Speech by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at the Germany Singapore Business Forum Connect on 29 June 2021
1 Good morning to our friends in Germany, particularly Minister Svenja Schulze fromthe Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, and good afternoon to everyone in Singapore.
2 I am pleased to join you at this sustainability-focused edition of the Germany Singapore Business Forum (GSBF) Connect.
3 Advancing sustainable development and fighting climate change must be no less concerted than dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. Our climate and ecosystems are at inflection points. More than ever, everyone needs to take action urgently to safeguard our future.
4 Singapore and Germany have pledged to implement the 2030 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and our respective commitments under the Paris Agreement.
5 To this end, our countries have launched national strategies such as the Singapore Green Plan 2030, the German Recovery and Resilience Plan, and Climate Action Programme 2030, which place sustainability at the core of recovery efforts and long-term economic growth. Our plans for building smart and sustainable societies include investing in environmentally-friendly technologies, decarbonising the energy sector, rolling out cleaner forms of transport, and leveraging digitalisation and AI.
6 In our respective regions, ASEAN and the EU have also adopted the ASEAN Comprehensive Recovery Framework and the European Green Deal which outline regional priorities as well as environmental standards and initiatives.
7 But these plans are just the start, and companies have three indispensable roles.
8 First, the pathways for green growth in a carbon resource-constrained world are taking shape but are not fully determined yet. As agents of innovation, companies can bring solutions that deal with climate and resource challenges concurrently, optimizing between multiple objectives and constraints. Companies that develop these solutions will lead the green transformation and define the next phase of global economic growth. I am pleased to note that German manufacturer Henkel, with a Global Supply Chain Hub in Singapore, is driving a circular economy strategy by working with customers and suppliers to use less materials, more recycled materials, and experiment with plastic resin alternatives.
9 Second, we need international partnerships to unleash synergies in the trade and technology nexus. Governments can play a part. Singapore is exploring Green Economy Agreements that will facilitate trade and investment in environmental goods and services, and develop new capabilities. As no single party can address climate change alone, companies can find solutions through partnerships and collaborative innovation. I witnessed the power of crowdsourcing recently at the CapitaLand Sustainability X Challenge which received more than 270 innovative solutions in energy efficiency, indoor air quality and waste management from over 25 countries. The winners will testbed their solutions with CapitaLand, accelerating their business growth while supporting CapitaLand's sustainability efforts.
10 Third, adopting the new paradigm of responsible and sustainable business models. We have seen a wave of shareholder activism for higher Environmental, Social and Governance standards. There is great expectation on measurement and reporting on sustainability. Green Fintech and finance options, such as green bonds, have significantly expanded. Industries, financial services, forestry, agriculture alike, all sectors must find ways to transit to a low carbon future.
11 Germany and Singapore can seize opportunities in this space. I am pleased that the Singaporean-German Chamber of Industry and Commerce has set up the Plastics Recycling Association of Singapore. Plans are also underway to launch the Centre of Excellence for recycling in Singapore which will create green jobs, increase our recycling rate, and export technologies and solutions to the region.
12 We are also familiar with other examples of innovative German companies contributing to Singapore's environment and water sectors. Solutions by Ed. Zublin, Herrenknecht, KSB, and GEA have been deployed at facilities such as the Changi Water Reclamation Plant and the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System Phase 2 Project. REMEX has been operating a metal recovery facility in Tuas to extract metals from incineration bottom ash; and ALBA E-Waste Smart Recycling has been appointed as the Producer Responsibility Scheme operator under Singapore's Extended Producer Responsibility Scheme for E-waste management.
13 I hope the GSBF Connect will catalyse more of such meaningful collaborations between Germany and Singapore. I wish all participants fruitful discussions.
14 Thank you.