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Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Credits: How Do They Compare?

Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and Carbon Credits: How Do They Compare?

In the burgeoning era of the green economy, business leaders are identifying new pathways to align operational practices with environmental sustainability.

Among these pathways, Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and carbon credits emerge as pivotal tools, empowering businesses to not only reduce their carbon footprint but also to signify a robust commitment towards environmental responsibility.

Leverage RECs and Carbon Credits

For businesses of all sizes in Singapore, understanding the nuances of RECs and carbon credits is a foundational step to thrive in this evolving economic landscape. The green economy does not merely represent an ethical choice, but it holds a range of innovative market opportunities ready to be taken advantage of.

This article aims to demystify RECs and carbon credits, clarifying their distinct roles and the broader implications they carry within the Singaporean business context.

Understanding RECs and Carbon Credits

Definition and Features


A REC encapsulates the environmental attributes of 1 megawatt-hour (MWh) of electricity generated from renewable energy sources. When a renewable energy facility produces electricity, RECs are issued to confirm that clean energy has been generated.

By purchasing RECs, businesses can essentially claim ownership of the environmental benefits associated with the generated clean energy.

Carbon Credits

On the other end of the spectrum, carbon credits are tradable certificates that signify the reduction, removal, or avoidance of one tonne of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere.

They act as a form of carbon offset, allowing entities to balance out their emissions by investing in projects that reduce or capture emissions elsewhere.

Trading and Value

The trading of RECs and carbon credits are leveraged in their own specific markets. Their value is tied to supply and demand dynamics, as well as the overarching regulatory frameworks that incentivise or mandate emissions reductions.

While the cost of reducing emissions influences the price of a carbon credit, the price of RECs often reflects the cost of generating renewable energy in lieu of conventional energy.

These markets enable businesses to meet sustainability goals in a cost-effective manner, while also encouraging investments in clean energy projects and emissions reduction initiatives.

Related Read: How Does Singapore Ensure High-Quality Carbon Credits?

Distinct Roles of RECs and Carbon Credits

Scope of Emissions Addressed

While both RECs and carbon credits aim to mitigate environmental impact, they address different scopes of emissions. RECs primarily target Scope 2 emissions, which arise from the consumption of purchased electricity. By procuring RECs, businesses ensure that the electricity they consume is generated from renewable sources.

On the other hand, carbon credits encompass a broader scope, offsetting all emissions across Scope 1 to 3. This includes direct emissions from owned or controlled sources (Scope 1), indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy (Scope 2), and all other indirect emissions occurring in the value chain (Scope 3).

How RECs and Carbon Credits Impact Your Carbon Footprint

The following is a table to summarise the impact of RECs and carbon credits on carbon footprints, alongside their environmental benefits and overall effectiveness in reducing carbon emissions.

Aspect RECs Carbon Credits
Method of Reducing Carbon Emissions 1 RECs support the generation of energy from lower or zero-carbon sources as an alternative to fossil fuels. NCarbon credits set a limit on the amount of CO2 that can be emitted, with the cap being reduced over time.
Impact on Individual Carbon Emissions Acquiring RECs directly diminishes your carbon footprint. Carbon credits do not directly lessen your carbon footprint.
Effect on Global Carbon Emissions Similar to carbon credits, RECs provide mitigation but don’t address the core issue of overall CO2 emissions. Carbon credits offer a mitigation approach but don’t tackle the root issue of overall CO2 emissions.
Environmental Advantages RECs are clean, require low upkeep, support energy supply decentralisation, and contribute to green job creation. They encourage the transition to cleaner energy sources and foster energy self-sufficiency.
Overall Efficiency in Curtailing Carbon Emissions The efficiency of RECs is hindered by market oversupply and low prices. Additionally, RECs lack additionality. The effectiveness of carbon credits is hampered globally due to reporting inconsistencies and varying cap levels across nations.

The Singapore Context for RECs and Carbon Credits

Commitment to Sustainability

Singapore’s commitment towards a sustainable future is mirrored in its national policies such as the Green Plan 2030. The city-state has been progressively bolstering its regulatory frameworks to encourage the adoption of clean energy and to reduce carbon emissions, all while creating opportunities for monetary profit.

This reflects a robust national strategy to position Singapore as a leader in sustainability in the region. With the United Nations (UN) estimating that the global green economy could create 24 million jobs by 2030, this makes a lot of financial sense.

Related Read: What is Singapore’s Role in Sustainable Financing for SEA?

Utilisation of RECs

Within the corporate realm, companies in Singapore are leveraging RECs to voluntarily offset their electricity consumption under global initiatives like RE100, where members commit to transitioning their electricity consumption to 100% renewable sources.

This showcases a growing corporate responsibility towards renewable energy adoption and positions these companies favourably in a market where sustainability is becoming a key differentiator.

International Carbon Credit (ICC) Framework

The International Carbon Credit (ICC) Framework of Singapore aligns with international carbon market standards, facilitating the offsetting of carbon emissions.

This framework not only nurtures a conducive environment for corporate sustainability but also enables companies to engage in the global carbon market, broadening the horizons of sustainability practices within the Singaporean business landscape.

Related Read: Carbon Conscious: How Can Companies Leverage Carbon Assets?

Regulatory Landscape in Singapore

Carbon Pricing (Amendment) Bill

The introduction of the Carbon Pricing (Amendment) Bill of 2022, which entails a progressive increase in the carbon tax rate, underscores Singapore’s commitment towards nurturing a green economy.

By allowing companies to use eligible international carbon credits to offset a portion of their taxable emissions, the bill provides a viable pathway for businesses to align their operations with national sustainability goals.

Standards and Frameworks

The oversight of the Singapore Standards Council on the use of RECs, coupled with the introduction of a flexible framework (SS673) for renewable energy claims, streamlines the pathway towards sustainability for businesses.

This regulatory landscape not only simplifies the adoption of green practices but also establishes a robust foundation for achieving long-term sustainability goals.
You can read more about the regulatory landscape of carbon credits and RECs on InterOpera, which operates Singapore’s first REC and Carbon Credit exchange, OperaX.

Where to Next for Leveraging RECs and Carbon Credits in Singapore

Navigating the world of RECs and carbon credits can be a complex endeavour, yet they represent pivotal tools in leveraging the opportunities embedded within the green economy.

InCorp stands at the forefront, ready to guide your business through this transition with a keen understanding of Singapore’s regulatory landscape and the global carbon market.

We provide tailor-made solutions to help you meet sustainability goals, bolster your green brand image, and leverage the financial incentives of environmental responsibility.

Contact InCorp today to discover how you can harness the potential of RECs and carbon credits, steering your business towards a sustainable and economically rewarding future in the new green economy.


  • Engaging with RECs and carbon credits can help businesses meet sustainability goals, adhere to regulatory requirements, improve their green brand image, and leverage financial incentives associated with environmental responsibility.
  • The bill introduces a progressive increase in carbon tax rate, allowing companies to use eligible international carbon credits to offset a portion of their taxable emissions, aligning business operations with national sustainability goals.
  • InCorp provides tailor-made solutions to help businesses navigate the regulatory landscape, meet sustainability goals, and leverage the financial incentives of RECs and carbon credits in the new green economy.

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About the Author

Eric Chin

Eric Chin is the Group Chief Commercial Officer at InCorp Global, leading sales, marketing and consulting teams in 8 countries. With 11 years of corporate banking experience with HSBC and OCBC, Eric is highly skilled in creating market-entry strategies and structuring operations for diverse industries in the Asia-Pacific. He also advises fund managers and family offices on corporate structuring and tax incentives and has set up VCC structures for licensed fund managers.

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