Ms Christina Lee, Founder & CEO, Global Green Connect and Global Green Economic Foundation
Ladies and Gentlemen
1. I am delighted to join you at the Global Green Economic Foundation’s Sustainability Roundtable at the Singapore Week of Innovation & Technology (or SWITCH).
2. Climate change has engendered a growing crisis affecting human lives all over the world. Climate action is more urgent now than ever. To fight climate change, the push for sustainability has to gain greater and wider momentum on all fronts.
a. This is especially so for Singapore. As a small island state with limited land and few alternative energy options, we must care for our environment and steward our resources well.
b. We have done so by innovating and leveraging technology to maximise the resources we have. The theme for today’s roundtable, “Reimagine Sustainable Development by Integrating Innovation and Technology” is particularly apt for Singapore.
c. To extend our water sustainability, we reimagined how every drop of water could be reused and optimised. With determination and ingenuity, we created Singapore’s very own brand of recycled water – NEWater. Through technology, we reclaimed water for use and promoted a circular economy which strengthened our water resilience and sustainability.
3. More recently, we’ve reimagined how our green future can be and carved out our goals in the Singapore Green Plan 2030. The Green Plan is a whole-of-nation movement to advance our country’s sustainable developments and secure a better and greener future for all Singaporeans. Everyone has a part to play in the green plan, and we have to do it together.
4. Allow me to share what I believe are three “Es”, or key elements that will ignite collaboration and enable us to reimagine and shape our new sustainable future.
a. The first “E” is “Exchanging Views and Ideas”;
b. The second “E” is “Ecosystems”; and
c. The third “E” refers to “Enablers”.
5. Let me begin with the first “E” which is the vibrant exchange of views and ideas. We need a rich diversity of insights and creative solutions to tackle the tough challenges posed by climate change.
a. Today’s Sustainability Roundtable is a great platform for the robust exchange of perspectives and discussions that will bring us closer to our green goals.
6. Organisations that promote sustainability like the Global Green Connect and Global Green Economic Foundation (or GGEF) create ideal spaces for such exchanges that enable participants to explore and come up with meaningful and impactful solutions.
a. For example, Global Green Connect and the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (or “UNITAR”) worked with Nanyang Technological University (NTU) to run an experiential learning programme called ‘SDG Open Hack’ in Singapore and other Southeast Asia countries to develop innovative solutions on sustainable development.
i. I’m pleased that Global Green Connect and NTU are taking this collaboration forward by inking an MOU to co-develop and deliver sustainable technology programmes for upskilling professionals keen on the emerging green economy.
b. SWITCH is working with Singapore Management University on an Advanced Certificate in Venture Capital programme to develop new competencies in venture capital. It will also connect capital with changemakers, which will benefit startups, SMEs, and companies in the technology and sustainability space, allowing them to grow and scale as they address critical sustainability challenges.
7. These continued investments and cooperation in the exchange and promotion of sustainability knowledge will enable us to advance our green agenda.
8. The second “E” is ecosystems. Just like how we rely on healthy ecosystems to provide us with food, water and energy, our plans for sustainable development need a conducive environment to thrive. From funding and manpower capabilities to eco-education and support, the Government is committed to creating an ideal ecosystem for sustainability to bloom.
a. For instance, we’ve launched the S$180 million Enterprise Sustainability Programme to provide funds and support for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to build their capabilities in sustainability and capture opportunities in the green economy.
b. In addition, we have the Energy Efficiency Fund (or E2F by the National Environment Agency (or NEA)) to help SMEs in the manufacturing sector defray their cost of adopting energy-efficient technologies. They can use the E2F to identify, implement and monitor energy efficiency initiatives, as well as invest in energy-efficient equipment.
c. Besides funds, people form the foundation of a thriving sustainable ecosystem. Our SkillsFuture Career Transition Programme lets Singaporeans pivot their skills to sustainability-related areas such as smart cities, built environment, agrifood technology and urban farming. Furthermore, Workforce Singapore has rolled out a Career Conversion Programme for Clean and Renewable Energy Professionals.
9. A healthy ecosystem sparks collaborations between key stakeholders. Today, I am pleased to officiate the launch of the Green Tree Initiative.
a. This is an important community project championed by EnterpriseSG through its SWITCH programme. This new initiative involves partners like NUS Business School, Global Green Connect and the Asia Sustainability Forum.
b. Over the next two years, the partners will roll out a series of physical marketing and online webinars in the community to promote sustainability.
c. The Green Initiative will also encourage best practices in innovation and technology that improve sustainability. EnterpriseSG will invite the SME Centres in various trade associations to tap into the Initiative’s networks and resources.
10. We hope to create an environment to incubate and cross-pollinate exciting ideas that use innovation and technology to tackle sustainability challenges.
11. Last but not least, the third “E” refers to enablers. Potential sustainable solutions need enablers like enterprises, organisations and the Government working hand-in-hand to resource and support the innovation or idea for expanded reach and sustainability impact.
a. For instance, the Government’s $55 million Low-Carbon Energy Research Funding Initiative enables researchers and enterprises to come up with alternative energy options. We are currently supporting 12 R&D and demonstration projects in the key areas of Hydrogen and Carbon Capture, Utilisation, and Storage (or CCUS) This includes exploring the transport of hydrogen through ammonia and developing novel membranes and materials to absorb carbon dioxide.
12. Collaborations between organisations spark fresh possibilities for sustainability. Today, I am pleased to witness the signing of the MOUs between Global Green Connect and SDAX, and Global Green Connect and ESGTech.
13. Global Green Connect’s MOU with SDAX will launch a new Sustainable Finance Training Programme; while the MOU with ESGTech will provide a digital ESG reporting tool for privately owned companies for training and reporting purposes.
a. Both SDAX and ESGTech are local tech companies that help businesses advance their Environmental, Social, and Governance (or ESG) practices through funding and reporting.
b. I trust that the MOUs will offer fresh opportunities for the 3 partners, as well as businesses to make progress in sustainable development and green finance.
14. These MOUs are timely as Singapore continues to build and strengthen our efforts in establishing our city as a force in green finance.
Elements to Reimagine Sustainable Development
15. As you discuss and exchange your views at the Roundtable today, I hope you will discover new ideas and opportunities for collaboration that will spark fresh innovations and technology that will lead us to reimagine and forge a greener and brighter future.
16. I wish you a very fruitful Roundtable this morning. Thank you.