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Keynote Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the EuroCham Sustainability Awards 2021

Keynote Speech by Minister Gan Kim Yong at the EuroCham Sustainability Awards 2021

Mr Federico Donato, President of the European Chamber of Commerce,

Her Excellency Ambassador Iwona Piá½¹rko,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Opening

1. Good evening to all of you. It is indeed a great pleasure for me to join you today at the EuroCham Sustainability Awards 2021.

a. Tonight, we celebrate companies that have adopted best practices to promote sustainable outcomes.

Singapore and the EU have a shared sustainability agenda

2. The climate crisis is an important area of focus for both Singapore and the EU.

a. For Singapore, our Green Plan 2030 released earlier this year outlines our ambition and charts our action over the next ten years.  We aim to reach carbon emissions peak by 2030 and then halve it by 2050, with a view to achieve net zero emissions as soon as viable in the second half of the century. This is despite the fact that we are constrained as a small island with very limited resources and few alternatives for renewable energy.

b. For the EU, they have an identical plan called the European Green Deal, which details ambitious plans to become the first climate neutral continent by 2050. The EU has also announced its interest to pursue Green Alliances and Green Partnerships with countries in the Indo-Pacific region.

3. Both Singapore and the EU are strong supporters of multilateral action to address climate change.

a. At the recent COP26 Summit, Singapore announced that we will join the Powering Past Coal Alliance along with EU countries to phase out unabated coal from our electricity mix by 2050. Singapore and the EU also signed the Global Methane Pledge with more than 100 countries to collectively reduce methane emissions by 30% by 2030.

4. We will continue to step up efforts together to curb global warming.

Companies also need to lead the way in addressing climate change

5. However, government action alone is not enough.

6. Companies can and must also play a positive role in delivering change.

7. I would like to commend EuroCham for its leadership on sustainability as your over the past year.

a. You have been spurring and encouraging the exchange of ideas between Singaporean and European companies through your “European Excellence in Sustainability” programme.

b. The active participation at your monthly sharing sessions underscore the interest of EU businesses to pursue green economy opportunities here and in the region.

Opportunities in the green economy

8. Singapore looks forward to partnering you on this journey. I would like to highlight three growth areas in Southeast Asia:

a. First, carbon services.  Singapore seeks to establish ourselves as a carbon services hub for the region. We welcome companies across the carbon services value chain to set up or expand their practices in Singapore, to unlock the potential of carbon markets in South East Asia.

b. Second, low carbon solutions.  We are keen to participate in the development and deployment of low-carbon solutions, such as in solar, hydrogen, and carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS). We would be happy to explore collaborations in these areas.

c. Thirdgreen finance.  This is a key enabler for investments into green technologies, products and services, as we transition to a low carbon future. Singapore is ASEAN’s largest green finance market, accounting for almost half of total ASEAN’s green bonds and loans issuance. We are keen to partner European Financial Institutions in developing sustainability-related capabilities in Singapore, and growing the range of sustainable finance solutions to serve clients in Asia.

Singapore will support companies in their green economy activities

9. Singapore will do what we can to help businesses leverage the potential of the green economy. We aim to do a few things:

a. Develop green growth sectors and build new capabilities;

b. Decarbonise at scale by catalysing technology development and piloting new projects;

c. Promote trade and investment in green goods and services; and

d. Strengthen international governance on trade and environmental sustainability.

10. Our agencies are working together to put in place programmes and incentives to support companies in the green transition.

a. EDB administers the Resource Efficiency Grant for Energy and the Investment Allowance for Emissions Reduction, which support manufacturing companies to improve carbon efficiency and reduce their emissions.

11. We are also pioneering the development of new rules and standards through Green Economy Agreements. This can allow companies based in Singapore to connect with green economy markets overseas.

12. I am glad that many EU companies have started this journey with us and have introduced initiatives to champion sustainability.

a. For example, TÜV SÜD officially opened its new S$100 million regional hub in Singapore this September. It has also announced strategic partnerships with the local community to develop and drive adoption of new sustainability standards, and support businesses in adapting to the green economy.

b. Another example is Arkema, a leader in Specialty Materials, who is building the world’s largest integrated bio-factory in Singapore.  The facility is dedicated to high performance polymers that contribute towards the development of sustainable solutions across Asia and the world. This will enable manufacturers to drive sustainability in their business with recyclable, sustainable products.

Forging a forward-looking and innovative partnership between Singapore and the EU

13. I am confident that Singapore and the EU can partner each other on this green transition.

14. We can further strengthen and update our partnership, building on the strong foundation of our EU-Singapore Free Trade Agreement.

15. Let us continue to spur and encourage one another to build a greener world together, and identify new opportunities to grow our businesses sustainably. Congratulations to today’s Award winners, and have an enjoyable evening. Thank you.

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