Opening Address by Ms Grace Fu, Minister for Sustainability and the Environment, at PALO IT’s Inaugural Impact Movement on 30 March 2022
Mr Vincent Desclaux, Managing Director, PALO IT Singapore
Ms Prisca Lim, Chief Operation Officer, B Lab Singapore
Ladies and Gentlemen
1 Good morning everyone.
2 Thank you for inviting me to join you today for the inaugural Impact Movement. I am heartened that industry leaders like PALO IT are taking the lead to convene the B Corp movement and like-minded partners to galvanise and accelerate innovation in climate change and decarbonisation.
Climate Ambition and Carbon Tax
3 I believe all of us here acknowledge that climate change is a global crisis that requires urgent action, and we are all working to keep the ambition of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius alive.
4 As demonstrated by our recent announcements at Budget 2022, Singapore is fully committed to do our part in the global movement to tackle climate change. We have raised our ambition to achieve net zero emissions by or around mid-century. We will be engaging stakeholder groups before we finalise our plans and make a formal revision of our Long-Term Low-Emissions Development Strategy later this year.
5 Carbon tax plays an important role in our emissions reduction plan. It provides a broad-based price signal across the economy. To achieve our climate ambition, we will raise our carbon tax from $5 per tonne, to $25 per tonne in 2024 and 2025, and $45 per tonne in 2026 and 2027, with a view to reaching $50 to $80 per tonne by 2030. This will provide a clear price signal for businesses and individuals to internalise the costs of carbon and take actions to moderate their emissions.
6 The higher carbon tax is a decisive move to achieve our new net zero ambition, but it is not a standalone measure. It complements our comprehensive suite of mitigation measures to achieve our climate ambition as we aim to empower, support, and partner companies to move towards a low carbon future.
Taking Advantage of Support Schemes Ahead of the Rise in Carbon Tax
7 I urge companies to review your business strategy and operations and take advantage of the support schemes available ahead of the carbon tax increase. Sustainability must be an essential consideration in our journey ahead and improving energy efficiency is one of the primary ways to lower carbon emission.
8 One of the government’s targeted support schemes for businesses is the National Environment Agency’s Energy Efficiency Fund (E2F). E2F supports businesses with industrial facilities to improve energy efficiency, which in turn lowers their carbon tax. From this Friday, 1st April 2022, the maximum grant support under the E2F for investing in energy efficient technologies will be raised from 50 per cent to 70 per cent of qualifying costs. The grant application and disbursement process will also be simplified. I encourage eligible companies to take advantage of the higher level of support and invest early in energy-efficient technologies to reduce operating costs.
9 Other government support schemes include Enterprise Singapore’s Enterprise Sustainability Programme to support Singapore companies, especially our SMEs, in their sustainability journeys, as well as the Enterprise Financing Scheme (EFS) – Green to provide enterprises, such as project developers, system integrators and technology and solution enablers, better access to green financing.
10 It is heartening to know that the Government is not alone in supporting our corporate stakeholders. Partners, such as PALO IT, have taken the initiative to help in various ways. Today’s Impact Movement is one example. Another example is the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition Singapore’s LowCarbonSG programme that aims to assist companies in building capabilities to measure, monitor and reduce their carbon emissions. Similarly, the Energy Efficiency Technology Centre provides SMEs with low-cost energy assessments to help identify opportunities to improve energy efficiency as SMEs face significant challenges in bridging the knowledge on what to do and implementing the necessary changes.
Leveraging Technology and R&D
11 In order to leverage the growth opportunities presented by the green economy, we must invest in science and technology. In fact, science and technology will also shape our policies and interventions in keeping Singapore liveable in the face of climate change. For example, the use of information technology for data insights is an essential element in our decarbonisation efforts. IT enables businesses to achieve their Scopes 1 to 3 emission targets through better tracking of their direct and indirect emissions. This allows them to shape their decarbonisation strategy, and make carbon footprint reporting more accurate.
12 To demonstrate our emphasis on leveraging technology as well as R&D, the Government has allocated $220 million for R&D in resource circularity and water technologies under the Research, Innovation and Enterprise 2025 (RIE2025) Urban Solutions and Sustainability domain. Through these investments into R&D, we aim to develop sustainable resource recovery solutions for key waste streams such as e-waste, plastics, and food as well as support water and membrane research. SMEs will have a large role to play in our research and development (R&D) efforts as SMEs have a great potential to leverage technology and innovation to help unlock our possibilities for a low carbon future and transform businesses.
13 In conclusion, I thank each of you for contributing towards our climate action efforts and supporting the Singapore Green Plan. I encourage all of you to reach out to other stakeholders in joining us on this sustainability journey, tap on the various support schemes early, and partner us in scaling our climate ambition further.