Climate change and global warming due to greenhouse gas emissions are ongoing problems that we need to focus on for future generations.
As countries, businesses, and consumers shift toward prioritising sustainability and green practices, Singapore also recognises the need to focus on this area towards a sustainable future.
Trade and Industry Minister Gan Kim Yong stated that concerns about global warming had made it clear that the private and public sectors, as well as consumers, needed to join the global effort to reduce carbon emissions through more sustainable initiatives.
Such practices also involve a focus on environmental sustainability practices and how businesses can work around them.
In this article, we look at local initiatives toward corporate sustainability, like Enterprise Singapore (ESG)’s Enterprise Sustainability Programme.
This sustainability initiative aims to help Singapore organisations reach their potential within a new green economy to meet the country’s green ambitions over the next 10 years.
ESG has invested S$180 million (US$133 million) into the four-year initiative, which aims to support over 6,000 businesses and other organisations in the form of financing, workshops, as well as ancillary support where needed.
A Nationwide Effort to Build a Sustainable Singapore
The Enterprise Sustainability Programme is a sustainability initiative borne out of Singapore’s Green Plan 2030, which provides the nation with a roadmap to ensure Singapore remains a green and livable home for all of its citizens.
A focus on using sustainability as both a revenue stream and a carbon reduction mechanism is core to its goals.
Mr Gan added that as more businesses on the global stage have seen both environmental and financial success from sustainability initiatives and practices, companies in Singapore are now keen to incorporate them into their operations.
“Enterprise Singapore has seen companies ranging from the maritime to lifestyle and services sectors looking for support to embark on various sustainability efforts,” he said at an online press conference.
Indeed, more can be done to build up and strengthen Singapore’s sustainability ecosystem. In particular, we need to help enterprises build knowledge and capabilities in sustainability.
The plan calls for zero-net emissions as soon as possible within this century, with sustainability initiatives like doubling the number of electric vehicle charging stations by 2030 and reducing landfill waste by 30% by 2026 being at the forefront of plans.
Long-Term Plans in the Making
One example of proven success in the country’s sustainable development is how Singapore’s solar energy capacity has grown more than 600% in the last 5 years.
There are plans to deploy at least 2 gigawatt-peak solar power plants by 2030, capable of powering over 350,000 households per year.
Land will always be at a premium in Singapore, and so its capacity for solar energy installations will be limited.
With that in mind, Singapore is planning to tap into regional power grids, a recent example being a trial to import 100 megawatts of electricity from Malaysia.
Singapore also intends to become a leader in the sustainability space by becoming a carbon service hub, which would consult businesses on how to integrate sustainable practices into their operations.
How Will Singapore’s Enterprise Sustainability Programme Work?
The enterprise sustainability programme will have three major components:
- Strengthening sector-specific capabilities
- Developing sustainable enterprises
- Fostering a vibrant and conducive sustainability ecosystem
Strengthening Sector-Specific Capabilities
ESG will partner with the Trade and Association Chambers (TACs), government agencies, and corporations throughout the four-year initiative to enable various industries to build their sustainable capabilities.
Partner TACs will include the:
- Textile and Fashion Federation (TaFF)
- Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL)
- Singapore Furniture Industries Council (SFIC)
Partnerships will include training courses for industry-specific practices, and the facilitation of cross-sector collaboration to provide integration and innovation of sustainable practices across value chains.
Developing Sustainable Enterprises
This part of the sustainable initiative utilises ESG’s partnerships with the:
- Singapore Environment Council (SEC)
- Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS)
- PwC Singapore
It will offer organisations subsidised training workshops that teach them how to develop their own sustainable practices.
The workshops are wide-ranging and cover everything from awareness of sustainable practices to the implementation of long-term sustainable practices.
Outside of the workshops, this part of the initiative will also help businesses meet their relevant sustainability standards and support the development of sustainable products and services within a green economy.
Fostering a Vibrant and Conducive Sustainability Ecosystem
ESG has partnered with industry bodies to develop training, certification, and financing for green initiatives in the business world to create a viable long-term green commercial ecosystem.
One such initiative is the Enterprise Financing Scheme-Green (EFS-Green), which provides development capital as well as loans for assets, projects, trade, mergers and acquisitions, and more.
Loan amounts will vary by loan type and range from S$30 million (US$22.2 million) for fixed asset loans and up to S$50 million (US$37.1 million) for mergers and acquisitions).
Loan repayment periods will range from 5 to 20 years, and if a default occurs, the lending institution must follow their standard debt recovery processes before being able to make a claim with ESG for any amounts unrecovered.
DBS, OCBC, UOB, and HSBC are all approved lenders for EFS-Green, and businesses can apply for EFS-Green funding with ESG until March 31, 2024.
Related Read: Relooking Sustainability After COVID-19
Building Sustainable Businesses in Singapore Benefits All
While it is an ongoing process, Singapore holds a positive outlook with its combined efforts toward going green.
And while we may not see immediate results, our future generations will be around to witness the efforts of their predecessors who helped to pave the way for a healthier and more sustainable world.
FAQs on Business Sustainability
- Business sustainability is the practice of conducting business in a way that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient. This can include things like reducing energy consumption, recycling and composting, using green transportation options, and choosing sustainable materials.
- Sustainability is important for businesses because it allows them to continue their operations without damaging the environment or using up resources faster than they can be replenished. This is important for both companies and the environment.
- Small businesses can look for ways to reduce waste and energy use, or even opt for green transportation alternatives.