbon solutions and cushioning the impact on businesses and households.

Businesses increasingly recognise the opportunities in the circular, low-carbon economy, while the choices of individuals can also play a role, said Ms Fu.

“Individual action may feel insignificant and is indeed insufficient. However, our collective actions will enable us to achieve our ultimate common goals,” she added.

If consumers avoid disposables, buy locally farmed vegetables and fish, and choose energy-efficient appliances, for instance, these choices will create ripple effects that accelerate the development of more sustainable products.

From the middle of next year, large supermarkets will implement a disposable bag charge, which aims to encourage the public to use reusable bags and be more judicious in their use of disposables.

2. Unlock more sustainable solutions

Technologies and solutions to decarbonise still remain out of reach or are not yet commercially viable, but industry collaborations can bring about new solutions, said Ms Fu.

Last month, Singapore joined the First Movers Coalition with eight other nations, which will allow companies to harness purchasing power and supply chains to create early markets for innovative low-carbon technologies.

This serves as a launchpad for them to reach commercial scale and could open doors for local businesses to innovate with like-minded partners.

Ms Fu also cited the Jurong Island Circular Economy study last year, which analysed the energy, water and chemical waste from 51 companies on the island.

The study has provided insights on how to reduce resource use and boost Jurong Island’s competitiveness and sustainability.

A new research institute focusing on how to shrink the carbon footprint of the industrial sector – responsible for about 60 per cent of the country’s total emissions – was also set up on Jurong Island earlier this year.

One focus area of the Institute of Sustainability for Chemicals, Energy and Environment is on reducing or removing planet-warming emissions.

This can be done through carbon capture, utilisation and storage technologies – which aim to capture greenhouse gases released from industrial processes before they reach the atmosphere, and then either convert them into useful substances, such as chemicals or store them underground.

The institute was set up by the Agency for Science, Technology and Research, which is working with industrial partners and other government agencies to study and plan for the development of a carbon capture and utilisation translational test bed on Jurong Island.

3. Specialise in green finance and carbon services

Ms Fu noted that Singapore is highly disadvantaged by its lack of natural renewable energy sources, as it does not have large rivers to draw hydropower or vast lands for wind turbines.

But with its reputation as an international financial hub, it is well placed to support countries with untapped natural renewable energy sources through the trading of carbon credits, she added.

For example, polluting companies can buy carbon credits from a renewable energy plant to offset and compensate for their own emissions.

And with the Article 6 rulebook on international carbon markets finalised at the United Nations Climate Change Conference last year, Singapore can help propel the growth of green finance and carbon services in the region, said Ms Fu.

“This will enable businesses to access the capital they need to innovate, operationalise, and scale their green projects,” she added.

In March, Singapore and Indonesia inked a partnership, where they will collaborate on carbon pricing and markets, and also explore financing solutions in carbon credit projects.

Author: Shabana Begum

Temasek launches green investment arm, pledges $5b in initial funding

GenZero, wholly owned by Temasek, aims to accelerate global efforts to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change. Image: ST PHOTO/KUA CHEE SIONG

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Singapore’s investment company, Temasek, announced on Monday (June 6) the launch of a green investment firm to accelerate global efforts to cut carbon emissions and fight climate change, with an initial pledge of $5 billion.

GenZero, wholly owned by Temasek, aims to deploy long-term and flexible capital to help early-stage companies and technology solutions that need funding to grow towards commercialisation, as well as more mature opportunities that are ready to scale up.

Its investments seek to help the world achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and limit global warming to 1.5 deg C above pre-industrial levels, key goals of the United Nations’ Paris Agreement, the world’s main climate pact.

Temasek’s chief sustainability officer Steve Howard said that because decarbonisation is now a specialist investment discipline, the introduction of a platform like GenZero is well placed.

“You can be very alarmist when you talk about climate, so actually it is appropriate for us to ring the bell loudly and say it is on our watch that we have to tackle this,” said Dr Howard, adding that carbon no longer existed on the periphery of the economy but has now become internalised for most companies actively evaluating how they will transition towards net zero.

“This is not about incremental change, it is about transitioning every business and every investment decision. It has been described as the race of our lives and I really see it as that…. and we have to be the generation that leads that change.”

GenZero will be headed up by Mr Frederick Teo, who is currently managing director of sustainable solutions at Temasek International. Mr Teo will assume the role of chief executive from July 1.

Mr Teo, who has been at Temasek for nearly 12 years holding various leadership positions, said GenZero’s investments will focus on three areas.

It will fund technology-based solutions that deliver deep emissions reductions, such as carbon capture, utilisation and storage and advanced biofuels; nature-based solutions that help protect and restore natural ecosystems while benefiting local communities and biodiversity; and investment in companies and solutions that support the development of an efficient and credible carbon market.

He added that while GenZero has a broader, more flexible investment mandate, the company will still be seeking sustainable returns on investments made.

“Clearly we are not going to be investing in solutions that are currently in the lab and not yet ready or if we cannot see a pathway to climate impact,” Mr Teo said.

“We are also looking at solutions that have the potential to scale, because if there is something that works really great but cannot be deployed at scale, it will not be able to create the kind of climate impact that we seek to achieve.”

Author: Luke Pachymuthu, Senior Correspondent

Singapore, United Kingdom can collaborate closely on climate change, R&D for the future: DPM Heng

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat with British High Commissioner Kara Owen in Eden Hall on the occasion of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. Image: Lianhe Zaobao

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – Singapore and the United Kingdom do not just share a strong historical past, but have a lot in common when it comes to working together for a greener future, said Deputy Prime Minister Heng Swee Keat on Thursday (June 2).

Climate change is an area where there is “tremendous potential” for collaboration, such as in low-carbon solutions and decarbonising the energy grid, he said.

Both countries are accelerating cooperation to promote green finance and the development of international carbon markets, and Singapore is also working with the UK on a framework for green energy cooperation, he added.

DPM Heng also congratulated the UK for hosting a successful COP26 conference in Glasgow last November.

He was speaking on the occasion of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, where he congratulated Queen Elizabeth II for her reign over the past 70 years. She is the first British monarch to celebrate this milestone.

Also at the event in Eden Hall, the official residence of British High Commissioner Kara Owen, were former president Tony Tan, former British prime minister Tony Blair and Ms Owen.

In his speech, DPM Heng noted that Queen Elizabeth II ascended the throne in February 1952, when Singapore was still a British crown colony.

He also noted that both economies have become more intertwined, with the UK-Singapore Free Trade Agreement coming into force in February last year, and the UK-Singapore Digital Economy Agreement signed earlier this year.

He added that Singapore is committed to support the UK’s accession into the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

Singapore and the UK are also close collaborators in the realm of innovation and research and development.

For instance, the Singapore-UK Bilateral Co-Innovation Programme aims to develop and fund projects between local and UK companies in areas such as advanced manufacturing, agri-food tech and cyber security.

DPM Heng noted that the UK is home to the largest overseas Singaporean community in Europe, and that the British community here is also the largest from Europe.

There are currently more than 5,700 UK companies in Singapore, and the British expatriate community in Singapore is about 40,000 strong.

The strong bilateral ties between the two countries are also manifested in the iconic heritage buildings and streets named after British places and figures. For instance, Singapore has its own Piccadilly Circus and Oxford Street, and the bells on the Victoria Theatre and Concert Hall’s clock tower chime the same tune as the Big Ben in London.

But the most important legacies are the constitutional, administrative and judicial systems that the British built, as well as the use of the English language, he said.

“More than five decades after Independence, these systems continue to be pillars of strength for Singapore even as we evolve them to suit our local context.”

Author: Cheryl Tan

Data-sharing platform for supply chain sector to add new functions like green financing

(From left) SGTraDex CEO Antoine Cadoux, IMDA chief Lew Chuen Hong, Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, Trafigura’s Asia-Pacific CEO Tan Chin Hwee and MTI Permanent Secretary (Development) Lee Chuan Teck. Image: ST PHOTO/Ong Wee Jin

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – A data sharing platform used in the logistics sector is being expanded with new applications, including one that will digitalise the certification process for sustainable trade financing in the construction sector.

The upgrades will also make it easier to pinpoint the causes of shipping delays and reduce the associated costs, known as demurrage, as well as increase transparency in the procurement of ship supplies and spare parts.

The expansion of what is known as the Singapore Trade Data Exchange (SGTraDex) was announced at the Asia Tech x Singapore (ATxSG) event on Wednesday (June 1) organised by the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA).

SGTraDex is designed to reduce long-standing supply chain inefficiencies, including a heavy reliance on manual, paper-based processes that undermine efficiency, transparency and sustainability.

It works by enabling regulatory, logistics and trade financing data to be shared, which in turn helps supply chain players optimise cargo handling and operations and builds confidence in trade financing.

The platform was first announced at last year’s ATxSG event and has since been piloted with three initial uses: strengthening the financing integrity of trade flows; enhancing end-to-end visibility of container logistics flows; and digitalising the bunkering or ship fuel supply industry.

More than 70 participants, from small-and-medium-sized enterprises to multinational corporations, have signed up to use SGTraDex, including Standard Chartered bank, commodity trader Trafigura, shipping company Pacific International Lines and energy giant ExxonMobil.

Communications and Information Minister Josephine Teo, who announced the SGTraDex upgrade, told the ATxSG event on Wednesday that the three use cases in operation now are expected to capture about $100 million worth of value by 2026, including time and manpower cost savings, a figure that will grow as more participants come on board.

Equatorial Marine Fuel Management Services, a major local player in the bunkering sector, has benefited from SGTraDex.

Mr Choong Sheen Mao, a director, said about one-third of Equatorial’s vessels are “SGTraDex-ready” and have been fitted with sensors that capture data such as the volume of fuel being transferred through flow meters approved by the Maritime Port Authority of Singapore.

“When you have that enforcement, people trust what is being measured by the flow meters on board,” he said.

“The next step is to connect the flow meters to data loggers in order to remit the information to the cloud, and make sure the data flow is secured and trusted.”

This data can be immediately shared securely with clients and other parties like banks and financiers through SGTraDex.

Previously, the process would involve paper documents that needed to be manually checked against the meters, reviewed and audited for accuracy.

Equatorial estimates that it is saving about 50,000 man-hours a year after moving such functions to SGTraDex.

Mr Choong added that his company is also interested in exploring the possibility of tapping SGTraDex for green financing and procurement of ship supplies once the new applications are implemented.

Author: Rei Kurohi

New initiatives to train, certify technicians in EV maintenance and servicing

File photo of an electric vehicle (EV) charging point in Singapore. Image: iStock/taikrixel

From CNA

SINGAPORE: The Land Transport Authority (LTA) will be working with organisations to train and certify automotive technicians in the safety-related areas of electric vehicle (EV) maintenance and servicing.

LTA said on Monday (May 30) that the move is part of its efforts to upskill Singapore’s existing workforce in support of the adoption of electric vehicles and realisation of the Singapore Green Plan.

It signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Monday with 21 organisations – comprising automotive industry partners, vehicle fleet owners, training providers and other government agencies – to develop training opportunities for new and existing automotive technicians.

“Under the MOU, the parties will identify a set of baseline competencies on safe handling of high voltage systems, as well as electrical troubleshooting and diagnostics,” said LTA. 

“These competencies form the fundamental knowledge and skills in EV maintenance and repair, which technicians need to acquire before handling such vehicles.”

The transport authority will work with SkillsFuture Singapore (SSG) and training providers, such as the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College West, Singapore Polytechnic and Ngee Ann Polytechnic, to develop and implement foundational training courses based on the list of identified competencies.

These training courses are expected to be available in the second half of this year. LTA will also work with SSG to provide baseline course fee subsidies of up to 70 per cent. 

“As Singapore progresses towards 100 per cent cleaner-energy bus fleet by 2040, ensuring a steady pipeline of qualified professionals to support the public bus industry will help accelerate the transition towards more sustainable public transport modes,” said LTA.


A new national-level certification programme will be established to recognise automotive technicians who have completed these courses and successfully attain the required competencies, said LTA.

The certification, recognised by all the parties in the MOU, will allow technicians to subsequently take further specialised training in EV maintenance.

LTA said it would also work with SSG and Workforce Singapore (WSG) to reskill new and existing automotive technicians to taken on roles in this field. 

This will be done through programmes such as SSG’s SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme and WSG’s Career Conversion Programme (CCP) scheme. Under the CCP, eligible companies or participants may receive salary support for the training duration.

The transport authority said it is also taking steps to train and certify technicians in the maintenance of cleaner-energy buses within the public transport sector.

“To prepare our workforce for the transition, LTA signed an MOU (on Monday) with ITE to designate ITE College West as Singapore Bus Academy’s second satellite assessment centre. Republic Polytechnic was appointed as the first satellite centre in January this year.”

Bus technicians from the four public bus operators can tap on the two satellite assessment centres for training and assessment of technicians in the maintenance and servicing of electric and hybrid buses. 

A joint certificate issued by LTA and the Institution of Engineers, Singapore (IES) will be awarded to those who have passed the technical competency assessment under IES’ national chartership scheme for technicians.

Author: Ian Cheng

Singapore will boost its contributions on the sustainability front: Iswaran

Trade and Industry Minister S Iswaran explains why Singapore is joining the First Movers Coalition to create demand for innovative clean energy technologies: Image: The Straits Times

From The Straits Times

DAVOS – As an aviation, maritime and business hub, Singapore can contribute in cutting greenhouse gas emissions well beyond its national carbon footprint.

This is why the Republic is building partnerships with other countries, even as it has set national targets under the Singapore Green Plan 2030, Minister for Transport S. Iswaran told Singapore media in a wrap-up interview.

On Wednesday (May 25), Mr Iswaran announced at the World Economic Forum that Singapore has joined the First Movers Coalition (FMC) alongside Denmark, India, Italy, Japan, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The coalition also has 55 companies on board, such as Google parent Alphabet, Microsoft, and the Volvo Group, with a combined market capitalisation of some US$8.5 trillion (S$11.67 trillion).

Launched by United States President Joe Biden at the COP26 climate change conference last November, the FMC seeks to pool the collective purchasing power and supply chains of companies in emissions-intensive sectors to create demand for innovative clean energy technologies.

For instance, coalition members commit to buying a percentage of needed industrial materials such as aluminium, concrete and steel, as well as transport spending, from suppliers using near-zero or zero-carbon solutions, even if they have to pay a premium.

“Singapore was honoured to receive the invitation (to join the FMC) and we accepted it because we thought we could contribute by virtue of the fact that as an aviation, maritime, and a business hub, we have manufacturing activities, energy and chemicals, and so on,” said Mr Iswaran, who is also Minister-in-charge of Trade Relations.

He added that Singapore was in a position to contribute by cooperating with the private sector, a point made by US representatives at the meeting who noted that the city-state has always worked closely with its private sector.

Under the Singapore Green Plan 2030 launched in February last year, the Republic aims to become a regional centre for developing new sustainability solutions and a leading centre for green finance and services in Asia.

It will also groom local enterprises so that they can capture sustainability opportunities.

“Clearly, there’s a recognition that Singapore can make a contribution that goes well beyond what we do within our borders at the national level,” he said.

While Singapore is formulating its own sustainable air hub blueprint, it is also working with other aviation hubs on solutions that can have a demonstrative effect on sustainable initiatives for the larger aviation sector, said Mr Iswaran.

Likewise, what Singapore does as a maritime hub will also have important implications for work that can be done in the international maritime community, he added.

The Republic has set up the Global Centre for Maritime Decarbonisation locally to shape standards and find ways to cut the maritime sector’s emissions as quickly as possible.

But it has also signed on as a member of the Clydebank Declaration to create green corridors – zero-emission shipping routes – with other maritime centres, noted Mr Iswaran.

The National Climate Change Secretariat, Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Transport said in a joint statement on Thursday that going forward, the Government will engage local firms and encourage them to participate in the FMC. 

“The FMC presents an opportunity for companies to collaborate with like-minded partners and access low-carbon technologies,” they added.

Asked how joining the FMC benefits Singapore’s economy, Mr Iswaran said climate action is a global responsibility, and Singapore needs to be seen doing the right thing as part of the collective effort by the community of nations.

The global emphasis on sustainability means it is in the competitive interest of Singapore’s enterprises to strengthen their sustainability credentials through meaningful initiatives, the minister said.

This is so especially for businesses that have to be part of the global ecosystem, particularly in sectors such as aviation and maritime, added Mr Iswaran.

“Ultimately, we need to make sure that our enterprises in these spaces are able to maintain their competitive position by the quality and sustainability of the services they provide,” he said.

Author: Lim Yan Liang, Political Correspondent

OCBC to invest $25 million to cut carbon emissions by approximately 10,000 tonnes

The investments will reduce approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions within the next four years. Image: ST Photo/Kua Chee Siong 

From The Straits Times

SINGAPORE – OCBC Bank will invest more than $25 million to reduce its carbon footprint in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China.

The investments will fund energy-efficient technology to reduce carbon emissions, and invest in solar energy systems that will increase renewables in its energy mix, it said in a media release on Wednesday (May 25).

In all, the investments will reduce approximately 10,000 tonnes of carbon emissions within the next four years, or the equivalent of close to removing 10,000 cars off the road for four years.

To improve energy efficiency, OCBC will retrofit its buildings and a data centre with more energy-efficient technologies, including the use of LED lights over conventional lighting and more energy-efficient air-conditioning systems.

The lender’s regional data centre will also implement a rack-based cooling system by the end of this year.

OCBC Bank had announced last month that it will retrofit the air-conditioning system at OCBC Tampines Centre Two, which is located in Tampines Avenue 4, to connect to SP Group’s district cooling network at Tampines Town Centre.

The cooling system will be operational in the first half of 2025.

OCBC also aims to achieve Green Mark certifications for all its retail branches by 2030.

As of last month, four branches and eight buildings, including its learning and development hub, OCBC Campus in Tanjong Pagar, have received Green Mark certifications.

To advance the shift to renewable energy, the lender will install solar energy systems in about 10 buildings in Singapore, Malaysia and Greater China by 2024.

The energy that will be generated each year – over 2,000 MWh – will help offset the bank’s energy consumption in these markets.

The energy savings can power more than 600 three-room HDB households every year.

To improve energy efficiency, OCBC will retrofit its buildings and a data centre with more energy-efficient technologies. Image: OCBC Bank

OCBC Bank will also assess if it can install solar energy systems in other offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia and Greater China.

Other initiatives include converting its fleet of cars to electric vehicles (EV) and deploying EV charging facilities at major commercial buildings it manages.

Ten charging points have already been installed at OCBC Centre, making it the largest EV charging hub in the business district.

Mr Lim Khiang Tong, group chief operating officer of OCBC Bank, said that everybody must do their part to build a sustainable future.

On its part, OCBC has committed to achieve carbon neutrality in operational emissions from this year.

In 2019, the lender committed to no longer finance new coal-fired power plants, becoming the first bank in South-east Asia to do so.

It has also exceeded its target of extending $25 billion in sustainability-linked and green loans by 2025.

At the end of last year, the lender has extended more than $34 billion of sustainable financing to customers, prompting it to raise the target to $50 billion by 2025.

Author: Chor Khieng Yuit