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Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Launch of CDP's Singapore Office

Speech by MOS Low Yen Ling at Launch of CDP's Singapore Office

Distinguished Guests,

 

Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

Introduction

 

1. A very good afternoon to all of you. I am delighted to be here today to mark the launch of CDP’s Singapore office in the Singapore Sustainability Academy.

 

2. As global efforts to address the challenges of climate change accelerate, so does the need for a reliable system of reporting. In the last two decades, CDP has played an important role in global efforts in environmental issues by helping companies, cities, states and regions to manage their environmental risks through its well-established disclosure system. CDP scores, which are based on submitted disclosures, are widely relied on in making sustainable investment and procurement decisions. CDP’s methodology also incentivises greater corporate transparency and encourages companies to set and meet more ambitious sustainability goals.

 

3. Increasingly, there is a heightened focus on sustainability reporting and target-setting all over the world and in Asia. CDP’s launch of its office in Singapore is very timely, and it complements efforts to develop our city state as a leading carbon services hub in the region, and supports our efforts and progress towards a greener economy.

 

Singapore as a Carbon Services Hub

 

4. With Southeast Asia (SEA) gearing up its sustainability efforts, Singapore is certainly keen to support the region’s climate goals by becoming a go-to location for carbon-related services. Our carbon services ecosystem, as well as our green finance capabilities, and reputation as a trusted commodities trading hub, positions us well to achieve this.

 

5. We welcome CDP’s presence in Singapore as a valued addition to our growing ecosystem of leading organisations in carbon providing support to corporates in the region – from capacity building and science-based target setting, to sustainability reporting and supply chain management.

 

The Singapore Green Plan 2030

 

6. Although Singapore only contributes 0.1 per cent of global emissions, the effect of climate change on us is disproportionately large and existential. As such, Singapore is committed to playing its part to reduce emissions in support of global climate action.

 

7. Last February, the Government launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030. This is a whole-of-government, whole-of-nation effort, which serves as a national roadmap to advance our sustainable development and net-zero emissions agenda. The Green Plan charts Singapore’s targets till 2030 and is aligned with our commitments under the Paris Agreement, as well as the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. The Singapore Green Plan spells out a set of comprehensive measures. For example, under the growing Green Economy, Singapore aims to (i) pursue green growth opportunities; (ii) transform our industries to become more sustainable; and (iii) prepare our workforce to be equipped with new skills to take on jobs in the green economy. We welcome the launch of CDP as it will open up new pathways to jobs for Singaporeans as well.

 

8. Recently, the Government announced that it is raising its climate ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century. To advance this goal, we will consult industry and citizen stakeholders for their participation and support.

 

Importance of Disclosures

 

9. As we transit to a green economy and sustainable investing becomes more mainstream, businesses will place greater emphasis on environmental disclosures. Doing so helps them to meet growing demands from investors and stakeholders for greater corporate accountability, and transparency in sustainability. The disclosure process itself is also beneficial for businesses. It enables companies to (i) track and report the progress of their decarbonisation plans; (ii) discover new opportunities (iii) take action to mitigate risks; and (iv) identify partnerships that can help meet their sustainability goals.

 

Quality of Disclosures

 

10. In addition, companies will need to ensure the quality of their disclosures. Financial institutions look for high-quality, consistent, and comparable ESG data from companies to inform their lending and investing decisions. Market confidence in green and sustainable finance transactions will also grow with higher levels of transparency.

 

11. We are heartened by the significant progress achieved on this front, both globally and in Singapore. Last November, the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation established the International Sustainability Standards Board (or ISSB). The ISSB will develop a global baseline of sustainability disclosure standards. This will promote consistent, comparable and reliable disclosures across various jurisdictions.

 

12. In Singapore, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has recently set out a roadmap for mandatory climate reporting for listed issuers based on the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (or TCFD). To support financial institutions in implementing climate-related disclosures, the Green Finance Industry Taskforce (GFIT) convened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has developed an implementation guide on climate-related disclosures in line with TCFD recommendations. These developments will encourage greater transparency and climate action.

 

13. MAS is also working closely with the industry to harness technology for improved access to trusted and high-quality ESG data. For example, four interoperable digital platforms will be developed under MAS’ Project Greenprint. This initiative will aggregate new and existing sustainability data across multiple sectoral platforms and industry players, and enable secure sharing of data with different stakeholders. Furthermore, CDP and MAS have signed an MOU to promote sustainability disclosures and access to quality ESG data across the financial sector and the economy. Indeed, such close partnerships between the public and private sector will bring us closer to attaining our sustainability goals.

 

Conclusion

 

14. CDP’s active presence in Singapore will add to the vibrancy of our green economy. It will boost the efforts of local and regional corporations to make relevant disclosures. It will also help companies map out their journey towards decarbonisation and sustainability through the various target setting initiatives and reporting frameworks. Additionally, CDP could also extend its sustainable supply chain membership and Climate Disclosure Framework for SMEs to Singapore; this will further support us in achieving the goal of making our companies and SMEs more sustainable. We look forward to working with the CDP Singapore office.

 

15. We hope more enterprises will take steps towards environmental transparency and disclosures which can bring us closer to a healthy and sustainable future. This afternoon, we would like to congratulate the companies that have made it to CDP’s “A List” as leaders in corporate sustainability through their disclosures in climate change and water security. These exemplary companies help contribute to greater corporate awareness of environmental disclosure and drive action for sustainability.

 

16. We are glad that companies are increasingly recognising the rising need and demand for environmental transparency and accountability. I encourage all enterprises to continue building on their progress in sustainability. We look forward to seeing more companies drive decarbonisation and sustainable growth in Singapore, and across the region.

 

17. Thank you.

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